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Are you offering "strange fire" to the Lord?
by Robert Randle
6/17/2009 / Worship
Exodus 19: 20-22
Then the Lord came down on Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. And the Lord said to Moses,"Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to gaze at the Lord, and many of them perish. Also let the priests who come near the Lord consecrate themselves, lest the Lord break out against them.
Now all the people witnessed the thundering, the lightening flashes, the sound of the trumpet (??), and the mountain smoking; and the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, "You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us lest we die." And Moses said to the people, "Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you so that you may not sin.
2 a: to make or declare sacred; esp.: to devote irrevocably to the worship of God by a solemn ceremony [or oath].
Leviticus 9: 23-24a
And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of meeting, and came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people and fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the fat on the altar.
II Chronicles 5: 13-14
And it came to pass when the priests came out of the Most Holy Place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves. . .), indeed it came to pass when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and the cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying, "For He is good, For His mercy endures forever," that the house, the house of the Lord was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.
NOTE: This is very instructive because God was so pleased with the worship of adoration by the people that His cloud ['Shekinah'] of glory saturated this holy place such that the services could not even continue.
I Peter 5: 9
You also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Christ.
Leviticus 10: 1-3
Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered [profane] fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. And Moses said to Aaron, "This is what the Lord spoke, saying: 'By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified.' "So Aaron held his peace.
1; exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness.
1 a: to make glorious (marked by great splendor and beauty) by the bestowal of honor, praise, and admiration.
Acts 5: 1-3a, 4b-5, 9-10
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the land yourself? You have not lied to men but to God. Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So, great fear came upon all who heard these things. Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Then Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out." Then immediately, she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband.
I Corinthians 3: 16-17
Do you not know that your body is the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are (Cp. Ephesians 2: 21-22).
Leviticus 11: 44a
For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy.
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: 'You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.
Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am the Lord your God. And you shall keep My statutes, and perform them: I am the Lord who sanctifies you.
I Peter 1: 15-16
But as He who called you is holy, you must also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."
So what does all these Biblical references have to do with the worship practices and attitudes of believers in the Christian Church in modern times; everything! Jesus said in Matthew 18: 20, "For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, I am there in the midst of them.
It can be clearly seen, especially from citations taken from the Jewish Old Testament the important seriousness of God's requirement to come before His Presence in reverential fear and praise. The priests were strictly admonished to live exemplary lives as examples of God's holiness and represent Him before the people in the administration of sacrifices and offerings. Any violation of God's laws and statutes were seen as impiety and the sin of rebellion in which His just punishments and judgments were swift and sure.
Today, however, it doesn't seem as though the worship of God as the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe and Creator of Heaven and earth is approached with the same degree of solemnity and reverence. Many parishioners treat the occasion as more of a religiously-theme social gathering full of singing performances, memorized verbal anecdotes, and oratorical pomposity or pious exuberance for our entertainment; but not out of godly fear. Although all of this may outwardly appear to encapsulate the essence of 'pure' worship, sadly, it is not it at all.
Think about it for a moment: Some of the faithful come habitually late to nearly every service when these same people arrive early enough and on time to catch a train, bus, airplane, or boat. Also, there area few who constantly talk socially with others, incessantly move about in the assembly, engage in other distracting activities, or entertain thoughts of being somewhere else; and yet, is this the best that we can offer up to God for all His goodness and blessings?
Are we like those rebellious and stiff-necked Children of Israel, who after being liberated from Egyptian slavery, it says in I Corinthians 10: 5-7: But with most of them God was not pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." Now these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the end of the ages has come.
Coming to Church services isn't about seeking to get something from God, but rather to offer up something to Him for all that He has done in our lives. In Hebrews 13: 15, it reads: Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name.
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