I tried to put myself in the scene described in these chapters today. What would it have been like to have witnessed Aaron’s consecration service? It must have been a pretty impressive ceremony. I think I would have wanted a front row seat.
The Bible says the congregation gathered at the doorway of the tent, in obedience to God. They were about to see history in the making. They saw the cleansing of Aaron and his sons, watched Moses put the tunic on Aaron, and everything that went with it. They saw the turban placed on Aaron’s head. They witnessed the anointing, the sacrifices, smelled the aroma, and watched as Aaron and his sons ate the ceremonial food.
Then seven days later, the congregation came near again, and stood before the Lord. More sacrifices were offered and then…
the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. Then fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and portions of fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces. (9:23-24)
I wonder if we are missing something with our casual approach to worship these days. I certainly don’t think we have to go back to the kinds of ceremonies we read about today here in Leviticus. But is there something we can apply to our approach to God from what we read?
I think the Old Testament people went to this important church service in obedience, and with hearts focused on God. They didn’t go for a worship experience. They seem to have gone, however, expecting to worship God.
There is a subtle difference I am convinced we need to be careful of. Going to church for a worship experience puts the focus on me, on my experience. Going to church to worship God takes me totally out of the picture, and the focus on God alone.
There was nothing casual about this ceremony. And God’s glory appeared to them with fire from on high. Their response was to cry out and fall on their faces in worship of a Holy God.
May we worship God as He deserves.