February 1

Leviticus 8-10, Psalm 32

When I was a medical student back in 1986, I remember being shocked one night while on call during my rotation in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Stumbling in to care for one of his patients was one of the physicians, visibly drunk. There we sat talking in the lounge area, he was loud and slurring his words. This was his manner as he cared for his patient, I'm not sure if this was the exception or the rule for him. As a resident, there was one of the older physicians who was frequently drinking while on call. He would cover it up with mints, etc. but you couldn't mistake the smell or the actions. He was relatively popular and I was always surprised, since his condition would certainly not be comforting to me if my wife were the patient under his care. We know from 1 Peter 2:9, "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;". As such we are told in 1 Peter 5:8, "Be sober, be vigilant;...". The examples of the physicians above bothered me and should bother everyone since we never know when that emergency might occur and their compromised state may affect the outcome. We must never forget that we are God's priests and we never know when that evangelistic opportunity, that needed encouragement, etc is needed but if we are compromised we miss that opportunity. The souls of our friends, family, co-workers are just as important if not more important than the care of patients.

After the high of the previous day's consecration proceedings, we read a troubling story in 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.' " The sons of Aaron were not ignorant, they knew exactly what was prescribed by God for the incense in Exodus 30:34-38. We next read in 10:8-11, "Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying: "Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between clean and unclean, and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them by the hand of Moses." We are not told what level of unholiness was carried out by Nadab and Abihu or whether they were drunk, but this was a willful and deliberate act of disobedience to the expressed command of God. We must always beware after a spiritual high. This occurred the day after the glorious day of dedication. In the book of Joshua, after the amazing victory in Jericho, it was immediately followed by the devastating defeat in Ai due to the disobedience in the camp. Soon after the amazing experience in the book of Acts on the day of Pentecost, we soon read of the miraculous deaths of Ananias and Sapphira due to their willful disobedience and hypocrisy. The holiness of God is set forth at the beginning of the age of the law by this incident. The holiness of God is set forth at the beginning of the age of grace by the incident concerning Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11).

God will not accept worship in our own will, no matter how sincere. So many people like to call themselves "spiritual" and worship the god of their own making in the manner of their own making. Wherever we are, we must never forget that we are God's representatives to a fallen world. The world is continually watching to see if our walk matches our talk. Every day we should pray that God would open our eyes to the opportunities that literally surround us: while driving, at the gym, at work, with our families, at gatherings, etc. We are citizens of heaven and God's ambassadors on earth (Philippians 3:20). We must remember Paul's words in Romans 12:1-2, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." So as we start our day, fellow priests of God, let's remember our calling and act in a manner worthy of our calling.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster