There are two aspects of God that today's generation of Christians have 'watered down' until these characteristics of Gods have been marginalized. Many of the older saints from the 19thC. would be horrified to listen to the way we speak of God and the way we worship him.
It has been said that the delusion which God will send to those who are not lovers of the truth are not the base sins of unregenerate man but the good things that come before us and God. These are our idols of today.
I wish to base this blog on an incident recorded in Leviticus 9-19 NIV where the two sons of Aaron offered strange fire to the Lord. We may gloss over these stories in the Old Testament but in doing so we are bringing judgment upon ourselves, for such is the attitude of those who have been deceived. This sad incident in Leviticus is referred two twice more in the Old Testament, which tells me this is an important lesson that the body of Christ must recognize.
Aron's sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them (and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Moses then said to Aaron, This is what the Lord spoke of when he said: 'Among those who approach me I will be proved holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honoured.'
The two characteristics of God that we have a flipperant attitude towards, are his Holiness and a lack of Reverence. The fear of the Lord has been displaced with a causality that is common enough in the world but has no place in the holy of holies.
Aaron's two sons offered fire that was not sanctioned by God for the Hebrew word is best translated as in the KJV as 'strange.' There is some conjecture as to what constitutes unauthorized fire but before the Lord I believe it is simply fire that is taken not from the alter of God, but another source. These two sons should have known better for they were in the priestly loop having served as 'apprentices.'
This foreign source introduces a lack of respect for Gods holiness and majesty. Profane fire is prevalent in the hearts of many of today's believers as I observe the casual approach many take towards the Holy God and the things that belong to him. In the Old Testament such penalty from God was instant death which means to me that God takes this false fire much more serious than we can imagine.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe for our 'God is a consuming fire.' Hebrews 12 NIV
There are times when our worship can be more entertainment when the soulish part of us is excited and we act as if we were in a secular concert. Often we talk and act as if Jesus is on a 'buddy buddy' relationship with us. When we speak of God we do so in the loose slovenly language of the streets. For me when I see writing that does not use capitals for the proper names of the Godhead and things belonging to him I wonder where the awe has gone. I can understand that there is no respect in the secular world for authority, but in Christian circles!!
Nothing appears to be sacred anymore, and I worry what the outcomes will be. We must recover our sense of awe before we all are under the strong delusion. I tremble to think what the future church will be when we have lost the notion of God's holiness.
All too often a sense of awe and reverence for the holiness of God has been replaced by unscriptural frivolity and flippancy. In fact, I would say that flippancy has become an epidemic disease in the contemporary Charismatic movement. If we have been guilty of it, we need to repent. We have to set a watch on our tongues and attitudes
The Lord has made it very plain to me that we are responsible for the fire in our censor. We are responsible for where we obtained the source of our fire for often it is a mixture of the holy and profane. Once we have a mix of 'spirits' we bring dishonour to Him and his work on the cross, not to mention that we are trampling the Holy Spirit.
Such a result tells me that we are not testing every spirit that we have encountered. To not test every spirit is to bring the word of God into disrepute for we are clearly commanded to do so. Cf 1 John 4.
Any fire that is not obtained from Gods alter of sacrifice is suspect and we should not place it our censor for we cannot hide such a profane flame from the Lord. It is time to cleanse our hearts and examine our fire. Repentance is the beginning of holiness and a return to the fear of the Lord.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 byBiblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
You've covered a topic that was on my mind earlier this morning, and I think it crucial that this particular point you make is something that I keep in the forefront of my mind: ~ "The Lord has made it very plain to me that we are responsible for the fire in our censor. We are responsible for where we obtained the source of our fire for often it is a mixture of the holy and profane. Once we have a mix of 'spirits' we bring dishonour to Him and his work on the cross, not to mention that we are trampling the Holy Spirit."
An excellent and needfully sobering blog, wmj ! Thank you.
I could not more strongly support what you have written. I only wish more Christian writers and speakers would proclaim the holiness of God in all His majesty.
I could not agree more with enje and Phil's comments above. This is a genuinely powerful message of truth and thank you for faithfully continuing this needed series.
I agree and yet I want to caution against making false assumptions as well. It goes both ways. Let me explain. Just this week a woman shared with me that her parents said she did not go to "Christian Church" because there was not a "proper altar", there weren't icons, there wasn't a priest, the music was too loud, too fast, etc. We must take care that just because someone does not worship God on the same format that we do does not mean they are being irreverent. We must, as you say, try the spirit.
I was always under the understanding that when Aaron and his sons offered sacrifices, that the fire came down from heaven. That is how they knew their sacrifice was accepted. In the record you reference, those 2 sons made their own fire.
I agree with your blog, and most definitely see your point. However, I do believe we Christians have a closer, more intimate, relationship with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ did. The veil was rent in twain. There is no longer a separation. We, average Joe Believer, can approach the throne of God. We have a high priest who sits at the right hand of God. Wr don't have to wait for the one time a year that the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies. We have been granted access, anytime, through our Lord and Savior, our Advocate, the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have a different relationship, than the Hebrews did. But we cannot take that relationship for granted.