“Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is what the LORD has said: ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’ And Aaron held his peace.” Leviticus 10:1-3
I mentioned this passage last Sunday in the morning service in speaking about proper worship. Aaron’s sons were killed for doing what God had not commanded in worship. They were not sanctifying God and remembering His holiness.
You have probably heard the phrase many times now in the news, ‘Getting Back to Normal’. Leaders in our country and in our States are looking for ways to wisely try and get our country back to normal. How can we begin to loosen some of the restrictions we have been under and go back to a normal life? I want to suggest to you that as Christians we don’t get back to normal, but we look toward getting better than normal. I don’t want to just go back to the way things were (although that would be nice), I want things to be better in many ways. For the next two weeks I want to discuss some ways we can seek for things in our lives to be better than normal in the future.
The first has to do with worship and with holiness that I was discussing in the sermon last Sunday. The temptation in times like these is going to be for us to become lazy in our habits and that includes our spiritual habits. Or even lazy in our worship.
“And David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God.” 2 Samuel 6:5-7
The ark of God was not to be touched. Uzzah, like Nadab and Abihu may have had good intentions but they did not obey the Lord. As we seek in these strange and trying times to worship as we are able, I want to encourage you even in your homes to do your best to honor the Lord’s Day to the best of your ability.
This is a great time to gain new habits and to build upon others. Take the time daily to read and study God’s Word and to pray and to sing. As the days blur together a lot of times, take the time to make sure that you set Sunday apart. God has given us a great gift in not allowing us to profane the Sabbath by being out in the community buying and selling or working or making others work. But be careful that bad habits don’t profane the day as well.
Get a good night’s sleep on Saturday night so that you are well rested for worship. Dress as you normally would for a Sunday worship service. Make sure you are on time at 11am and 6pm to worship as the services are livestreamed. Just because you can watch it later does not mean that you should. And if you get in the habit now, as soon as restrictions are lifted you will have the habit of being on time for corporate worship. Use the restroom and get a drink before we start. Participate as you are able. Stand when we stand. Read along when you are asked. Open your Bible to the passages. Sing the songs with me. Don’t be distracted by other things. Mute notifications your phone. Join us for Sunday School if you are able to at 1pm on the Zoom call. Turn off the news of the day on Sunday both on the TV or on your phone.
Let us develop those good habits that will help us not only today, but in the days and years to come. This will help us not only retain a sense of reverence in our worship but give us times of belonging in the body of Christ where we are doing things together at the same time even while we can’t always see each other face to face. And let us continue to pray that soon that will change, and we will be with the bride of Christ together again.
“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29