Monday, July 29, 2013
Ordinary People Come face-to-face with Extraordinary God
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NADAB AND ABIHU: They Chose to Change God's Directions for Worship
(The story is found in Numbers 3:3 and in Leviticus 8-10)
Moses and his family came from the tribe of the Levites, the men chosen to show the Israelites how to worship. But we must remember that this large group had not been a cohesive people group for many years. They had been slaves in Egypt. They had not been worshipping corporately since they became slaves in Egypt.
God was teaching them how to worship as he led them through the wilderness. As God gave the laws to Moses, Moses told Aaron, and Aaron taught the people how to worship God. To them, everything about corporate worship was new, so they had to learn how to worship together.
Before they went to Egypt, their fathers worshipped God and offered sacrifices to him, but these traveling nomads were several generations removed from the people who originally went to Egypt during a famine. This generation only knew the land of Egypt and the stories that had been handed down from previous generations about the Holy God.
God chose Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron the High Priest, as the ones destined to assume their father's role. Although these two young men knew nothing of sacrifice and worship, their father surely impressed upon them the seriousness of the work they would do. If you read Leviticus chapters 8 through 10, you will see how carefully Aaron taught them. Surely they must have realized that God demanded strict adherence to the laws he gave. Yet they made a terrible mistake,
Nadab and Abihu had been eyewitnesses to the mighty acts of God--the crossing of the Red Sea, the giving of the Ten Commandments, the building of the Tabernacle, and the beginning of God's laws. They had good family examples to follow. They watched their uncle, Moses, lead the people and perform great works. Their aunt, Miriam, was a prophetess and a songwriter; the young men watched as she led the people in praise and worship to God, and they watched their father, Aaron, as he led the people in worship and obedience and in sacrifices to God.
Consecrated to God
When the time came for Nadab and Abihu to be consecrated as priests, Aaron followed the high laws of God. Leviticus 10 tells us that Aaron and his sons were taken into the Tent of Meeting. They were washed in water and then dressed in priestly robes. The sacrifices were prepared according to God's law. The consecrating oil was sprinkled in the correct places to denote the holiness of this act. Nadab and Abihu presented the offerings and prepared the sacrificial meal according to the laws that God had given Moses.
All this was done to show Aaron's sons the awesome holiness of God and that they were to follow the laws strictly with no deviations. We are told in Leviticus 8:36 "So Aaron and his sons did everything the Lord commanded through Moses." They were on the right track.
But we read in the first verse of Chapter 10, "Aaron's sons Nadab and Abidhu, took their censors, put the 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." Their young lives were snuffed out before they had a chance to start on their journey with God, because they did not follow God's laws exactly as he had commanded.
Perhaps these young men brought coals of fire to the alter from another source or perhaps they added incense when it was prohibited. It could be that the two young priests gave an offering at the wrong time. Whatever it was, they did something disrespectful to God. They tried to change the way God had commanded the people to worship. Nadab and Abihu were careless about following God's laws. God had given rules for worship yet they attempted to add their own ideas to what God had told them to do.
Do Not Become Careless
It is sometimes easy for us to grow careless about obeying Go and to want to do things our way instead of listening to God in obedience. However, if one way were as good as another, God would not have given the laws as he did. He would not have commanded that we live his way.
This story reminds me of people today who think they don't have to obey the rules. They think they can exceed the speed limit if no one is looking, or if they have a radar device on their car to tell them when a police officer is near. They think they can take shortcuts to attain what they want, even if the tactics they use are illegal or not even totally ethical. Some people today have no scruples. Whatever they desire is their main goal, no matter what must be done to obtain it. Just take a look at our government, and you see countless examples of this--men and women who think they are above the law.
The Holiness of God
From the story of Nadab and Abihu, we learn that sin has deadly consequences. God always has good reasons for the things he tells us to do. We place ourselves in serious danger when we think we may have a better plan, or if we carelessly disobey or disrespect God. We are in danger of making the same mistakes these brothers did when we treat lightly the justice and holiness of God.
We must recognize God's holiness and remember that he controls the universe. However, today we no longer live under the laws of the Old Testament. Jesus came and brought a new way. By trusting in him and receiving him as our Savior, we can become a new creation. We still worship him, but not in the way taught by the priests eons ago. The sacrifices to do not have to be presented, because Jesus is our sacrifice. We worship him in Spirit and in truth.
Questions for further thought: (presented at the end of each chapter)
1. This is a hard story to read. Why do you think God did not give these two young men another chance?
2. After learning all the laws for worship why do you suppose Nadab and Abihu chose to worship in a different way? The Bible says they offered "unauthorized fire." Why do you think they did this?
3. What does this story teach immature young people of today?
4. When people disobey God today, is he more lenient that he was in the day of Moses?
5. What lesson can we learn from the story of Nadab and Abihu?
Friday, July 26, 2013
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
If you didn't see The Dust Bowl, November 30, 2012, I hope you will check my blog for older posts and look at this. I watched some PBS specials on the dust bowl of the 1920s and 1930s and posted pictures from the internet. Then I ordered and read a novel that was advertised on those programs. Sanora Babb lived through these times and wrote about them. She had her manuscript ready and sent it to editor Bennett Cerf in New York in 1939. He was interested and planned to publish this "exceptionally fine" work, but when John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath swept the nation, Cerf did not feel that the market could sustain two books on the subject. So Sanora did not get her book published until 2004, 65 years later. The novel is titled Whose Names are Unknown and it was a fantastic read. Babb wrote five other books during her lifetime. Steinbeck became famous,
but Sanora Babb was the one who lived these experiences.
I've written about many people we knew during our ministry and afterwards. I wrote about a Christian country gospel group in our area, The Barn Again Gang, on November 8. I was very impressed by the woman singer in the group who told about how God had healed her from cancer and told about it in the post. Just recently she lost her battle with cancer.
I've written about travel. Our son who now lives in Germany was here in February for a visit and we went back to the town where we lived when he was a little boy. My blog on February 12 was about our Trip to Bogard and how the town has changed, complete with pictures our son and I took while we were there.
I can't count the number of book reviews I've posted.
I've written about people in our churches. You would not know them, but you might enjoy reading about them. Some of the titles in this blog are: Death of a Judge, January 8; Piano Memories, May 3; I Remember Joe, June 21; Sometimes the Doctor is Wrong, June 28.
Our son, David, from Midland, Texas, writes on my blog, too. His essays are posted on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. His pithy and humorous wisdom is worth reading.
Here is a list of the book winners along with the titles of the books and their authors:
1. God's Little Miracle Book by Sally Jadlow -- winner: Margo from Illinois
2, Finding Your Place by Margo Dill (children's book) -- winner: Elizabeth from PA
3. Too Brides Too Many by Mona Hodgson -- winner: Wendy from Florida
4. Secrets Over Sweet Tea by Denise Hildreth-Jones -- winner: Faye from Missouri
5. What Matters Most by Bette Lee Crosby -- winner: Karen from PA
6. Winner's Choice of any book by Julie Lessman -- winner: Carol from Alabama
7. Picture Perfect by Janice Thompson: winner: Bonnie from Kentucky
8. The Dance by DanWalsh -- winner: Debbie from Texas
9. Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer -- winner: Maxie from Texas
10. She Makes it Look Easy by MaryBeth Whalen -- winner: Cherie from Ohio
11. I'll Watch the Moon by Ann Tatlock -- winner: Allene from Texas
I plan to continue my blog for a while longer, but will not be able to keep it up forever. I need to cut out some stress because I had another heart cath Monday of this week. That's the third one, About the end of April I had the same test and a stent was inserted. I did not have to have a stent this time, but will be checking with my doctor about medications. I probably need to slow down even more than I have already.
Thanks again to all the people who read my blog. I hope you have enjoyed it. I appreciate all those who commented, whether on the blog, Facebook, or by email.
Monday, July 22, 2013
Now here's another essay by our son, David Nobles, who lives in Midland, Texas.
I like sweet tea. Growing up, we had sweet tea at just about every meal. With four kids, it was hard and expensive to go out to eat, so my mom cooked for us, and she cooked really well. I can remember her pot roast, fried chicken, spaghetti, and lots of other great meals. Almost all were accompanied by sweet tea.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Monday, July 15, 2013
Get extra contest entries if you "follow me" or "subscribe to my blog". Mention on your comment that you have done this for the extra entries.
|Ann's newest book, Sweet Mercy|
|Promises to Keep|
Friday, July 12, 2013
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Ms. Hodgson deftly tells the stories of several families as they travel together, meeting trouble on the road as well as in their company. Some are friends while others in the group are strangers. The intricacies of the personalities intrigue the reader as we learn about these people who are traveling together. Some become involved in romances, while others have feelings of dislike and distrust. More than about the trek west, this book is about people.
Ms. Hodgson deals with nationalities as well. People on the wagon train are German, French, Irish, and some don't even speak English. They all bring their personal likes and dislikes as they must deal with each other, and the author clearly defines the problems people have when they are in close proximity with those they might not even like to be around.
If you enjoy reading about relationships, you will enjoy this book. Of course, there are adventures along the trail, but the gist of the book is relationships. There are two more novels planned in this series as the Boone's Lick Company leaves St. Charles and travels west. In Prairie Song, the group gets as far as Fort Kearney. Mountain Whispers, the next book, will take the group from there on further west, then another book will complete the series. I, for one, am anxious to read the next installment to discover what the people will find. Will they be excited about their new home or will they pine for what they left behind? I can't wait to find out.
Monday, July 8, 2013
In case you're not from around here, "July in West Texas" means H-O-T. Midland, a city in the desert, has been well above the century mark for weeks. The power company is loving it, as are the AC repair guys, but everybody else, not much.
My Beautiful Bride has been running our AC at home pretty high. Or is it 'pretty low'? I never know how to say that. Do you turn it up to make it colder, or turn it down? Anyway, she wants it cold, and it is so cold that while she is enjoying it, I'm wrapping up in quilts to get warm. Thankfully, we have lots and lots...and lots....of quilts
(See www.margosquiltingcorner.com). Saturday morning I knew I would be doing several things in various parts of the house, so I just put on warm-up pants, wool socks, and a long sleeve t-shirt and I was comfortable.
My office building can't get it right either. Through most of June while it was cooking outside, I was freezing. The system blew cold air all day long. I have a thermostat, or at least a wall decoration that looks like a thermostat. Modern art, who can figure it out, right? The temp gauge on the thing said it was in the mid-60s but it felt more like the mid-40s. Changing the settings did no good, of course, it's all set on a computer in Bangladesh--so I just ran my little space heater and wore a jacket. When I left for lunch, it felt great to step outside and stand in the sunshine for a few minutes. Walking to my car, I seriously considered sitting at some restaurant's outside table. However, getting in the car cured me of such blasphemy.
After several weeks like that, I complained about the cold in my office and sure enough, the crackerjack building guys took care of it. For the next week, I sat next to my fan with my sleeves rolled up; I was sweating. The temp gauge said it was in the 80s and I think it was accurate that time. Adjusting the fake thermostat settings did not change anything, thanks to the guys in Bangladesh.
Saturday night we got a little rain (and a lot of hail) and things cooled down. Sunday morning as we left for church, we were stunned when we noticed the outside thermometer read 75. A few nights before that I went outside late in the evening and it felt like I had walked into an oven. I thought the desert was supposed to lose its heat at night, but the mercury told me it was 98 degrees. At 11 p.m.! So, a 75-degree Sunday morning was a very pleasant surprise. When we got the church, however, the guys in Bangladesh had a good laugh. They had the building temp set for 100-plus degrees outside, meaning it was absolutely freezing in there. We go to one of those new casual churches, and I have worn shorts to Sunday services. I didn't yesterday, but I did wear a t-shirt. Yes, Mom, it was a nice one, clean with no holes in it. Well, let's just say no one was going to sleep through that sermon.
This morning it's cloudy and looks like rain. I'll believe THAT when it happens. Annually, we have about 355 days of sunshine. Being a weatherman in West Texas has to be the easiest job in the world. Here's a typical exchange on the 10 p.m. newscast: Anchor guy: "Now let's check in on the weather. Norm, what does it look like tomorrow?" Weather guy: (Brightly, with a big smile) "Sunny and hot, Al, sunny and hot," (Aside, frowning and in a frustrated tone) "Just like always." Because of this morning's clouds, I shivered a little as I walked to the office from my car. It's all the way down in the 70s out there.
Isn't it funny what we get used to? Apparently I have acclimated to the heat, because a day in the 70s shouldn't make me feel cold.
What else have I "acclimated" to in my life? My dad is a retired preacher, and he used to tell the story of the frog in the kettle. Drop a frog in boiling water, and he will jump out instantly. Put him in room temperature water, though, and slowly increase the heat to boiling and he will stay there and die. We get used to things, all too often to our detriment.
Thanks to David Nobles for today's essay. David, our son and our third child, lives in Midland, Texas, where he is chief counsel for Dawson Geophysical. I enjoy his humor, and I hope you do, too.
I hope many of you will come back a week from Monday for an interview with Ann Tatlock and book give-away.
The next article is written by our son David. Hope you enjoy it, too.
Friday, July 5, 2013
Please read some of the older posts if you'd like to. The past two Fridays I have written about people we knew while we were pastoring churches. Our son has written some humorous and interesting articles on the second and fourth Mondays, with a great one coming up next week.
The winner of Marybeth Whalen's book She Makes it Look so Easy, will be announced on Monday, July 8. Thanks to all those who commented on that one. More authors are signed up-- Ann Tatlock, Miralee Ferrell, Cindy Woodsmall, Ann Gabhart, and Meg Moseley, to name a few for the rest of the summer.
Be sure to attend the church of your choice as we worship on Sunday.
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
The Wishing Tree is a wedding custom in their family, where people write their good wishes on notes and attach them to an artificial tree which is a centerpiece during the wedding dinner.
As Marybeth writes about these two sisters and the people they know, she delves deeply into their characters. The reader comes to know them, their idiosyncrasies and their friends and acquaintances as the pages turn faster and faster. This is a story told in modern times, with email and Tweets as Ivy's husband, Elliott, tries to get in touch with her to present his side of the story.
As Ivy prepares the Wishing Tree for her sister, she examines her own dreams and must decide what she wants for her life.
Monday, July 1, 2013
Readers can find you on line at www.marybethwhalen.com and can check www.amazon.com for all your books. I hope many of them will be picking up one of them, and I hope they are prepared to keep reading long into the night. They will be captivated, just as I was. I can’t wait to read your other novels.
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You can get extra entries in the contest by choosing to subscribe to my blog or to follow me. Be sure to tell me in the comments, so I'll put your name in more than once.
Also, don't forget to leave your email address. We need to be able to find you if you win. A few people missed out on previous books because they didn't leave an email address. :(
MaryBeth will mail you an authographed copy of She Makes It Look Easy if your name is chosen. Winner will be announced on Monday, July 8. I promise you will love this book. I read it in two or three days. Check my book reviews if you wish, and you'll see what this book is about.