Reading #1 – Leviticus 10
Reading #2 – Psalms 81
Reading #3 – Proverbs 20
Reading #4 – Nahum 3
Reading #5 – Ephesians 3
Leviticus 10 – The Sin of Nadab and Abihu. The text states that Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, offered unauthorized fire before the Lord (1-2). This text, like much of Leviticus, leaves the reader in a quandary because scripture does not specify what they did wrong at least not initially. Later in the text, a new law was specified that the priests could not be intoxicated when they were conducting the service to the Lord (9-11). When an individual serves the Lord, he/she must conduct themselves with sobriety (3). When you compare this event with the priests of Baal, you can get a clear picture of what the Lord requires from His servants. Nadab and Abihu were carried out of the temple still wearing their tunics and were burned to cinders. The sons of Aaron’s uncle were then pressed into service (4-5). Aaron, Mishael, and Elzaphan were not permitted to mourn for the loss of their cousin (6-7). Nadab and Abihu were in the presence of the Lord to offer the sacrifice for sin or the goat. When Moses found that the men had not eaten the remaining portion of the goat, it created a problem with the law. Apparently, the goat was an issue for Aaron because it reminded him of the death of his sons so he didn’t eat it (16-20).
Psalms 81 – G_d’s Goodness and Israel’s Waywardness. G_d has great plans for His people that most often do not materialize because the people become sinful or wayward and circumvent His best for their lives (1-4). The people were given tremendous verifiable promises as evidenced by the life of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph (5-7). The 40 year trip through the wilderness was a journey that could have been marketably shorter but the people would not listen (8-12). What we do not understand about the Lord G_d is that He never tells us what we will miss out on until it is too late (13-16).
Proverbs 20 – On Life and Conduct. The problem with sin or waywardness is that we will never know what we are going to lose out on until it is taken away. When Nadab and Abihu were put to death, I am pretty sure that they did not see it coming. When the sluggard refuses to work because he/she thinks, “I have tomorrow” and then things happen tomorrow to derail their plans (4, Proverbs 27:1). The funny part about staffing is that the people who get their work done are usually called upon to do additional work because the boss knows it will get done. When it comes time for rewards, the person who has done his/her work to its completion is rewarded and this creates ire in the eyes of the unfaithful (6-7).
Nahum 3 – Nineveh’s Complete Ruin. To give some background on this city Nineveh, Nineveh was constructed during the time of Nimrod “the mighty hunter before the Lord” the son of Cush the son of Noah (Genesis 10:8-12). It was the largest city in the known world until the battle of Nineveh in about 612 BC. Sennacherib reconstructed the city to be the Assyrian capital in the 8th century BC. By the 7th century, the nation had reached its Zenith and then started to decline (My Jewish Learning). So in 612 BC, the combined armies of Babylonia, Medes, the Scythians, and the people of Susa. Finally, in 608 BC, Assyria was defeated and Babylonia under King Nabapollasar would become the dominant player in Mesopotamia and would build “Babylon the Great” which was a rehash of Nineveh (Britannica). The nation repented by order of the king (Jonah 3:6-10, ) which staved off the destruction for a while until the king realized “This battle is not happening” and then the king and the people went back to the pathway they laid. The problem with “formidable people” is that no matter how strong they get, how much wealth they possess, and/or how prolific they are in battle, one day they will lose as we will see in the time of Babylon, the Greeks, and the Romans (Nahum 3:16-19).
Ephesians 3 – Paul’s Stewardship. Paul was not a self-proclaimed prophet, he was called by the Lord G_d to minister to the gentile nations of whom Ephesus was a member (1-3). Until the time of Jesus’ death on Calvary, except for Jesus ministering to the Samaritan woman (John 4), the gentile nations were kept at arm’s length and were enemies of Israel. So now Paul the former member of the Sanhedrin is bringing the nations into G_d’s fold (4-6). Up until this point in time Ephesus, like all of the other nations, had endured one idol and temple after another and had to struggle to please the man-made demands and received nothing for it. When Paul came on the scene preaching G_d’s grace, it had to be like a breath of fresh air. The problem Paul was facing was that he was imprisoned for his unwavering faith in G_d which was contrary to the whims of the religious leadership (Acts 28:17); this, had to create a crisis of sorts because an argument could be put up that Paul was wrong (10-13). G_d’s great master plan was that mankind, Jew and gentile alike, would be saved from the power of this world’s destructive plan and that the power of the Holy Spirit of G_d would richly bless the people (14-21).