God’s Acceptance

There are a number of ways that God indicates His acceptance. In Leviticus 9, fire comes out from before the Lord and consumes the first offering in front of the Tabernacle. God approves of the presentation, and His fire consumes it. People made an offering to God, and God seals the deal with approving fire. There are many other sacrifices after this that do not get the same treatment, but this sets the pattern of acceptance. So as long as the others are done the same way they are also acceptable.

There are at least five times mentioned in the Word where fire from the Lord consumes a sacrifice. The other four are in Judges 6 (Gideon), 1 Kings 18 (Elijah and the prophets of Baal) 1 Chronicles 21 (David’s sacrifice) and 2 Chronicles 7 (Solomon’s sacrifice). These examples illustrate for us what happens when God approves. When God disapproves, fire destroys the person rather than the offering.

Fire from God can show acceptance, or rejection, and it doesn’t have to be in connection with an animal sacrifice. When fire rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah, it was a rather obvious rejection of their behavior. Moses calls down fire on the Egyptians (Exodus 9). Fire from heaven also destroyed two captains of fifty and their men when trying to arrest Elijah (2 Kings 1). Fire pours from the mouth of God’s two prophets or witnesses of Revelation 11 if anyone tries to harm them. The second beast of Revelation 13 fakes a fire that looks like it comes from heaven, but it’s not from God. Not like the final fireworks that fall on the armies of Satan in Revelation 20.

If Nadab and Abihu had stayed within the Law, depending on God’s grace and doing exactly what He said when He said it, then there would’ve been no reason for the fire from God to consume them. Grace, in the Law, would’ve saved them. Just like it saved all the other priests who followed the rules. The grace was in telling them how to approach and be acceptable. Love, in following what God said, is the other way to look at, and observe, the Law.

Nadab and Abihu get toasted right after the accepted sacrifice of Leviticus 9. It was not only that they did the process wrong, it was also their hearts. They were willfully doing something they knew to be wrong. This is called a high-handed sin. When you’ve been told, warned, cautioned, and seen others punished for wrongdoing, and you do it too, there is no excuse. The sons of Aaron stepped out of God’s boundaries and tried to demand acceptance based on their own actions. Paul calls this “works of the Law” in Galatians.

From Berea at Whole Bible dot com – Manna, 26 Shemini

Naaman and Simple Bible Messages of Whole Bible

Naaman was a mighty man and the head of Syria’s armies during the time of Elisha, successor to Elijah. He was also a leper. A five year-old slave girl taken from Israel was in his household and told him that Elisha could cure him. Naaman goes to Elisha, and Elisha tells him to dip himself in the Jordan seven times. At first, Naaman thought this was stupid and was enraged, because he had better rivers where he came from. He expected a dog and pony show from Elisha, maybe waving his hands around and calling on the name of his God. His servants encouraged him to listen to the man of God.

Then his servants came near and spoke to him and said, “My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” (2 Kings 5:13, NASB95)

Naaman humbled himself, did what the man of God said, and was healed.

I have been criticized because of my simple message – read the Word, and do it as if it was life. When I lead a Bible study, I usually use the Manna reading schedule and we read the 10 or 12 chapters first. We let God talk, and then if there’s any time left, we get to talk. This is not the extent of Bible reading for us all. It is just a touch point. We should be reading large chunks of the Book of Life every day, for it is our life. For something so simple though, we don’t do it. God’s Word has the answers to what might be bothering you. Much more than my words. Reading and heeding is simple, but many go away from me enraged and thinking they have better ways of doing things than that.

If I waved my hands around and told them to read the lousy ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ in the name of God, they would probably plunge right in. If I recommended any other book, it would probably be received the same way. ‘The Shack’ is a terrible book, but it has sold over 18 million copies. Telling people we just have to read His Word and do it angers people because they think they have all sorts of “better” books or videos or movies or whatever. But they aren’t reading the One Book that gives life. Hmm.

The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not, for they are a rebellious house. (Ezekiel 12:1–2, ESV)

We are a rebellious house. God has taken great pains to provide us with a Book that conveys all of His Will for us at the moment, and we look down on it like Naaman looked down on the Jordan river. We want a dog and pony show to tickle our ears and amaze our eyes, like the latest blockbuster movie. We spend hours and hours every day doing what we want, watching what we want, and reading what we want. And we can’t spare a few moments for the living oracles of God?

Reading does not mean a couple verses posted on Facebook every once in a while either. Where is the heart of the new covenant in that? Read His whole Book, cover to cover. Then read it again. And again. Do what you read as best you are able. Devote yourself to finding and doing His Will, seek His Kingdom, and the other things you seek will be added. I could talk and wave my arms around until I’m blue in the face, and it wouldn’t come as close to helping as would one Word from Him. Stop rebelling against Him. Read His Word and do what you read. It’s simple.

I’m sorry I don’t have a flashy presentation that feeds the ego instead of the soul. I might be able to make a lot of money that way. But it’s better for all if we just use our eyes and ears, read what He tells us, and do it.

Check out Berea at Whole Bible dot com.