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Leviticus 10:9-11: God-Honoring Worship, Part 2

Posted by Matt Postiff November 21, 2009 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Bible Texts 
Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean, and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD has spoken to them by the hand of Moses.

As an outgrowth of what happened earlier that day to Aaron's sons (Lev. 10:1-3), God commanded Aaron to avoid wine or any intoxicating drink when performing priestly functions (v. 9). An implication of this is that Nadab and Abihu may have been drunken when they tried to worship God in their own way. Their senses would have been dulled by their intoxication in such a way that they behaved unwisely in their priestly duties. They paid for it with their lives.

The penalty for not heeding this command to avoid intoxicating drinks was death. It may seem quite severe to us, but this should serve to point out that God is serious about proper worship. He is not pleased with those who treat Him lightly.

The injunction about wine and strong drink was given for two reasons. First, it served to distinguish between holy/unholy and clean/unclean. God set a boundary for his servants so that it would be abundantly clear that they were distinct from the worldly way of living. Christians today should also desire to be different than the world in many ways, not just by separating themselves from alcohol. They are to be set apart for God, not living like the world. Just to be holy and set apart is enough of a reason, not to mention all the other good reasons.

Second, the command about wine helped the priests to be able to teach properly. Judgment clouded by anything, especially by alcohol, is not fitting for a teacher of God's Word. We need all of our cognitive faculties to be ready and sharp to share God's Word with others. Opportunities will be missed and our teaching will be impoverished otherwise. MAP

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