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Lesson 5: Happy Are You, Israel! *

Introduction: Last week we looked at the sanctuary built during the exodus of God's people from Egypt. From the sanctuary, and the original in heaven, we learned several lessons about God's desire to be with us and to save us from eternal death. This week we turn our attention to the beginning of the practices and procedures connected with the sanctuary to see what more we can learn about God's plan for us. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible!

  1. Friendly Fire

    1. Read Leviticus 9:1-4. Who was required to have an offering? (Everyone. Both the leaders and the regular people were told to bring an offering.)

      1. Notice that Aaron must first bring an offering. Why is that? (Aaron was the High Priest. But, before Aaron could minister to the rest, he must personally come into a proper relationship with God.)

      2. What kind of offerings were brought? (Sin, burnt, fellowship (or peace) and grain offerings.)

        1. Think about these different kinds of offerings. What do was the purpose for these offerings? (One offering was to deal with the sin problem. The other was to show that something was voluntarily given up. The third, according to one commentary "was a sacred feast." This was the fellowship offering. The grain offering was (in some cases) a flour that I assume easily burned creating ( Leviticus 2:2) "an aroma pleasing to God.")

      3. We don't operate under the sacrificial system any more, but what principles for worship do we find in this? (Our first concern is to take care of our sin problem by confessing and forsaking sin. Our next concern is to acknowledge and give up our selfishness. Next, we have the fellowship aspect of worship. Finally, we have the sweet enjoyment of a right relationship with God.)

    2. Read Leviticus 9:5-6. Would the people have to do these things to see the glory of God? (Yes. Recall that we learned last week that God wants to dwell with His people. God wants to be with us as we worship Him. But, worship is not passive. God has requirements which He placed on His people as a condition of making His glory appear to them.)

    3. Leviticus 9:7-21 describes how these directions were fulfilled. Let's read Leviticus 9:22-24. How does God show His acceptance of these offerings? (His glory appears to the people and His fire consumes the offerings.)

      1. How did the people react to this? (They shouted for joy and fell face down.)

    4. Some people claim that in church we should be very sober because we are sinners and we are in the presence of a Holy God. How should we understand the joy, shouting and falling down of these people? (Their sacrifices had been accepted. Their sins were forgiven. They were in the presence of their God. That gave them great joy which they expressed with a shout. No doubt they fell down because of they were humans in the presence of the glory of God.)

      1. Can you remember a time when you felt "shouting joy" over God's forgiveness of your sins and His acceptance of you?

        1. If you cannot recall such a time, why not?

    5. Read Romans 8:1-4. What is Jesus called? ("A sin offering.")

      1. Why was it necessary for Jesus to be sacrificed? ( Romans 8:3 tells us that the law by itself cannot save us because "it was weakened by the sinful nature.")

        1. Whose sinful nature is the Bible referring to? (Mine! Yours!)

    6. Read Romans 8:12-17. After we accept Jesus as our sin offering, what is next? (By the power of the Holy Spirit we "put to death the misdeeds of the body." We "share in [Jesus'] sufferings.")

      1. What did we learn was the second of the offerings made in Leviticus 9? (The burnt offering. It represented giving up something. It was an offering of unselfishness. Giving up our sinful preferences. Accepting that we will have to share in Jesus' sufferings.)

    7. Read Romans 8:18-19 and Romans 8:26-27. What was the third offering in Leviticus 9? (Fellowship or peace offering.)

      1. How is it reflected here? (God sends His Spirit to live with us, work with us, intercede for us.)

      2. Recall how the culmination of the Leviticus process and procedures was the glory of the Lord appearing before the people. What is the parallel in Romans 8:18? (Two parallels: the glory of God is revealed in us; and the creation awaits the Second Coming of Jesus.)

    8. Read Acts 2:1-3. How did the glory of God manifest itself? (In fire!)

    9. Step back a minute and consider what we have studied. Why did God start out with the sanctuary system? Why not send Jesus right away, and bypass the Levitical process and procedures? (Recall last week I told you the story about my employer who would draw a picture for me? The sanctuary system is God's very big picture of the plan of salvation. Unfortunately, most of God's people rejected Jesus even with the picture. Plus, the sanctuary is more than a picture. Hebrews 8:1-2 teachs us that it reflects a reality in heaven.)

  2. Unfriendly Fire

    1. Read Leviticus 10:1. It appears that this event follows the great time of joy that we just discussed. What do you think these sons did that violated God's command? (Read Exodus 30:7-9 and Leviticus 16:12. The nature of the "unauthorized fire" is not clear, but it seems that they did not follow the instructions for the fire that they used.)

    2. Read Leviticus 10:2-3. Fire comes from God again, but this time it consumes the priests rather than the sacrifice. Why is that? (They had disobeyed and dishonored God.)

    3. Read Leviticus 10:4-6. We previously read that Aaron "remained silent" and now Moses tells Aaron not to mourn the loss of his sons. Why? (If Aaron thought his sons had done nothing wrong, he would have protested. God did not want Aaron's sadness over the loss of his sons to be interpreted by the people as rebellion against the punishment of God.)

    4. Read 1 Samuel 15:22-23. Samuel brings this bad news to King Saul that he will lose his kingdom because he disobeyed God. Does this example survive the cross and Romans 8? Is our obedience more important than the sacrifice of Jesus? (The first answer seems to be "no," Romans 8:3 teaches me that my sinful nature makes me unable to keep the law. But, notice in 1 Samuel 15:23 the reasons for Saul's rejection: rebellion and arrogance. Romans 8:12-14 tells us if we live by these kinds of attitudes we will die.)

    5. Aaron's sons were in the process of sacrifice, but they died. Compare our friendly fire to our unfriendly fire stories. What lessons should we draw from this? (We have two choices. Fire can consume our sins or consume us. This is a serious choice with serious consequences. Making the right choice brings joy. Making the wrong choice brings sorrow and eternal death.)

    6. Read Leviticus 10:8-9. What does this suggest about the cause of the sin of Aaron's sons? (It suggests that they had been drinking. In the celebration of the friendly fire, they started drinking - which caused them to be less alert and less cautious, less careful then they should have been.)

      1. What lesson should we draw from this? (God looks for joy in worship, but He also expects serious consideration of His words.)

    7. Read Leviticus 10:10-11. What is our goal in distinguishing between the holy and the common? (It has to do with honoring God. God's complaint ( Leviticus 10:3) was that He had been dishonored. The goal of our worship should be to honor God.)

      1. Does this lesson apply to life outside of church? Are we constantly on a mission to distinguish between the unclean and the clean? (Read Romans 8:5. Romans teaches us that the goal of our life is to set our minds "on what the Spirit desires." This is the "clean" of Leviticus 10.)

    1. Have you ever evaluated your worship service to see if it honors God? Is your worship service seriously considered, or it is a thrown together with little thought or planning?

      1. How about your life? Does it honor God?

    2. Friend, we have seen that God is represented by fire. God is in the fire that symbolizes His presence and brings joy. But, God is also in the fire that consumes sinners. Thank God that we are saved by grace. But, that salvation requires a decision - a decision to live by the (fire) of the power of the Holy Spirit and not by our sinful nature. Will you choose the friendly fire today?

  1. Next week: Worship and Song and Praise.
* Copr. 2011, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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