Yes, I know I’m going backward. Actually this year, I’m reading through each book of the Bible at least twice, using two different translations.
I’ve been thinking about leadership in the church, and how we are to be held to a higher standard. And this passage shows that in no uncertain terms.
It’s interesting to me that in chapters 9 and 10, the exact same words are used, “Fire came from the Lord and consumed…”
In the first case, it consumed the burnt offering, and all the people stood in awe of God’s glory and were blessed.
In the second case, it consumed two of Aaron’s sons, because unlike in chapter 9 where you repeatedly see them and Aaron doing things as the Lord commanded, these two sons offered “unauthorized fire” in contradiction to what the Lord commanded (10:1). And as a result, the people stood in fear as God’s glory was displayed in his judgment of these two men.
And God told Aaron,
I will demonstrate my holiness
to those who are near me,
and I will reveal my glory
before all the people. (10:3)
The ESV shows another possible reading of the Hebrew.
Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.
If we take the ESV reading, God is saying, “I will be treated as holy by those who would draw near to me. I will not be treated as some common or unholy thing. And I will be glorified before all the people by those who draw near me. You cannot just take me lightly and expect me to stand by and do nothing.”
The CSB reading makes it even stronger. “If you will not treat me as holy, I will demonstrate my holiness such that you will never make that mistake again. If you will not glorify me before the people by the way you treat me, I will glorify myself so that they will know who I am.”
Either way, as a leader in the church, it gives me pause. How do I treat God? In my actions, do I display his holiness to those around me? Do I glorify him in what I do?
Will God display his glory in my life in such a way that people stand in awe of him, and be blessed?
Or will God display his glory in my life in judgment, causing people to fear?
Both are possible. It happened in the New Testament days as well. Just look at the story of Barnabas, and Ananias and Sapphira. (Acts 4:34-5:11).
God will not be treated lightly, especially by those who are supposed to lead. One way or the other, God will display his holiness and glory in my life. I prefer that it be in a way that people see it and are blessed, not see it and fear.