On the eighth day, Moshe called Aharon, his sons and the leaders of Isra’el, and said to Aharon,” Take a male calf for a sin offering…

…and a ram for a burnt offering…

…both without defect, and offer them before ADONAI.

Then tell the people of Isra’el, ‘Take a male goat for a sin offering…

…and a calf and a lamb, both a year old and without defect, for a burnt offering…

…and an ox and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before ADONAI;

…also a grain offering mixed with olive oil…

 – because today ADONAI is going to appear before you.

There were a few things in this parshah that seemed specific to those who represent G-d in the sight of others.  One was the way these sacrifices were done, and the other was the catastrophe that followed Nadav and Avihu’s unauthorized fire.

You and I may not be priests like Aharon, but each of us has a way that we represent G-d in the sight of others.  Maybe we teach our children or grandchildren.  Or maybe we write Bible stories in a creative format.  Or maybe we have coworkers who watch us closely.  Or a friend who looks up to us.

When I read about the way that Aharon had to offer their own sin offering and burnt offering first – before helping the people prepare for G-d’s presence, it made me think of my own life.  It can be so easy to pour all of your attention into helping others find G-d, and you forget to seek Him yourself.  You have so much hope for the next generation of believers that you neglect to cultivate your own relationship with G-d.  But here, G-d clearly lays out an order of things that is SO important.

It’s kind of like that parable that Yeshua taught.  How can you do a good job at helping your brother get a speck or a splinter out of his eye when you have a log in your own? (Matthew 7:3-5 and Luke 6:41-42)

Next, I read about the way that Nadav and Avihu each took his censer, put fire in it, laid incense on it, and offered unauthorized fire before ADONAI – something He had not ordered them to do.  And I thought about the importance of the way we represent G-d.

Sometimes we are the only example of G-d that people will see.  How important is it that we portray Him accurately?  If we are the ones who claim to be close to Him, we should be the ones reflecting Him the most clearly!

Each of us can probably think of a godly person who influenced us – for good or for evil.  We can probably remember leaders who shared an inaccurate representation of who God is.  And we can probably remember leaders who were solid and dependable in their teaching of the Word.  Those memories stick with us.

Let’s think about Bible stories.  Did you hear Bible stories growing up?  I did.  And there were some elements so popular in stories that I came to think they were truth.  For example, see if you know what the Bible itself says about these questions:

·         How many wisemen does the Bible say came to visit Yeshua? (Matthew 2:1-12)

·         What did Mary ride on the way to Bethlehem? (Luke 2:1-6)

How did you do?  Were the answers as you expected from the Bible stories?  I’ve found many answers in the Bible that were not what I expected, based on teachers from my past.

     Stories make a lasting impression on people.  And WE make a lasting impression on people.  It is our responsibility to seek G-d in His Word and then to share what He showed us was important.

     So take a lesson from the priests and prepare your own heart to dwell with G-d first, and then take care to only do what G-d told you to do.  I leave you with this quote from part of Leviticus 10:3,

“This is what Adonai said:

‘Through those who are near me I will be consecrated,
and before all the people I will be glorified.’”