Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Command Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the law of the burnt offering: The burnt offering shall be on the hearth upon the altar all night until morning, and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning on it.” (Leviticus 6:8-9)
In Judaism, this part of the Scripture is in a section our Jewish friends call צו tzav which means, “to command.” This word is related to another Hebrew word that, perhaps, some of you have heard before — מצוה mitzvah. (as in bar mitzvah). The reason I point this out is, previously, God would tell Moses to “speak unto the children of Israel…” or “say to the people….” Here, He uses a word that emphasizes the extreme importance of doing certain things the right way.
The instructions that are given in this section of Leviticus address some of the same sacrifices mentioned previously, however, with additional details meant specifically for the priests, emphasizing the necessity of listening carefully and following God’s instructions to the letter. To underscore the importance of this concept, not too long after these instructions were give to Aaron and his sons, two of them were struck down because they offered “profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them” (Leviticus 10:1).
Here is what all of us should glean from this: there are times God commands us to do or not to do and whether or not we obey can have life or death consequences. Yes, there are times when God encourages us to follow a certain path that leads to His perfect will. Likewise, there are times when He seems to discourage from following a path that, though it might turn out to be okay, it wasn’t what He had in mind. Then there are those times when He speaks to us very plainly and says, “No. Don’t do that. Don’t go there” or “Do this, now!”
It is very important, especially in these last days, that we are able to discern His voice and, more importantly, respond to it without hesitation. The Bible gives many examples of what befalls those who do not heed His voice but walk in the counsel of their own hearts. On the other hand, the Bible also presents examples of those who heard, listened and obeyed. To those who follow this example, God promises a life of blessing, prosperity and peace. In a world filled with distress, hardship and danger, I would much prefer what God has for me and my family and I know that you do too. So then, let us open our hears to hear Him and to discern what He is telling us to do — our lives might depend upon it.
Blessings and Shalom,