I find it curious that folks who are willing to assume the existence of Noah’s tools (never mentioned in scripture) – in order to illustrate their defense of a doctrine of expediency (also never mentioned in scripture) … that those same folks blanch at the idea that God might have indeed told Nadab and Abihu and Moses and all of Aaron’s sons that only the fire He had authorized could be used in worship to Him.
True, that instruction never appears as such in scripture. (Just like Noah’s tools.)
Yet it is quite possible that the two oldest sons were bringing their own fire was because they had disobeyed by letting the fire go out (Leviticus 6:9-13) which had come from the presence of the Lord a few verses before (Leviticus 9:24). So fire came out from the Lord again and consumed them (Leviticus 10:2). You have to wonder why else would they be bringing fire in their incense censers, if it had not gone out on the altar …?
I guess that assuming such a command missing from scripture would not be expedient to the argument about God’s silence being prohibitive. Because if God was not silent, but in fact did express a command forbidding fire that was not His … well, the whole argument of God’s silence being prohibitive would hit a major iceberg; that’s the main rationale for it.
That would also put a big, leaky crease in the hull of the theology which goes which that argument.
Which is that God is on the edge of His throne looking down on us for the slightest excuse to utterly destroy anyone who disobeys Him by doing something that He has not specifically authorized (especially in worship).
And that, sadly, reminds me of the way that the steward entrusted with one talent envisioned his master: solely wrathful, greedy and vengeful. He was afraid to do anything with the talent that he hadn’t been specifically authorized to do. So he did the no-risk, nothing-ventured-nothing-gained thing to do: he buried it (Matthew 25:14-30).
(Of course, if you think about it, he hadn’t been specifically authorized to bury it, either.)
Is that really the way that we should assume God operates?
Because the other servants took some risk, transacted some business, put themselves out their to honor their master’s house and to increase the esteem of others at its assets – and his wisdom in choosing and investing in stewards for it.
They were generously rewarded.
Shouldn’t we put ourselves out there when we’re transacting gospel business for the chance at gaining the maximum return on investment? Shouldn’t it be that way every day of the week we’re in business, instead of just one day (which is all it takes to bury something)?
Let’s face it, we’re not specifically authorized to stand motionless singing in four-part harmony with books in our hands following only one song leader, either. So if we decide to start forbidding how hearts gifted by God want to worship Him, where do we draw the lines that scripture doesn’t?
At one day a week? At one day a week, plus maybe a Wednesday night? At one person speaking, rather than two or three? At one cup? At projected lyrics and/or music? At clapping? At a praise team leading? At accompanying instruments? Which instruments? At whatever I think is decent and orderly? At what my brother or sister thinks is decent and orderly? Do we draw the line at what does or doesn’t praise God, because we think we know Him so well through His silence?
Here’s the picture I have of God, and I get it straight out of scripture: someOne who wants us to express His praise, His wonder, His love and His power fully and with all our hearts (and encourage each other and be blessed by doing so!), whether we are gathered in worship, or worshiping by serving, or serving by sharing, or sharing by teaching. SomeOne who wants us to put ourselves out there – way out there! Take some risk. Transact some gospel. Not sell it. Live it. Share it. Give it away. Give it all. Don’t hold back.
Because that’s what He has done and does for us.
That’s what I find Jesus doing, and later, those who followed Him.
And if we picture our God before others as being miserly and stingy and secretive and vindictive, He will become the God we fear … but do not love and trust.
That’s not the provident God described by Peter:
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” ~2 Peter 1:3
A loving God. A giving God. A God who is just, but merciful; righteous but forgiving.
A consistent God.
9 thoughts on “Inconsistency?”
Just for the record that Exodus 24.1-11 text is one of the most amazing in the whole canon. Devote quite a bit of space to in our book A GATHERED PEOPLE (with John Mark Hicks & Johnny Melton). It has been a powerful one on me (and probably us)
It's a powerful and awesome passage of scripture, and as you guys pointed out in A Gathered People, one which speaks volumes about God's desire to be in holy community with His people.
Who you going to believe Keith.?Gen 32:30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. Exd 24:10 And they saw the God of Israel: and [there was] under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in [his] clearness. Jhn 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him]. John does not say recently, he said ever. Don't tell me there are "NO" contradictions in the bible, they are both plainly speaking of looking upon God, one said yea the other said nay,if yes and no are not opposing answers then there are none. The new testament, and Jesus Christ say no, the old testament and Moses say yes.and this is not the only place where the new contradicts the old.
Laymond, is John saying "no one at any time has ever seen God" or that "no one alive today has ever seen God"? Jesus says: "And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent." ~ John 5:37-38Is John just opening his gospel with a summary that presages what he'll record Jesus saying a few chapters later?See also John 14:5-14: Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?If John is saying that no one ever at any time has seen God, then he's contradicting what Jesus says in this passage.I'm going to believe Jesus and try not to put words in John's gospel that aren't there.
"No man hath seen God at any time""at any time"Keith I believe you put many words in John's mind if not in his mouth. I can tell you what a man says, but not what he is thinking.As for Jn. 14 I believe we have been told that Jesus the son is the exact image of the Father.
This is, once again, simply an attempt on your part to maneuver me into a discussion I am not interested in having, Laymond.I didn't put any words into John's mind, mouth or gospel, bro. I asked you some questions, which you once again evaded.
Keith, I thought the words "at any time" was the answer. I only recognised the one question.And I cannot read John's mind as to what he was thinking. So that leaves me at a loss to pretend I could answer your hypothetical questions.
Hi Keith. Just to let you know I discovered your blog today and I am enjoying what I’m reading. Inspirational. I’m a new follower 🙂
Nelson, thanks for dropping by — and subscribing!