Our Bible reading today takes me back to the sunny afternoon I was ordained to the gospel ministry in the Northern California Conference on July 27, 1984. Betty and I had been married just over a year. She stood bravely at my side on the outdoor platform of the Redwood Camp Meeting. Our parents were there as well. My father and Betty’s father and grandfather joined the conference leaders kneeling around us for that sacred event.
Those hands of dedication and experience in the work of God rested heavily on my head and shoulders as they prayed that I would be faithful to my calling and that my ministry would be fruitful. That was 35 years ago.
A dear friend from our church in Sacramento drove up to the redwoods just to sing this song at my ordination.
So send I you- by grace made strong to triumph
O’er hosts of hell, o’er darkness, death, and sin,
My name to bear, and in that name to conquer-
So send I you, My victory to win.
So send I you- to take to souls in bondage
The word of truth that sets the captive free,
To break the bonds of sin, to loose dearth’s fetters-
So send I you, to bring the lost to Me.
So send I you- My strength to know in weakness,
My joy in grief, my perfect peace in pain,
To prove My power, My grace, My promised presence-
So send I you, eternal fruit to gain.
So send I you – to bear My cross with patience,
And then one day with joy to lay it down
To hear My voice, “Well done, My faithful servant –
Come, share My throne, My Kingdom, and My crown!”
As the Father hath sent Me, so send I You.”
That was my calling then and that is my calling still. However, 1 Peter 2:9 teaches us that all believers are priests. All of us have been ordained and set apart for this sacred ministry.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Now, take a moment to reread the lyrics above. This time accept the challenge of this song for yourself. May we be faithful to God’s calling and may our ministry be fruitful.
is one of the pastors of the Hood View Church. He has been married to Betty for 35 years. Together they have two adult children. Mitch and Bella just made them grandparents on October 31 when Leavitt was born. Elissa and Dustin are expecting a boy child on April 1. Jim enjoys life and can't wait to check out eternal life.
Aaron and His Sons Consecrated
1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 “Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, the anointing oil, a bull as the sin offering, two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread; 3 and gather all the congregation together at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.”
4 So Moses did as the Lord commanded him. And the congregation was gathered together at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 5 And Moses said to the congregation, “This is what the Lord commanded to be done.”
6 Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons and washed them with water. 7 And he put the tunic on him, girded him with the sash, clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod on him; and he girded him with the intricately woven band of the ephod, and with it tied the ephod on him. 8 Then he put the breastplate on him, and he put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastplate. 9 And he put the turban on his head. Also on the turban, on its front, he put the golden plate, the holy crown, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
10 Also Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them. 11 He sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, anointed the altar and all its utensils, and the laver and its base, to consecrate them. 12 And he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him, to consecrate him.
13 Then Moses brought Aaron’s sons and put tunics on them, girded them with sashes, and put hats on them, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
14 And he brought the bull for the sin offering. Then Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the bull for the sin offering, 15 and Moses killed it. Then he took the blood, and put some on the horns of the altar all around with his finger, and purified the altar. And he poured the blood at the base of the altar, and consecrated it, to make atonement for it. 16 Then he took all the fat that was on the entrails, the fatty lobe attached to the liver, and the two kidneys with their fat, and Moses burned them on the altar. 17 But the bull, its hide, its flesh, and its offal, he burned with fire outside the camp, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
18 Then he brought the ram as the burnt offering. And Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram, 19 and Moses killed it. Then he sprinkled the blood all around on the altar. 20 And he cut the ram into pieces; and Moses burned the head, the pieces, and the fat. 21 Then he washed the entrails and the legs in water. And Moses burned the whole ram on the altar. It was a burnt sacrifice for a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to the Lord, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
22 And he brought the second ram, the ram of consecration. Then Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram, 23 and Moses killed it. Also he took some of its blood and put it on the tip of Aaron’s right ear, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot. 24 Then he brought Aaron’s sons. And Moses put some of the blood on the tips of their right ears, on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet. And Moses sprinkled the blood all around on the altar. 25 Then he took the fat and the fat tail, all the fat that was on the entrails, the fatty lobe attached to the liver, the two kidneys and their fat, and the right thigh; 26 and from the basket of unleavened bread that was before the Lord he took one unleavened cake, a cake of bread anointed with oil, and one wafer, and put them on the fat and on the right thigh; 27 and he put all these in Aaron’s hands and in his sons’ hands, and waved them as a wave offering before the Lord. 28 Then Moses took them from their hands and burned them on the altar, on the burnt offering. They were consecration offerings for a sweet aroma. That was an offering made by fire to the Lord. 29 And Moses took the breast and waved it as a wave offering before the Lord. It was Moses’ part of the ram of consecration, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
30 Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood which was on the altar, and sprinkled it on Aaron, on his garments, on his sons, and on the garments of his sons with him; and he consecrated Aaron, his garments, his sons, and the garments of his sons with him.
31 And Moses said to Aaron and his sons, “Boil the flesh at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and eat it there with the bread that is in the basket of consecration offerings, as I commanded, saying, ‘Aaron and his sons shall eat it.’ 32 What remains of the flesh and of the bread you shall burn with fire. 33 And you shall not go outside the door of the tabernacle of meeting for seven days, until the days of your consecration are ended. For seven days he shall consecrate you. 34 As he has done this day, so the Lord has commanded to do, to make atonement for you. 35 Therefore you shall stay at the door of the tabernacle of meeting day and night for seven days, and keep the charge of the Lord, so that you may not die; for so I have been commanded.” 36 So Aaron and his sons did all the things that the Lord had commanded by the hand of Moses.
The Priestly Ministry Begins
1 It came to pass on the eighth day that Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel. 2 And he said to Aaron, “Take for yourself a young bull as a sin offering and a ram as a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before the Lord. 3 And to the children of Israel you shall speak, saying, ‘Take a kid of the goats as a sin offering, and a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering, 4 also a bull and a ram as peace offerings, to sacrifice before the Lord, and a grain offering mixed with oil; for today the Lord will appear to you.’ ”
5 So they brought what Moses commanded before the tabernacle of meeting. And all the congregation drew near and stood before the Lord. 6 Then Moses said, “This is the thing which the Lord commanded you to do, and the glory of the Lord will appear to you.” 7 And Moses said to Aaron, “Go to the altar, offer your sin offering and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and for the people. Offer the offering of the people, and make atonement for them, as the Lord commanded.”
8 Aaron therefore went to the altar and killed the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself. 9 Then the sons of Aaron brought the blood to him. And he dipped his finger in the blood, put it on the horns of the altar, and poured the blood at the base of the altar. 10 But the fat, the kidneys, and the fatty lobe from the liver of the sin offering he burned on the altar, as the Lord had commanded Moses. 11 The flesh and the hide he burned with fire outside the camp.
12 And he killed the burnt offering; and Aaron’s sons presented to him the blood, which he sprinkled all around on the altar. 13 Then they presented the burnt offering to him, with its pieces and head, and he burned them on the altar. 14 And he washed the entrails and the legs, and burned them with the burnt offering on the altar.
15 Then he brought the people’s offering, and took the goat, which was the sin offering for the people, and killed it and offered it for sin, like the first one. 16 And he brought the burnt offering and offered it according to the prescribed manner. 17 Then he brought the grain offering, took a handful of it, and burned it on the altar, besides the burnt sacrifice of the morning.
18 He also killed the bull and the ram as sacrifices of peace offerings, which were for the people. And Aaron’s sons presented to him the blood, which he sprinkled all around on the altar, 19 and the fat from the bull and the ram—the fatty tail, what covers the entrails and the kidneys, and the fatty lobe attached to the liver; 20 and they put the fat on the breasts. Then he burned the fat on the altar; 21 but the breasts and the right thigh Aaron waved as a wave offering before the Lord, as Moses had commanded.
22 Then Aaron lifted his hand toward the people, blessed them, and came down from offering the sin offering, the burnt offering, and peace offerings. 23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of meeting, and came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people, 24 and fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.
The Profane Fire of Nadab and Abihu
1 Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. 2 So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. 3 And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke, saying:
‘By those who come near Me
I must be regarded as holy;
And before all the people
I must be glorified.’ ”
So Aaron held his peace.
4 Then Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said to them, “Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp.” 5 So they went near and carried them by their tunics out of the camp, as Moses had said.
6 And Moses said to Aaron, and to Eleazar and Ithamar, his sons, “Do not uncover your heads nor tear your clothes, lest you die, and wrath come upon all the people. But let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the Lord has kindled. 7 You shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die, for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you.” And they did according to the word of Moses.
Conduct Prescribed for Priests
8 Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying: 9 “Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, 10 that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean, 11 and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them by the hand of Moses.”
12 And Moses spoke to Aaron, and to Eleazar and Ithamar, his sons who were left: “Take the grain offering that remains of the offerings made by fire to the Lord, and eat it without leaven beside the altar; for it is most holy. 13 You shall eat it in a holy place, because it is your due and your sons’ due, of the sacrifices made by fire to the Lord; for so I have been commanded. 14 The breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the heave offering you shall eat in a clean place, you, your sons, and your daughters with you; for they are your due and your sons’ due, which are given from the sacrifices of peace offerings of the children of Israel. 15 The thigh of the heave offering and the breast of the wave offering they shall bring with the offerings of fat made by fire, to offer as a wave offering before the Lord. And it shall be yours and your sons’ with you, by a statute forever, as the Lord has commanded.”
16 Then Moses made careful inquiry about the goat of the sin offering, and there it was—burned up. And he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron who were left, saying, 17 “Why have you not eaten the sin offering in a holy place, since it is most holy, and God has given it to you to bear the guilt of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord? 18 See! Its blood was not brought inside the holy place; indeed you should have eaten it in a holy place, as I commanded.”
19 And Aaron said to Moses, “Look, this day they have offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord, and such things have befallen me! If I had eaten the sin offering today, would it have been accepted in the sight of the Lord?” 20 So when Moses heard that, he was content.
The Joy of Forgiveness
A Psalm of David. A Contemplation.
1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah
5 I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
6 For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
In a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters
They shall not come near him.
7 You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you.
10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.
11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous;
And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!