Keep The Fire Burning
The Lord said to Moses: "Give Aaron and his sons this command: 'These are the regulations for the burnt offering: The burnt offering is to remain on the altar hearth throughout the night, till morning, and the fire must be kept burning on the altar. The priest shall then put on his linen clothes, with linen undergarments next to his body, and shall remove the ashes of the burnt offering that the fire has consumed on the altar and place them beside the altar. Then he is to take off these clothes and put on others, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a place that is ceremonially clean. The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it. The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out. (Leviticus 6:8-13 NIV)
The burnt offering was to remain on the altar throughout the night. And every morning, the priest would have to add firewood and then burn the fat of the peace/fellowship offerings on it. The fire that burnt both the burnt offering and the peace/fellowship offering was the same fire. God’s fire came out from His presence when He appeared to the people later on (Leviticus 9:24) and consumed the burnt offering. God wanted the Levitical priests to keep the fire going so that the peace/fellowship offering could continue to burn.
How did the Levitical priests come about in the first place, and why did God choose them to help Aaron and his sons perform these tasks in the tent of meeting? Some commentators say this went back to Exodus 32:29 when they were the only tribe that rallied with Moses after the Israelites worshipped the golden calf. However, God had already made Levi’s tribe priests before that time (Exodus 28:1-4). They were also chosen and set apart for God because of the sacrifice of the first born of Egypt whom God struck down during the 10th plague.
As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5 NIV)
In church, what are some tasks that we do that people depend on? Is there someone whom you are watching over? I like to think that the least I can do is to be present with the church or small group as often as possible because someone will be encouraged by my presence. There are also many acts of service that one can perform in church on a regular basis, such as song leading, ushering, collecting contributions, etc. There is a mutual dependency of some form among us. ‘No one is indispensable’ isn't a maxim that is applicable in the family of God. We are indispensable in the eyes of God.
The best comparison we can make is to look up to God; He is indispensable! He makes everything work and we depend on Him. We depend on Jesus, who died on the cross so that we can have our salvation and fellowship with God. Jesus did more than we ever deserve when He was nailed on the cross. If God had not let His one and only Son be sacrificed for our sins, we wouldn’t have the chance to have eternal fellowship with Him. It started with God’s thought that we need Him.
Going back to our understanding that the fire first came from God, we have to keep God’s fire burning because He has chosen us to be His holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Let’s not allow our fire to die out.
Andy is the head of compliance for an international bank and is happily married, with three daughters. He became a disciple of Christ three decades ago, and studies God's Word passionately. He desires to be constantly led by the Spirit.