When I enlisted in the Army National Guard, I knew I there was a chance I could be placed in danger. When I was sent to Iraq, I knew my obligation and service were taking me directly into danger. I signed up for that. I knew the danger involved in what I willingly and gladly signed up for. Years after my time in Iraq, I felt and followed a call into professional, pastoral ministry. I didn’t expect this to involve any real danger. I still don’t believe this to be an inherently dangerous service. Serving God as a pastor may be, at times, difficult and stressful. But I’ve never seen it as deadly. Apparently, the similar call to priesthood was for the Levites even more dangerous than my time in a combat zone. Nadab and Abihu took lightly the prescriptions and warnings of God. They used instruments of the Tabernacle and the worship of God in a foolish and unprescribed manner. For their foolish disrespect, they were killed on the spot. Unfortunately, they will not be the last priests who lose their lives for disobeying the rules and abusing their position as priest.
The ordination of Aaron and his sons as priests for the people of Israel is also quite different than was my ordination as a pastor in the EPC. There was prayer, there were vowels, there was a charge, there were words of ordination. But there was no blood. There were no special clothes or robes or a headpiece placed on me. There was no oil poured over my head, or animals killed and burned on an altar. I’m particular drawn to the rubbing of blood and oil on the right earlobe, right thumb and right big toe. This is different. I believe the symbolism relates to the priests dedicating their steps, the work of their hands, and their ears to the Lord. The right side represents strength and intentionality. This was a way of saying that their focus was on serving the Lord, and his people as a mediator. They are to put all of their effort toward this ordained service. Of course, almost immediately Nadab and Abihu forgot and violated this vowel.