And Moses spoke to Aaron, and to Eleazar and to Ithamar, his sons that were left…
The words of Moses appear to have followed. closely upon the incidents described in the opening verses of the chapter. Thus viewed, they show -
I. THAT THE SIN OF SOME MUST NOT INTERFERE WITH THE SERVICE OF OTHERS. (Verse 12.) Consternation or resentment might have led Aaron and "his sons that were left" to leave the remainder of their sacred duties undischarged. This must not be. The sin of the two sons must not interrupt the service of the Most High. His worship must not cease because two men have erred. Men often plead the inconsistencies and transgressions of others as an excuse for their own shortcoming. They decline to worship God, or to sit down to the table of the Lord, or to work in the vineyard of the Great Husbandman because of their resentment against the wren. - doing of their fellows. This may satisfy themselves, but it will have no weight at all in the balances of the Divine Judge.
II. THAT THE SIN OF SOME NEED NOT INTERFERE WITH THE PRIVILEGE OF OTHERS. (Verse 14.) The whole congregation were to "bewail the burning which the Lord had kindled" (verse 6). But they were, nevertheless, to "eat in a clean place of the sacrifices of peace offerings." The saddest things need not interpose to prevent our enjoyment of the sacred privileges with which God has provided us.
III. THAT RESPONSIBLE MEN MAY WELL BE VIGILANT IN ALL MATTERS PERTAINING TO THE SERVICE OF GOD. (Verses 16-18.) Moses "diligently sought" the goat which should not have been burnt, but eaten, he showed a holy solicitude to conform to the exact requirements of "the Law of the Lord," and a commendable concern when he thought he discovered a slight departure therefrom. In Christ Jesus we are not bound by any minute commandments like those which regulated the temple service of the Jews. But there is room enough in the Church of Christ for holy vigilance on the part of those who are "over others in the Lord." They should watch keenly to observe and to correct the slightest departure from the spirit of the Master; from the spirit
(1) of reverence, or
(2) of earnestness, or
(3) of humility, or
(4) of charity.
IV. THAT THE SPIRIT OF OBEDIENCE IS EVERYTHING IN THE SIGHT OF GOD. There is something profoundly touching in the excuse (verse 19) which Aaron urged. His sons who "were left" had, spite of their bereavement and their fraternal sorrow, "offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord;" they had laid great restraint upon their feelings; they had striven to render the service required of them. And when "such things had befallen him;" when Aaron "held his peace," indeed, but "his sorrow was stirred;" when his parental heart was bleeding, - would the eating of the flesh of the goat in such a "day of desperate grief" have been an acceptable service in the sight of the Lord? Would an act in which there must have been so large a measure of constraint have been in accordance with the will of God? Moses was content with Aaron's plea; he felt that it was sound. We may infer that he was right in accepting it. Had Aaron repined, or had he resented the retributive act of God, he would certainly have sinned. But this he did not. He summoned himself and his sons to continue in the service of the Lord, and only stopped at the point where overcoming sorrow laid its arresting hand upon him. God desires of us
(1) the will to serve him,
(2) the faith in him which uncomplainingly accepts his decisions when these are painful and perplexing, and
(3) the endeavour, to the height of our power, to continue at our post. When the spirit of obedience is thus in our hearts, he does not exact a strict measure of work to be accomplished by our hands. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Moses spake unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons that were left, Take the meat offering that remaineth of the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and eat it without leaven beside the altar: for it is most holy:
WEB: Moses spoke to Aaron, and to Eleazar and to Ithamar, his sons who were left, "Take the meal offering that remains of the offerings of Yahweh made by fire, and eat it without yeast beside the altar; for it is most holy;