And the LORD said to Moses, Speak to the priests the sons of Aaron, and say to them…
I. THE HONOURABLE POSITION OF THE PRIESTS.
1. They are sanctioned by God, consecrated to His especial service, they bear His stamp upon them, wear His livery, and receive of the honour that belongs to Him.
2. They perform the high function of offering the bread of God. This phrase included not only the placing of the shewbread in the sanctuary, but also the presentation to God of the various sacrifices which become the materials for His glory and praise. The enlarged priesthood of the New Testament, embracing the whole body of believers in Christ Jesus, are similarly dedicated to sacred office. They present spiritual sacrifices, they "showforth the excellences of Him who called them out of darkness into His marvellous light."
II. HONOUR INVOLVES OBLIGATION AND RESTRICTION. Many acts permissible to the people were not so to the priests. They were evidently to be models of holiness in their persons, families, and social relationships. Men like the idea of occupying posts of dignity, but do not sufficiently realise the responsibilities thence accruing. We are always more anxious to get than to give; sinecure livings are at too high a premium of estimation.
III. PERFECT HOLINESS IMPLIES BEAUTY, LIFE, AND JOY. It is in opposition to disfigurement, death, and sorrow. How different this conception of holiness from that of gloom and moroseness which many entertain. Let young people know that God loves pretty children, and handsome men and women, when the glory of the Spirit is thus reflected in the outer person; He delights in the vigour and innocent mirth of the young, and in the happy enthusiasm, the lively rejoicing of their elders, when these are the outcome of righteousness and devoted service. The imperfection of this present state is evident in the fact that holiness does not mean exemption from anxiety and tribulation. It sometimes appears as if the most faithful children of God were visited with heaviest chastisements. We are assured of a future state where these contradictions shall be removed. The ideal shall not only be approximated, but attained to; "death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying, nor pain any more: the first things are passed away," symbolical and ascriptional righteousness shall give place to real perfect holiness; in the presence of God there shall be fulness of joy.
(S. R. Aldridge, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests the sons of Aaron, and say unto them, There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people: