Leviticus 10:6, 7
And Moses said to Aaron, and to Eleazar and to Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest you die…
That honour involves responsibility is implied in many of these ordinances, and is recognized in the judgment passed on the conduct of men occupying conspicuous positions in society and in the Church. To be dedicated to God's service was an inestimable privilege conferred on Aaron and his family, Their time and labour were bestowed upon high and holy employments, The seal of God was stamped upon their brow, the people regarded them with respect and provided for their maintenance. Compare the honourable position of ministers, missionaries, yea, all the followers of Christ now, and note that there arc special restrictions consequent upon their consecration, and common infirmities to which they are subject equally with others.
I. THE RESTRICTIONS.
1. Forbidden to mingle with the world in its engagements. "Not go out of the sanctuary," at least for a season, they are deprived of the liberty others enjoy, Pursuits which may be harmlessly indulged in by others are unbecoming to them.
2. Prohibited from contact with all that is defiling. They must not touch the dead bodies of their relations; the cousins of Aaron shall perform the last offices for their brethren. What concord hath the Spirit of life with death? To profane the holy unction is to incur the Divine displeasure. "Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient." "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness."
3. Free manifestation of grief at God's visitations not permitted. The usual relief found in expression is excluded; there must be no signs of mourning upon the priests. Let it suffice for the nation to "bewail the burning." How shall the oil of gladness consort with mourning? The people of God are not to be demonstrative in their sorrow at his chastisements, lest it be misconstrued, and others, taking occasion from their example, go further and even denounce the ways of God, and so "wrath come upon" them. We must remember the wisdom of the Almighty and the glory due unto his Name. Will not the world entertain hard thoughts concerning him if we his servants are over-loud in lamentation?
II. THE INFIRMITIES which are not prevented.
1. They are subject to the common losses and bereavements. There is no special providence in this respect. Even Aaron and his sons have to bow before afflicting dispensations. If it were otherwise great part of the discipline of life would be omitted from the training of God's chiefest scholars.
2. They also feel the natural pangs of sorrow. It is evidently so in the present case, or the command to refrain from the usual manifestations of grief would not have been issued. God's ministers are not expected to become hard-hearted and callous, but they are not to give way to outbursts of anguish.
3. They are liable to commit acts displeasing to God. Nadab and Abihu are a solemn warning of the possibility of transgression. Even Christians of repute fall into grievous sin. They get hurried away by worldly passion, and offer unacceptable worship.
CONCLUSION. Observe the influence of our behaviour upon
(1) the honour of God, and
(2) the welfare of our fellows.
He who expects great things of us wilt also, if we ask him, accord us the necessary strength to enable us to comply with his demands. Whilst conscious of the importance attaching to all our actions, we need not be depressed with a load of anxiety. We may "rejoice in the Lord alway." - S.R.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD hath kindled.
WEB: Moses said to Aaron, and to Eleazar and to Ithamar, his sons, "Don't let the hair of your heads go loose, neither tear your clothes; that you don't die, and that he not be angry with all the congregation: but let your brothers, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which Yahweh has kindled.