The Lord’s priests have a high calling over their lives. They are God’s representatives to the people. Under the New Covenant, with Jesus our Messiah as our High Priest each of His followers is a priest, anointed for God’s purposes. In verses 8-11 God explains part of the priestly mission to Aaron.
“And the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying, 9 “Drink no wine or strong drink, you or your sons with you, when you go into the tent of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. 10 You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean, 11 and you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes that the Lord has spoken to them by Moses.”
They were to take their vocation seriously. They were to remember that the tent of meeting was a clean place and that the sanctuary was holy. It was not a place for revelry. It was a place for celebrating the Lord. Priests have an obligation to demonstrate to others the difference between holy and common. They have a responsibility to teach people who God is and what He has commanded.
Under the Old Covenant that meant teaching Israel the more than 600 laws, statutes, and requirements of the Law. Under the New Covenant that means that we have a burden to tell the world that their Father loves and wants them, that Jesus died and rose again to forgive them and make a way for them to have a relationship with God, and that The Holy Spirit wants to indwell them, transform them, and make them new. It means we must live as examples of holiness, not with affected piety, but with unity with our Father, our Savior, and our Peace, the King of kings. We are not common, we are noble, royal, and holy.
1 Peter 2:9-10 reminds us,
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
Royal Priest, Holy Child of God Almighty, you are not common. You are not ordinary. You once were in the dark, but now you are in the light and you are able to proclaim his excellence and the brilliance of life in Him. There are so many wandering lost in the dark, who have no idea who they are in Christ. You Noble Servant of the Most High can reveal the truth to them, shine a light, and lead them to the Lord who loves them.
Priests have the onus to mediate atonement for sin between God and the people. Moses spoke to Aaron and his surviving sons to remind them to eat the meat and grain of the offerings given to them out of the sacrifices. While we do not have sacrifices today, we do take the bread and wine as a reminder and confirmation of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. We receive the Lord’s provision, equipment, and Word. Taking The Lord’s Supper often is a special privilege and obligation. Each time we eat the bread, we consider His body broken for us bearing our sin. Every time we drink the wine, we contemplate His blood spilled for us, cleansing us and forgiving our sin. We realize we are no longer sinners, commonplace people of the dark, and children of wrath. Now we are holy noble children of Light.
Taking The Lord’s Supper is not something done lightly. Moses exhorted Aaron and asked why he and his sons had not eaten the goat of the sin offering as they were obligated to for atonement of the people. Aaron answered him in verses 19-20.
“And Aaron said to Moses, “Behold, today they have offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord, and yet such things as these have happened to me! If I had eaten the sin offering today, would the Lord have approved?” 20 And when Moses heard that, he approved.”
Aaron, in obedience to God was not publicly or officially mourning his sons, but that didn’t change the fact that he had lost them and was grieving in his heart. He knew that this issue was something he and his other sons must deal with before they could properly eat the meat of the atonement offering.
Our sins do not negate our calling as priests, we are completely forgiven. But once realized, sins, especially sins of heart and attitude must be dealt with before we eat the bread and drink the wine of Jesus’ perfect offering to us.
1 Corinthians 11:27-32 says,
“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.”
Believer, you are not ordinary, you are extraordinary. You are holy, royal, and chosen. You shouldn’t look or act like you did when you didn’t know who you were, when you were blind to you calling, and living in your unforgiven sin. Call yourself by a new name, Prince, Priest, and Precious.