I spent some time alone with God, and I still didn't feel like I had totally gotten to the bottom of the matter. I am doing a Bible study on the Tabernacle, so I picked up my work book and started doing my homework for the day...and wham...I was reading the "strange fire" account.
Dig way back into the crevices of your mind, or flip to Leviticus 10:1-11, and unearth the story of the sons of Aaron who where consumed by fire from the Holy of Holies because they offered strange fire as an offering to the Lord. Pretty harsh, you may say...but then the study begins to show us the importance of worshiping the Lord in the way He intended.
You see the offering that the sons of Aaron were bringing to the Lord had specific instructions. They were supposed to take coals from the altar of sacrifice and use them to burn the special incense in the altar of incense. What is so special about coals from the altar of sacrifice? They were covered in the blood of the burnt offering...they represented the blood of Christ which atones our sins.
You see we can't approach God without Jesus. There is no getting around our sinfulness and God cannot abide sin of any kind. Since he is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow...He couldn't abide the sin of the Israelites either. So they offered blood sacrifices on the altar and then used the coals from that fire to burn incense as a form of worship to the Lord. The incense represents our communication to the Lord...our prayers our worship, everything we say and do for Him.
So the blood of Christ covers us allowing us to worship, Jesus sits at the right hand of God interceding for us - which means he is telling God everything we are telling Him and we are praying from the spirit inside of us, which God gave us.
OK so I say all of this to show you that I was kind of bypassing the rules. John 4:23 says for us to worship the Lord in spirit and truth. What does that mean? I was worshiping with my body (singing, raising my hands), and I was worshiping with my soul (my emotions) but my spirit was kind of disengaged. So I was missing the mark. I wasn't getting through.
So it is incredible that we are accessing the whole Trinity when we worship or pray to God. Beth Moore says this in the study, "The incense of our prayer and worship is the Holy Spirit and the fire that enables the fragrance to rise is Jesus Christ. The One who deems the fire and incense acceptable or unacceptable is Father God."
Whoa...worship is such a privilege. To come before the Creator of the Universe and offer Him anything less that what He asks for is detrimental to our connection with the Living God. We may not be burned alive by holy fire like the sons of Aaron, but we could have some serious communication problems with God.
So I will tell you one thing...I don't think those sleepy prayers whispered in bed before I am really awake count as worship. I don't think that it makes the "in spirit and truth" cut. I had to ask for some major forgiveness, and then make a covenant with the Lord that I would enter his court with reverence and a healthy fear of his awesomeness.
How about you? Have you been offering Him strange fire?