And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel;…
It is true that we are always "in the presence of the Lord." "He is not far from any one of us." "He compasses our path and our lying down: he besets us behind and before." There is no man who at any moment may not use the prophet's words, "The Lord, before whom I stand." But it is also true that God would have us place ourselves consciously and in company before him; that we should gather together at his house and worship in "his holy temple." We gain thoughts on this subject from our text, viz. -
I. GOD'S CALL TO HIS OWN PRESENCE. (Verses 5, 6.) It was at the Lord's own command that "all the congregation drew near and stood before" him. The entire scene was due to explicit Divine direction. It is God himself who calls us to his presence. We may venture to ask why he does so, and to answer by suggesting:
1. That it is a part of his Divine satisfaction in us to receive our united homage and thanksgiving; and
2. That he knows that public worship is best suited to impress our minds and strengthen our souls in heavenly wisdom. But we are certain that it is his will, for whatever reasons. "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together," etc. (Hebrews 10:25; see Acts 2:42). The presentation of ourselves before God should be measured thus:
(1) multiplied by
(a) our sense of God's pleasure with our worship;
(b) our need of spiritual refreshment and elevation;
(c) usefulness to others by way of encouragement in piety.
(2) Limited by home duties and the other claims of our outer life.
II. THE HUMAN INSTRUMENT IN THIS SACRED SUMMONS. (Verses 1, 3.) Here we have a double human instrumentality: Moses called Aaron, etc. (verse 1), and Aaron was instructed to take on himself the duty of summoning the children of Israel to bring their sacrifices before the Lord (verse 3). God continually speaks to us through man. Some men are his spokesmen in an especial sense and in a large degree; all of us are to be listeners to those who speak in his name. Those who speak for him are to be faithful and earnest in summoning his people to "stand before the Lord." Does the prophet ask, "What shall I cry?" Surely, one answer of the heavenly voice is, "O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker" (Isaiah 40:6; Psalm 95:6; see Psalm 100:2, 3, 4).
III. THE SPIRIT IN WHICH WE SHOULD RESPOND. We should come before the Lord:
1. In a spirit of humility. Aaron himself was to take a sin offering (verse 2), and this after all the sacrifices described in the preceding chapter. The people also were to present a sin offering (verse 3). Though we may be in a state of reconciliation with God, we have need of the spirit of penitence at all times, and, when we draw near to the throne of grace, should ask that the mercy of God in Jesus Christ may cover our offenses and shortcomings.
2. In a spirit of consecration. Aaron was to take a ram for a burnt offering (verse 2); the people a calf and a lamb for the same kind of sacrifice (verse 3). They were - as we are - to be ready to consecrate themselves unto the Lord, to offer themselves in spiritual sacrifice on his altar. We are to go up to God's house ready to renew our vows unto him.
3. In a spirit of gratitude and joy. The children of Israel were not to omit the meat offering or the peace offering (verse 4). We are to take with us before God a heart full of thanksgiving for his bounty; also of social, sacred joy. We are to rejoice together before him.
4. In a spirit of devout expectation. The Hebrew worshippers were to look for the manifestation of Jehovah: "Today the Lord will appear unto you" (verse 4). We, too, are to expect that God will be with us; that he will draw nigh unto us when we draw nigh unto him (James 4:8); that Christ our Lord will "manifest himself unto us," will "come unto us, and make his abode with us" (John 14:21-23). - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel;