March 4: Leviticus 9-10 | Psalm 108-109 | 2 Corinthians 1-2

Reading 1 - Lev 10:1-3

"Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. Moses then said to Aaron, 'This is what the LORD spoke of when he said: "Among those who approach me I will show myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored" ' " (Lev 10:1-3).

"The only acceptable way is the Lord's way. No self-appointed means of worship can open the doorway to life. We cannot make ourselves holy: holiness comes from Him when we follow His path to forgiveness and sanctification. We can go further in understanding this matter. Nadab and Abihu died in their holy garments. The garments and act of consecration in which they had taken part did not afford safety. Safety lies in the Lord and not in any external things. The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it and is safe. These two men followed the way of Cain and provided their own mode of worship. The Lord was dishonoured by it. How can the sinner dictate to God the terms of his acceptance? 'I will be sanctified...' said God, and Moses knew exactly what He meant" (Harry Tennant, "Moses My Servant" 103,104).

Reading 2 - Psalm 109:6

"Appoint an evil man to oppose him; let an accuser [or 'satan'] stand at his right hand" (Psa 109:6).

The "satan" was Judas; Jesus used the word "diabolos" about him (John 6:70; 13:2, and cp v 26 there), who was to have been chief witness for the "prosecution". ("Stand at the right hand" is legal language -- cp v 7 here; Jdg 6:31; Zec 3:1. The RSV has: "Let an accuser bring him to trial.") But at the last minute, apparently even after coming to the very scene of judgment (note the implication of "saw" in Mat 27:3), Judas refused to play his assigned, and paid-for, part. Thus he left the prosecution in a quandary with no organized case against Jesus (Mat 26:60). And instead of Judas standing at his right hand, Jesus had an angel there (Psa 109:31; 110:5)!

Reading 3 - 2Co 1:1,2

"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (2Co 1:1,2).

"I do not think we can ever do better in writing or speaking than to be practically followers of Paul as he was a follower of Christ. How excellent a beginning he makes of this second letter to the Corinthians. After stating who the letter is from and to whom it is addressed, he salutes the latter thus: 'Grace be to you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.' There is great sweetness about that salutation. It is not an empty form of words; it is a genuine wish on the part of Paul, that grace and favour might rest on those to whom he was writing, and that peace might remain with them; peace from two sources which are yet one; God the Father, the Creator, the supreme head of the universe, and the Lord Jesus, who is the appointed channel of His dealings with our fallen race; peace outflowing from them in the tranquilizing influence of Divine favour; a real peace which none can invade, as saith the Scripture: 'When He giveth quietness, who then can make trouble, and when He hideth His face, who shall behold Him, whether it be done against a nation or against a man only?' [Job 34:29]" (Robert Roberts, "Seasons of Comfort" 30).