Today’s verse is from Isaiah 50:4 Here is the verse from three versions of the Bible.
And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; (version KJV)
You must distinguish between what is sacred and what is common, between what is ceremonially unclean and what is clean. (version NLT)
And to make a distinction and recognize a difference between the holy (sacred) and the common (profane), and between the [ceremonially] unclean and the clean; (version AMP)
This was spoken by the Lord God to Aaron. Earlier, the casual attitude and disobedience of Nadab and Abihu, Aaron sons, were punished by God.
We do not attend weddings in our gym attire. We do not attend job interviews during our jogging. Here in this case, specific norms were prescribed by God to Moses. Moses had shared it with the priests. But Abihu and Nadab choose not to obey this. They were punished.
When we go to the presence of the Lord in prayer, we should go with preparation. We need to be aware that we are literally going to the presence of the Lord Almighty. The attitude of our hearts needs to be prepared for this great privilege and great encounter. They had also gone with the seventy elders and Moses, Aaron to Mount Sinai for a special meeting with God and had a meal as mentioned in Exodus 24.
Yet in spite of having these experiences, they chose to be casual in their approach to God, which resulted in their punishment.
We do not know the specific thoughts which prompted them to misbehave. Was it impatience to follow the procedures? casualness? considering themselves to be self – important and, above everything else? It could be these or similar issues of their heart which made them ignore the holiness of the office they held as priests.
Casualness will lead to casualty. Only with a relationship with God, we are able to discern holy and unholy, sacred versus profane/ common.
Only a relationship with God nurtured daily, reading of the Bible, evaluating life from God’s perspective can change us.
While we should come to God the way we are, we should not do so the way we please. A heart of reverence, love, and gratefulness for the way God provided to us by Jesus Christ is required.