After the death of Steve Jobs, the world waits to see what will become of Apple. Steve Jobs brought the force of his creative leadership to Apple, and no one doubts that the success of Apple—and the innovations of the iPhone, iPod, and iPad—can largely be credited to him.
The world needs great leaders, but leadership is often hard. In today’s reading, we see an important transfer of some of that responsibility to Aaron and his sons.
During the seven-day ordination ceremony, Moses presented the sacrifices on behalf of the priests. On the eighth day, he commended to Aaron this work. Aaron must present offerings on his behalf, on behalf of his sons, as well as the entire community. And he was careful to do the work just as God Himself had prescribed.
We draw two important conclusions from the work done by Aaron and his sons at the altar. First (and as we’ve already seen), atonement must be made for the people to draw near to God and for Him to draw near to them. Sin will prevent a holy God from communing with an unholy people. The sacrifices symbolize this divide and the need for divine mercy.
Second, we see God’s grand plan to bless His people. When Aaron finished offering the sacrifices, he raised his hands to bless the people. Atonement is a sure path to joy: God’s overriding impulse is that of blessing: in the Garden, He blessed Adam and Eve. When He called Abraham, He promised him blessings of land and legacy. When He rescued Israel, it was for the purpose of blessing them.
Here, at the entrance to the tabernacle, the fire of God’s holy blessing falls, and the people breathe joy and holy fear.