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Vayikra/Leviticus 16:2 Adonai spoke to Moshe after the death of the two sons of Aharon
Many of the commentators draw attention to this verse because it appears to omit what the L-rd said. The usual formulation is: "And the L-rd spoke to Moshe to say, '...'"; this verse starts the formula but the next verse (v2) start again with: "And the L-rd said to Moshe ...".Rashi goes as far as to ask, "Why does the Torah say this?" Perhaps it can be explained by seeing the context in which this took place: Aharon's two sons, Nadav and Avihu, have been consumed by fire proceeding the L-rd after offering incense in a way or at a time that He had not commanded. At the same time Aharon is told not to mourn for his two sons, a fairly difficult task at a human level. The L-rd wants to keep the channels of communication open with both Aharon and Moshe, so at this delicate moment speaks to Moshe lest Aharon should feel that this is all too much.
The level of human resilience in the face of tragedy is truly remarkable - reflecting, perhaps, our origin created in the image of G-d (B'reisheet 1:27). Job retained enough faith, control and composure when he heard that all his sons and daughters had been killed to say, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, naked I will return there. Adonai gave; Adonai took; blessed by the name of Adonai" (Job 1:21, CJB). When the L-rd took the wife of the prophet Ezekiel, he obediently carried out G-d's instructions: "I spoke to the people in the morning, and that evening my wife died. So I did the following morning as I had been ordered" (Ezekiel 25:18, CJB).
G-d tests and refines us throughout our walk with Him as believers, even as He tested Avraham Avinu (B'reisheet 22:1ff). "'Therefore', says Adonai-Tzva'ot, 'I will refine them and test them ...'" (Jeremiah 9:6, CJB); "I will refine them as silver is refined, I will test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name and I will answer them. I will say 'This is My people' and they will say 'Adonai is my G-d'" (Z'kharyah 13:9, CJB), G-d not only knows our strengths and weaknesses, but what He is working to accomplish in us so that, "No temptation has seized you beyond what people normally experience, and G-d can be trusted not to allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear" (1 Cor 10:13, CJB), and "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you" (1 Peter 4:12, NASB).
On the contrary, we have to stay in touch with G-d throughout the process, drawing our strength and endurance from Him, as it says, "Cast your cares upon Him, for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7, NIV).
Further Study: Hebrews 12:7-13; D'varim 8:1-6
Application: Have you been through a testing time lately and perhaps lost sight of G-d in the process? Or do you perhaps feel a grudge towards Him that this is happening to you? Take comfort that it is all for our good as He grows the character of Messiah Yeshua in us and talk to Him about it today.
© Jonathan Allen, 2004
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