"Then the LORD answered me and said, "Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, That the one who reads it may run. "For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay. "Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith." Hab 2:2-4
Click here to listen to "Choices and Vision"
Vision allows running, momentum in our lives. It is almost impossible to run in the dark. The more illumined and clearer our path, the more energy and focus we have to run. Vision is the place where intention and faith expressed in action and results. The fulcrum where vision becomes reality is choice.
"Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law." Pro 29:18
If vision is the key to our ability to run the race set before us, then we need to learn how to have vision. Let’s take a little time then and look at this word translated here as “unrestrained” and elsewhere as “perish”. This is the Hebrew word פָּרַע. In English transliteration, the word is pronounced “parah”. Its first use in the Bible is in Exodus 5:4:
"But the king of Egypt said to them, "Moses and Aaron, why do you draw (parah) the people away from their work? Get back to your labors!"" Exo 5:4
The Pharaoh is accusing Moses and Aaron of drawing the people off the work that they were supposed to do according to his vision for them. The next use is a little more revealing of the true nature of this word and how it relates to vision: Exodus32:25
"And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)" Exo 32:25 KJV
This verse is Moses’ description of what the worship of the golden calf had done to Israel. It exposed the nakedness and shame of a people who through their choice resulted in them being uncovered.
Another translation translated “parah” in this next verse is “out of control”.
"Now when Moses saw that the people were out of control—for Aaron had let them get out of control to be a derision among their enemies—" Exo 32:25
Aaron was in position as the spiritual head for the nation of Israel when Moses was up on the mountain. In this place, Aaron’s role was to hold the vision pure. In this case, the vision that he was entrusted with was the worship of God as the One who brought Israel as His covenant people out of Egyptian bondage.
"Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to Myself. 'Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel."" Exo 19:3-6 (NASB)
The key part of the vision the Lord gave Israel was to obey His voice, the conversation of the heart and keep or protect the covenant, which is the boundary of faithfulness as the bride of the Lord. This would be fulfilled by the result of being a holy nation and a kingdom of priests.
As priests, the central action was their worship.
Aaron as the Cohen Hagadol, the high priest, was the steward of the direction or vision of that purpose. In this way, the vision was God’s clothing for the people, their covering or atonement. The covering or atonement is what we spoke about last chapter, the robes of righteousness and the garment of salvation.
"I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." Isa 61:10 (NASB)
In allowing the people to worship the golden calf, Aaron as the leader placed the people in an exposed place where they were naked. They were unrestrained by the vision of themselves as the bride of God, the kingdom of priests, the holy nation. They cast off restraint and lost their garments of salvation and their robes of righteousness!
Salvation isn’t just about deliverance from slavery to the world and its ways, which are driven by people-pleasing. Salvation is also about fulfilling our destiny as the bride, priests, and the righteous of God!
This is all about vision. The most important question that we can answer is what is God’s vision for our lives? Then He calls us to choose the vision and set our heart upon it.
""So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance." Act 26:19-20 (NASB)
The Apostle Paul derived his choices based on the vision he received from heaven.
OK. Let’s look a little more into Parah, which is the opposite of what Paul calls being obedient to the heavenly vision.
The next section that we want to look at is the offering of strange fire on the altar of God in Leviticus chapter 10. Let’s look at the story:
"Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said to Aaron, "It is what the LORD spoke, saying, 'By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honored.'" So, Aaron, therefore, kept silent. Moses called also to Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Aaron's uncle Uzziel, and said to them, "Come forward, carry your relatives away from the front of the sanctuary to the outside of the camp." So, they came forward and carried them still in their tunics to the outside of the camp, as Moses had said. Then Moses said to Aaron and to his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, "Do not uncover your heads, (Parah) nor tear your clothes, so that you will not die and that He will not become wrathful against all the congregation. But your kinsmen, the whole house of Israel, shall bewail the burning which the LORD has brought about." Lev 10:1-6 (NASB)
We are not sure exactly what Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron did which is called strange fire, but the key is that it wasn’t what the Lord told them to do. Their role as the priests would set the patterns for obeying God in clear vision. What they did caused a perversion in the leadership. This rebellion became witchcraft, which is called strange fire.
"For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king."" 1Sa 15:23 (NKJV)
Our destiny is dependent on our honoring the voice of the Lord in our lives which comes from clear vision of who He is and who we are in Him.
Nadab and Abihu lost that clarity and decided to do their own thing. This brought death to them, which clearly was not their destiny. Imagine the pain of their Abba, Aaron. These were his boys that he raised from birth to have lives of purpose and destiny. Here they are in their prime. They decided, choice, to set their wills on their own ways. This is witchcraft
What I want to focus on is the use of “parah” here, for uncovering your heads. God speaks to Aaron and his sons, Eleazar and Ithamar not to parah their heads through their grief. Why is that? Grief is an emotion that reflects honor. When we grieve we honor those whom we grieve. The other way to say this is that when we grieve, we give glory to the ones we have lost. God is making a distinction here; the nation who knows Nadab and Abihu as members of the community can and should grieve them. BUT Aaron and his sons as priests must not!
Aron and his sons in this context are wearing the robes of righteousness of the priesthood and what is OK for the commoners, Israel as a nation is NOT for them. If they “parah” their head they remove the covering of holiness, the chosen of God who are called to their destiny. There is a vision for the priesthood, and it is to be holy unto the Lord in a way that is of intimacy and trust by the Lord. Much is given to the priests in terms of access to the King and therefore much more is expected.
"But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more." Luke 12:48 (NKJV)
There are things that God will ask of you that are treasures of your destiny that will be the covering for your head, your authority. The glory of destiny requires you to honor the voice of Him who is Glory. Aaron and his remaining sons in grieving would have placed the loss above the glory of God. This would have removed their covering and made them common in the place of the Holy which would have brought immediate death. We will look next at what it truly means to be holy. For now, suffice it to say that what is holy as a priest is not the same as what is holy as a commoner.
One final verse about Parah, Proverbs 1:25:
"Because you disdained all my counsel, And would have none of my rebuke," Pro 1:25 (NKJV)
Vision is all about intimacy. Aaron’s sons disdained intimacy with God, the trust of the inner chambers. Another translation calls this neglect, which indicates an ignoring of honor. Their spiritual adultery cost them their destiny. Today, God is speaking in the inner courts of our hearts. He is training us in righteousness. He will NOT share His glory with another god. What voice we listen to determines whose glory is our glory. Remember glory means weight. Whose voice is the heaviest in our valuing?
Activation: Take some time and inquire of the Lord what is His vision for you? Then make your choices to restrain yourself to the heavenly vision that you might realize the purpose He has declared in your existence!
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