Listening Before You Act
Leviticus 10:1-2, "And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD."
There are occasions in the Word of God where we learn how intensely sacred and holy things concerning redemption and God's relationship to His people is. God was very specific in His direction concerning all things that occurred in the worship ceremonies conducted in the tabernacle. Scofield states, "The sin of Nadab and Abihu was in acting in the things of God without seeking the mind of God." It is that which is called "will worship" in Colossians 3:23, it is that which Cain sought in Genesis 4:3&5.
I don't know what was going through the minds of these two sons of Aaron. Were they filled with pride simply disregarding the mind and heart of God? Were they excited in the moment of Leviticus 9:23-24 when the "glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people"? We don't know what was in their mind or in their heart but we know they disobeyed God by acting without seeking His direction. They did something God did not command them to do, they offered "...strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not." (vs. 10:1)
Matthew Henry describes these verses in his Concise Commentary as follows: "Next to Moses and Aaron, none were more likely to be honourable in Israel than Nadab and Abihu. There is reason to think that they were puffed up with pride, and that they were heated with wine. While the people were prostrate before the Lord, adoring his presence and glory, they rushed into the tabernacle to burn incense, though not at the appointed time; both together, instead of one alone, and with fire not taken from the altar. If it had been done through ignorance, they had been allowed to bring a sin-offering. But the soul that doeth presumptuously, and in contempt of God's majesty and justice, that soul shall be cut off. The wages of sin is death. They died in the very act of their sin. The sin and punishment of these priests showed the imperfection of that priesthood from the very beginning, and that it could not shelter any from the fire of God's wrath, otherwise than as it was typical of Christ's priesthood."
We know the exact words used in Leviticus 9:24 "...a fire came out from before the LORD,” is the same word for fire in Leviticus 10:2, its source was the same, yet the effect was far different, two people were killed for their disobedience.
It is important that we hold sacred the things of God, the fact that we represent Him on this earth is sacred, the fact that we influence others is sacred, the sharing of the Gospel is sacred. May we focus upon who we are as Christians, may we seek the mind and heart of God, and then and only then act so that are actions are actions of obedience rather than disobedience.
Your Friend and HIS,
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
1. Can you recall a time in your life when you acted before seeking the Lord? What was the outcome?
2. People often assume they can manage their sin. What is wrong with that kind of thinking?
3. Have you ever experienced severe consequences for your sin? What do you think about the consequences experienced by Nadab and Abihu?
4. Is it possible for you to sin in such a manner that God might choose to take your life? (See 1 John 5:16-17) Is that fair?