Thursday, February 01, 2018

A shocking conclusion to a beautiful day

Image: Pixabay
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Leviticus 8-10; Psalm 32

“Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, and offered profane fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.
So fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.” Leviticus 10:1,2

Things were going so well on this day when the tabernacle worship was begun. Just before our focus verses we read of how God’s glory appeared and His fire came down supernaturally, devouring the offering. The amazed and dazzled congregation fell on their faces at this sight of God’s presence and approval.

Even as this was going on, Aaron’s sons snatched their censers, filled them with incense and fire, and began making their own offering.

What were they up to? Was this an attempt to gain a little credit for their service? Or perhaps they were showing off. Or maybe they were experimenting to see what glorious thing God would do next.  Or could they have been confused by too much wine?

We’ll never know. But lest we leave thinking God harsh and arbitrary for judging them in this way, let’s look behind their seemingly small “sin” and think about how their actions can be a warning to us.

1. Proud ambition:
Matthew Henry’s commentary suggests they were “… proud of the honour they were newly advanced to and ambitions.” What we don’t find in the passage is God’s command that they make this extracurricular offering. It was their own idea.

2. Unlawful fire:
Their presumption included taking, not the fire from the altar that was to be used in offerings but with blatant disregard filling those censers with their own fire.

3. Impulsive:

It sounds like their act was done quickly, on impulse, while Moses, Aaron and the people were preoccupied.

4. Drunk:
They may have been drunk, for immediately after this happened God addressed Aaron with a warning about serving sober (Leviticus 10:8-11).

We take away from this incident a reminder that God is holy, other, different from us. No matter what the culture of our times says about permissiveness and how breaking rules is no big deal, He doesn’t change. From this story we can learn:
  • Personal ambition has no place in God’s service.
  • No matter what our status or position, we shouldn’t presume to step out on our own but wait for God’s direction.
  • Obedience is important, even when no one is looking.
  • God’s service calls for our best focus and concentration.

Oh Father God, this story reminds me that You are not to be taken lightly. Please give me a renewed realization of Your holiness and respect for who You are and what You say. Amen.

Psalm 32

The Bible Project VIDEO: Leviticus (Torah Series)

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Thanks for reading! This year we are using The Bible Project "Timeless Reading Plan" to read through the Bible in 2018. If you'd like to read along in your own Bible, you can download a pdf of the reading plan HERE.

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