“Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. And the fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.” (Leviticus 10:1-2, ESV)
What a shocking scene this must have been before the eyes of the people, and the eyes of Aaron, Eleazar, and Moses himself! What a shocking story for anyone to read … and then to try and get their hands around it!
The Book of Leviticus is all about holiness … the holiness of God and the holiness He expects of those who are His people! A clue to why this shocking event took place is found in verse three of the same chapter, “And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.’” So Aaron held his peace.”
There are actually two words that need to be magnified in this verse and they are: “holy” and “glorified.” What happened to these two young men happened because they violated both of these principles! You see, as we so often find in the Scriptures, when someone presumes that something other than what God has declared and defined and expects in worship and service is ok, a high price is to be paid!
Mankind, it seems, has always had a difficult time accepting God’s terms about anything! Read slowly and carefully the following passage of Scripture, “Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.” (Psalm 19:13, ESV)
Worshipping and serving Jehovah God in the way He has prescribed … has always made a difference … the difference between pleasing self and that of pleasing God! Considering the “wrath of God” can be unsettling … but His wrath, His justice … is just as true as is His grace and mercy!
So … what does all of this have to do with you and me living in the 21st Century? Good question! The apostle Paul penned by inspiration the following, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
We actually have all that we need to insure that we are doing religiously, spiritually, etc. is a “thus saith the Lord.”
Who among us can deny that the inspired words of the Apostle Paul to the young evangelist, Timothy, are just as enlightening and foreboding today as they must have been to Timothy when he received Paul’s letter, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come …” (2 Timothy 3:1. NKJV)
We, those of us who are older in years and hopefully wiser in the ways of the Lord have an awesome privilege and sobering responsibility to share with the next generation, the joyous and saving news of “the gospel of Jesus Christ” in ways and terms that they cannot only understand but apply to their own hearts and lives!
I close this article with a spot-on quote from author David McCullough regarding the place of history and of our need to be acquainted with it in more than a casual way, “History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.”
Bill Fairchild, Jr.
Coming tomorrow: A look at this principle more closely when it comes to bringing up our sons and daughters … our grandsons and granddaughters in “the ways of the Lord” and of our need to refresh … remember … and share the history of God’s dealing with His people!