Leviticus 10: 1-3
Then Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, each took his fire pan and put fire in it, set incense in it, and presented strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them to do. 2 So fire went out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them so that they died before the LORD. 3 Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke: ‘Among the ones close to me I will show myself holy, and in the presence of all the people I will be honored.” So Aaron kept silent.
“For I am the LORD your God and you are to sanctify yourselves and be holy because I am holy… 45 For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God, and you are to be holy because I am holy.”
Nothing is hidden from the LORD. It is folly to try to conceal anything in the first place, but we easily go astray and are deceived into thinking we can rationalize our unfaithfulness and make it acceptable in the sight of the One Holy One.
He is the same God today – still Holy in a new covenant. He still wants our first fruits, our best – and is worthy of such an offering. Somehow we buy into the philosophy that this amazing God of grace will wink His eye at our futile attempts because we “tried”. It is this lukewarm washed down mentality that condones sin as being what is common and yet there is a cry in our souls that we are to seek to be Holy as He is Holy. He who gave His very best, His only Son, expects such a sacrifice from those Who would receive such a mighty gift.
Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu were serving the LORD. Not sure what the strange fire was, but it was straying from what God commanded. What a privilege it is to serve in God’s house. Not because of position, but because of His incredible redemption – taking rebels steeped in self and sin and changing them to humble servants, seeking to do His will. So what happened? How did Nadab and Abihu stray? Were they placed there in a position that they were not qualified for because of relationship? Did they have accountability? There is not much that I detest more than seeing one of God’s children failing spiritually. The ensuing disillusionment for many affected is devastating – all over choices made to gratify self instead of pleasing a Holy God.
The example of Aaron’s sons terrifies me because I want to be found faithful but see the same capability in myself. Corruption is the natural course for us all, apart from accountability, the grace of God and the fear of God firm in our hearts. Could this sin have been avoided? We can try to blame Dad, but his sons were all grown up by this point. Maybe something was lacking in their training and they could have filled a two-part series on Oprah about the struggles of being PK’s. I don’t know, but I do know that we have no one to blame for our own faithlessness other than ourselves.
In the struggle of humanity, His grace is still available to all who would reach for it. The problem is we often do not see our need of it. The lavish grace and blood spilled out on our behalf was not so we could just be saved and live apart from Him, but His pure, Holy sacrifice serves as a vivid reminder of the depravity of our soul when left to our own devices. It cost HIm His life. Back to Aaron’s sons. They were there, offering sacrifices – right in front of them the reality of sin’s consequences – blood spilled out to cover sins – and it became merely ritual to them, something they could do their way.
This same attitude is in the church today. Elements of the church service are fought over as different perspectives over how each aspect of our worship service should be done. Wow, has the body of Christ missed it big time. It is all about Him. How can we reveal His love and glory to those coming, hungering for more of Him?
In our desire to serve God and share His salvation with a lost world, we can easily get lost and forget in the midst of our programs and plans that we still serve a Holy God. Familiarity with the church service can become religious dogma, but God is watching to see who acknowledges Him and His holiness in the midst of our routine. Maybe routine is a distraction that can cover our nakedness before the LORD. It is easier to go through the motions than to lay our hearts transparent before Him to do surgery. Don’t get me wrong – order in our services is a framework that can really glorify God, but God help us to never allow that framework to become mere duty. Nothing is routine with Him and He wants to fill our churches with His presence.
This weary world is spiraling out of control. Judgment is coming and it starts with us – with God’s church. The time to quarrel about techniques and perspectives is over. The days are evil. We must be all about cooperation and God’s glory. If we rend our hearts and set aside trying to sanitize our waywardness and instead expose our desperate need for a Holy God, in that beautiful place is liberty and true worship of our King. He reveals our sin that we might confess our sins and find incredible mercy in His presence.