Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on 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. 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. (Leviticus 10:1-3)
Nadab And Abihu
Since the Garden of Eden the will of the Lord has been clear in its expectation, demands and consequences. Satan challenged Eve with the suggestion that God was unfair in His demand not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. She considered the proposition of the devil and agreed that it would not matter if she took of the fruit and she did. Giving the fruit to Adam they both realized immediately the folly of their choice. God did not strike them dead but they suffered a greater loss was sin separated man from his Creator. Nothing had changed by the time the children of Israel were receiving the law from God and the priestly orders were established under the Law of Moses. A priesthood was ordained through the Law under the High Priesthood of Aaron, brother to Moses. The priestly ministry began with Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel being instructed in the way of the Lord. Aaron made the first sacrifice for sin by killing a calf for himself and then a goat for the people. The grain offering was offered along with the bull and the ram as sacrifice of peace offerings which were for the people. Afterwards, Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle and came out to bless the people when the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people and fire came out from the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. This startled the people and the cried out falling on their faces. The declaration of the Lord God was firmly planted on the minds of the people but it did not seem to have the desired effect on two sons of Aaron.
Immediately following this powerful demonstration of God’s presence upon the people, Nadab and Abihu each took their censers and put fire with incense as an offering to the Lord. For whatever reasons known only to the Lord and the sons of Aaron, they decided it really did not matter what kind of fire they put in their censer. What is abundantly clear is the fire they presented as sacrifice to the Lord was without authority and not in keeping with the law of God. It would seem a small thing to consider that one fire is different from another. Not the Lord God. As the two sons of Aaron offered the fire and incense fire went out from the Lord and incinerated the two men. What Nadab and Abihu did before the Lord was disobey Him and treated the worship as unholy. They did not glorify the Lord by keeping the commandment given to them and offered profane fire before the Lord. What God did that day was the right thing to do. There is no question of the righteousness of the Lord being performed that day upon two priests who flaunted the will of God as unimportant. It is not every day that fire comes down from the Lord killing those who disobey Him. The fire that consumed the offerings of Aaron earlier had shown the people the overwhelming glory of the Lord. Nadab and Abihu should have considered their actions more carefully before dismissing the authority of the Lord.
It is not uncommon for many believers in God to follow the same path of Nadab and Abihu in disregarding the will of the Lord. The sons of Aaron thought they could change the law of God to suit their own needs. Why they disregarded the law is not known but what is known is they knew what they were doing. The fire they offered was profane and it did not matter to them which fire they took. It mattered to God. When a person looks at the word of God and says it does not matter what the Lord says they fall under the same condemnation as the sons of Aaron. Christianity is fractured into those who want to worship the Lord in ways that please themselves. Why are there so many churches? Believers in God will accept faith as a requisite for salvation disregarding baptism as essential. Many will confess a belief in Jesus Christ and yet accept sex before marriage as acceptable, adultery as expected and homosexuality as the new normal. Lying on tax forms is just a way of life, cheating the company of hours and energy is part of corporate America and filling life with the trinkets of materialism is blessed by the Lord. Churches are filled with those who care very little for the word of God adapting their lives to their desires. Nadab and Abihu stand as giants of folly who thought it did not matter what they did and God would not care. When the smoke and stench cleared, the people of Israel understood that the Lord will be regarded as holy and He will be glorified.
The word of God is given to man for his salvation. When he begins to pick and choose what he likes and dislikes he offers profane fire before the Lord. The Bible is filled with those who thought it did not matter to God what they did. His message still rings true today. When a person wants to come before the Lord God Almighty it must be with the spirit of holiness that requires man to give glory to God. Anything less will not be accepted. Fire will not come out from the Lord as it did with Nadab and Abihu but there will be a judgment when all men stand before the great I AM. Jesus died on the cross to save man from sin and the will of the Father is the only way salvation will be granted to sinful man. Obedience requires the heart to follow the word of God whether man agrees or not. Denominationalism is the profane fire of disregarding the commandments of the Lord. False worship comes from those who believe it does not matter how to approach the Lord to worship. The commandments of the Lord are not burdensome. Nadab and Abihu remind us of the sanctity of God’s word: it is settled in Heaven.