The Death of Nadab and Abihu
10 Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. 2 So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. 3 Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke of when he said:
“‘Among those who approach me
I will be proved holy;
in the sight of all the people
I will be honored.’”
Aaron remained silent.
4 Moses summoned Mishael and Elzaphan, sons of Aaron’s uncle Uzziel, and said to them, “Come here; carry your cousins outside the camp, away from the front of the sanctuary.” 5 So they came and carried them, still in their tunics, outside the camp, as Moses ordered.
6 Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not let your hair become unkempt[a] and do not tear your clothes, or you will die and the Lord will be angry with the whole community. But your relatives, all the Israelites, may mourn for those the Lord has destroyed by fire. 7 Do not leave the entrance to the tent of meeting or you will die, because the Lord’s anointing oil is on you.” So they did as Moses said.
8 Then the Lord said to Aaron, 9 “You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the tent of meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, 10 so that you can distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean, 11 and so you can teach the Israelites all the decrees the Lord has given them through Moses.”
12 Moses said to Aaron and his remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, “Take the grain offering left over from the food offerings prepared without yeast and presented to the Lord and eat it beside the altar, for it is most holy.13 Eat it in the sanctuary area, because it is your share and your sons’ share of the food offerings presented to the Lord; for so I have been commanded.14 But you and your sons and your daughters may eat the breast that was waved and the thigh that was presented. Eat them in a ceremonially clean place; they have been given to you and your children as your share of the Israelites’ fellowship offerings. 15 The thigh that was presented and the breast that was waved must be brought with the fat portions of the food offerings, to be waved before the Lord as a wave offering. This will be the perpetual share for you and your children, as the Lord has commanded.”
16 When Moses inquired about the goat of the sin offering[b] and found that it had been burned up, he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s remaining sons, and asked, 17 “Why didn’t you eat the sin offering in the sanctuary area? It is most holy; it was given to you to take away the guilt of the community by making atonement for them before the Lord. 18 Since its blood was not taken into the Holy Place, you should have eaten the goat in the sanctuary area, as I commanded.”
19 Aaron replied to Moses, “Today they sacrificed their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord, but such things as this have happened to me. Would the Lord have been pleased if I had eaten the sin offering today?” 20 When Moses heard this, he was satisfied.
Aaron and his sons received a hard lesson from God. Brothers Doug and Mike said this morning, “ God means business when it comes to his business.” And “instructions are most important when coming from the Lord”. So true. Nick asked us this morning what are you serving up to God? Your best? Are you using your fine China or just throwing some paper plates down on the table. Are you following the rules or are you taking shortcuts?
Nadab and Abihu sought to connect to God with paper plates. Big mistake. Even though they experienced spiritual greatness it didn’t keep them right with God. They didn’t listen and decided to take shortcuts and messed up. God’s instructions were specific because he didn’t want them to not understand what he wanted, yet they offered up a fire of their own making instead of using the fire that God gave them. Literally a deadly mistake.
We need to remember Satan can deceive with fire. In Rev. 13:13 he will make fire come from heaven for all to see, to deceive the undiscerning. These two guys basically brought a zippo lighter instead of using God‘s fire that he provided. Also it says it was done before the Lord suggesting they may have entered the Holy of Holies behind the veil where the ark of the covenant was, which they were not permitted to do.
God demands to be regarded as Holy. We can come to God just as we are but not any old way we please. The way he provided is the way made by Jesus Christ. We must honor him in a way that is fitting for a Holy God.
This was not a great day for Aaron. He sees his two sons disobey God‘s commands, struck down because of their disobedience and now he is commanded not to mourn them. Why? Because mourning meant that God was wrong by punishing them. He speaks to Aaron for the first time that day:
“You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the tent of meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, so that you can distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean, and so you can teach the Israelites all the decrees the Lord has given them through Moses.””
Leviticus 10:9-11 NIV
His two sons sought to connect to God in their own way. When God said to Aaron ‘no alcohol in my house’ it suggests his sons had a little too much to drink when they brought that zippo lighter to light the fire. Nick said this morning, “We have to remember that God‘s grace is a gift not an obligation. Disobedience is sin. We can’t make God an option.”
We have to get right with God before we come to Him that’s the importance we see in communion as well. God must be regarded as holy and before all of the people He must be glorified. Repentance, coming to him with our best… as clean as fine China. Thanking him for being holy. Thanking him for sending his son Jesus Christ and understanding his holiness and glory.