Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC

Leviticus 10:1-7
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 fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’” And Aaron held his peace. And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said to them, “Come near; carry your brothers away from the front of the sanctuary and out of the camp.” So they came near and carried them in their coats out of the camp, as Moses had said. And Moses said to Aaron and to Eleazar and Ithamar his sons, “Do not let the hair of your heads hang loose, and do not tear your clothes, lest you die, and wrath come upon all the congregation; but let your brothers, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning that the Lord has kindled. And do not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting, lest you die, for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you.” And they did according to the word of Moses.

A Baptist Church and a Methodist Church were on opposite sides of the same street in a quaint little town, pretty much next door to each other, only divided by a two lane road. One day the two preachers were seen holding signs on the side of the road. One preacher held a sign that said “THE END IS NEAR” and the other’s said “TURN BACK NOW”.

All of the sudden a man in a big truck drove by honking his horn and screaming “Bunch of Jesus Freaks” and screaming some other not very nice things. All of the sudden they heard tires screeching followed by a loud crash and then an explosion. One preacher looked at the other and said “Maybe we should of wrote BRIDGE OUT.” The moral of the story is don’t ignore the warning signs.

The Hebrew people under the leadership of Moses have just set up and consecrated the new tabernacle. Aaron’s sons have been ordained as priests with Aaron being the high priest, and they have been given specific instructions by God as to how to offer sacrifices, burn incense, and administrate the ministry of the tabernacle. However, Nadab and Abihu decide they want to do things their own way and make a name for themselves instead of simply obey God’s commands. Everything they did here was wrong. They were the wrong people to burn the incense, that was their dad’s job. They used the wrong censers and came in at the wrong time, it was only on the Day of Atonement that the high priest was to enter the holy of holies. They acted under the wrong authority, they didn’t consult Moses or their father, and they had the wrong fire  because it says the fire for the incense was to be started from coals taken off the brazen altar with tongs. They even had the wrong energy, verses 9-10 seem to suggest that they had been drinking alcohol before entering the very Presence of God, and they had the wrong motive which was their own selfish pride. Sadly, because they dealt rashly and flippantly with the things of God they lost their lives that day.

We serve a loving and gracious God. He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. We rest daily in His great compassion and mercy. Hebrews 4:16 tells us we can come to His throne of grace with confidence. However, that confidence better not be in myself. Scripture warns us many times not to deal with the holiness of God in a frivolous or irreverent manner. God’s commands are not suggestions, they are imperatives to be obeyed. Jesus is not my homeboy or the co-pilot of my life. He is Master and King, the Judge of all mankind and Lord of all creation. It is the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom.

It’s been said that we can either be a witness or a warning. Nadab and Abihu became God’s warning to the Hebrew people not to disrespect the Lord. Today, I invite you to fear the Lord. Heed the warning, don’t be the warning. Judgment is coming on this earth, and it will overwhelm those who have shown disdain for the law of God. But aren’t you glad that Jesus took that judgment for us on the cross?! On the cross of Calvary the wrath of God was satisfied, so as the old song says, let’s cling to the old rugged cross! Heed the warning, and submit to the one who took your place and loves you more than you can imagine!

Father God, you are holy, holy, holy. The angelic creatures around Your throne praise Your holiness continually night and day. I worship You today in reverence and awe. Lord, I long to obey Your commands knowing that you deserve and demand my obedience. Thank you for your mercy and grace with me as I seek to honor You. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Psalm 119:18
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.