This is one of the events in the Bible, like Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22), Uzzah and the ark of God (2 Samuel 6:5-7), and Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5), that cause me to stop and think.
This morning my mind went to all that had been done to prepare these two men for this day. Along with Aaron, their father, they had been set apart by God as priests to minister before Him. They had received the detailed instructions of proper worship and the unique garments with which to stand before God. They had seen the awesome display of God coming down on Mount Sinai in the form of fire (Exodus 19:18). Nadab and Abihu were part of the group of leaders that God called to worship Him on the mountain (Exodus 24:9-11). While on the mountain, they saw God and ate a meal before Him. They had just spent seven days in the tent of meeting being ordained for the work to which God had called them. The glory of the LORD had just appeared as fire and consumed their offering. Yet, they chose to do something other than what God had instructed. The same fire that consumed the offering consumed them.
The LORD's explanation of what happened to Nadab and Abihu was that those who would draw near to Him must do so in the manner He prescribes because He is holy and will be glorified.
In the NT, God makes it equally plain that those whom He calls to minister before Him are held to a higher standard. James 3:1 says not many should become teachers because they will be judged more strictly. Hebrews 13:17 says church leaders are to keep watch over the souls of the church, and they will give an account to God for the way they care for His people. Since all believers are a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5) who are to offer spiritual sacrifices (like Nadab and Abihu) acceptable to God through Jesus Christ, do we draw near to Him with proper awe of His holiness for the purpose of glorifying Him?
LORD God Almighty, You alone are worthy of our awe, respect, admiration, love and fear. You alone are Holy. Thank You, Jesus, for Your willingness to be the perfect sacrifice. Holy Spirit, as our Father’s children, teach us to worship Him as He is worthy. We desire our spiritual sacrifices be acceptable to Him. Also, please protect and guard those You have raised up as servants of the church.
1 Thessalonians 4:3
How often have you either said or heard the statement "I just wish I knew God's will for me in this situation"?
1 Thessalonians 4:3 in the NLT says, "God's will is for you to be holy". Isn't it great, God gives specific answers! He does not leave us wondering what He wants of us.
Abba Father, You alone are holy, yet You call us, Your children, to imitate You. We realize Your desire for us is to choose holiness. Holy Spirit for the decisions we make between options that are good, please reveal to us the one which would bring the most glory to our Holy Father.