“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 NKJV
“Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying: “Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean, and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them by the hand of Moses.””
Leviticus 10:8-11 NKJV
The Holy and the unholy
Once again, I rejoice in the types and shadows of the Old Testament, as they offer guidance to the New Testament follower of Jesus. In this morning’s readings, I am reacquainted with Nadab and Abihu, the oldest sons of Aaron, who followed their other into the priesthood.
They went before the Lord with strange fire, and were instantly killed. They had come into the presence of a most holy God, in an unholy fashion. Looking at this in a contemporary sense, I wonder what it would be like if such exacting standards were expected in the modern evangelical service.
I could imagine, cool, slick dressed, hip preachers in skinny jeans, going up in flames all over the world. I could also see the folks in the congregations, exploding in the pews, as we all have been made priests of God.
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”
I Peter 2:9-10 NKJV
Because we are His priests, we are called to distinguish between the holy and the unholy, to rightly divide the word of God and go about our ministrations with all diligence, representing the holiness of Jesus, the one who died for our sins, to save our souls.
Because of Jesus, our great High Priest, who went to the cross to pain for our sin debt Himself, we do not have to fear approaching the throne room of God. When the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross, His body, the symbolic representation of the veil in the temple, was rent, just as the actual veil was rent. God Himself did the renting, from top to bottom, thus giving us access to Himself.
Though we do not have the penalty one might have for bringing “strange fire”, we a desire by virtue of the urgings of the Holy Spirit, to bring only what is holy. As followers of Jesus, having God in us, we desire to please God, doing all things in order according to the instructions given us in His Word.
We should all seek to live holy lives, not having compartments. I have a sense that Nadab and Abihu lived double lives, a personal and an ecclesiastical, and in the incident with the fire, the lines had become blurred. I learned long ago, that I cannot live life in compartments. I try to be the same in my home, as I am in church.
Trying to live a life of consistent holiness, allows me to be able to complete the mission that the Lord as given me, regardless of circumstance or season. There is nothing worse than the Lord presenting you a divine appointment with someone you just gave the finger to in traffic.
While we who believe, have no fear of being consumed by fire from the Lord, our testimonies are not so safe. We are meant to be ambassadors for Jesus, representatives, reflecting His holiness as ones, once wicked, now redeemed.
May we set our minds on the things of God, that our actions reflect His Holiness.
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
Colossians 3:1-4 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, as Christians, we are the closest thing to Jesus that the world will ever see. If we do not offer a clear delineation between what is holy and unholy, clean and unclean, worldly and godly, we cease to be effective witnesses to a world that is in dire need of the Gospel.
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