“Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is what the LORD meant when He said, ‘I will display my holiness through those who come near me. I will display my glory before all the people.’ And Aaron was silent.”Leviticus 10:3
The Bible tells the story of two brothers who became infamous for being foolhardy ministers. Leviticus 10 records the bizarre account of Nadab and Abihu, nephews of Moses and the sons of the high priest, Aaron.
The assistant priesthood of Nadab and Abihu was barely off the ground when it blew up. Because they presumptuously mishandled the sacrifices at the Tabernacle, they were consumed by fire and went up in smoke as offenders of God’s holiness.
What was the problem? Was their sin one of ignorance, or was it pride?
Wiersbe explains that “everything that Nadab and Abihu did was wrong.” They had stepped way outside of their role and presumed to do what God had not called them to do. To boot, they did it incorrectly.
But what is our takeaway from the explosion at the Tabernacle that day? Since we’re not involved in the sacrifice of animals any longer like the Old Testament priests (thanks to Jesus), what is the application for those of us serving the Lord’s church today?
For starters, Nadab and Abihu remind us to stay faithful to the Word of God. Where Scripture does not give us latitude, we should be careful to follow it precisely. Details matter. We’re doing ministry in an increasingly pushy world and if we’re not careful we will allow it to push us across clearly marked lines. To quote Wiersbe again, “The privileges of ministry bring with them serious responsibilities.”
Not sure who said it first, but it bears repeating that “When God says ‘Don’t,’ what He means is, ‘Don’t hurt yourself.'” The holy God that dealt severely with Nadab and Abihu remains as holy now as He was then. Those of us serving Him by serving His people should proceed accordingly.
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.