”Nadab and Abihu were Aaron’s two oldest sons and heirs of the High Priestly office.
Tragically, they decided to offer a ‘fire’ of their own preference in the tabernacle worship. God, having specified the fire required, punished their disobedience by sending fire from heaven and killing them.
Lesson 1. Back in the day, the Nadab and Abihu incident (Leviticus 10), was the go-to passage to warn any would-be sinner that the wrath of God comes upon those who break his commands.
Lesson 2. Nadab and Abi-Who? Fast forward 40 years and this historical incident has been almost forgotten. I used to receive the look of disapproval when I suggested Christians didn’t know their Bibles. But now that we are living in an age where everything is someone else’s fault, that look has been replaced with one of blind indifference.
Lesson 3. A return to ‘Hell-fire and Brimstone’ preaching is inevitable, and to some degree it is needed. Too many Christians lack any concept of The God who is Holy. ‘Sin and Consequence’ preaching, although preached by my brothers, has sometimes been thin on ‘Hell and Punishment.’
Lesson 4. Wilful sin has been struck from the register. Nadab and Abihu knew that they were offering unauthorized fire and did it, anyway. A million sermons can be preached on grace, but any that even hints of accusing God of injustice for punishing their wilful sin are sacrilege.
Lesson 5. Some preachers give the impression that Jesus came to put a stop to the kind of uncontrolled wrath that God showed when killing Nadab and Abihu.
Lesson 6. Nadab and Abihu did not need to die. If they had just done what all of us are called to do, they would have lived on in peace. That which we are all called to do is this: “Be holy as your Heavenly Father is holy.”
Lesson 7. No true Christian prays the fate of Nadab and Abihu upon anyone. Instead, we take warning lest we fall into the same spirit of disinterest. Yes, it was there ‘I will do what I like’ attitude that brought them hard up against God’s wrath.Adjusting the mind of this generation to accept that with the goodness of God that accompanies obedience, also comes the severity of God that accompanies disobedience, will not be easy. But it is a challenge we must rise to.