READ: Leviticus 10:1-7
Finally, an actual story 🙂 Not a very positive one at that though! I would suggest that amongst the words of this story is the key verse of Leviticus. Verse 3, “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.” Leviticus is all about the people knowing how they are to live in the presence of God; God is holy and so they must live to God’s set standards of holiness. The laws and regulations was an attempt to keep the people holy before God and always focused on Him and His character.
This story is an example of two priests that failed miserably in regarding the holiness of God and approaching Him correctly. These two sons of Aaron offered something that God had not told them to do; they tried to incorporate their own practice into God’s system. It is very possible that their ‘profane fire’ (also translated as ‘alien/foreign fire’) was a remnant of the Hebrew’s stay in the Egyptian culture.
Because of their disrespect, God struck them dead (with fire nonetheless). Notice that the priests that had to dispose of the bodies were careful not to touch the dead men but to ‘carry them by their garments’ otherwise they would have become unclean (as we shall soon read in Leviticus).
I think this story is an important reminder to respect the holiness of God. We, praise God, have been granted an eternal holy standing before God through Jesus Christ. But if you take Jesus’ work from our lives (if that were some how possible) then where would we be left before that still same holy God?!? And so, as wonderful as Jesus’ once for all sacrifice is and what has been accomplished for us through that gift, we must be humbly reminded that on our own steam we have the same fate as Nadab and Abihu when we stand before God as unholy creatures.
It is an important reminder that amongst all our praises and fellowship with God we must be humble to remember our place but for the Messiah.