Undermining Authority


Today’s Devotion: Leviticus 10

I grew up on a farm in Northern Wisconsin. One of the strict rules of the house was that fire (matches, lighters, cigarettes, etc.) was forbidden near, around, by or in the barn. Hay is highly flammable and will ignite spontaneously. I don’t know if you ever had the opportunity to witness a barn fire, but it is as bad as having a gas tank on fire – it is impossible to put out and the collateral damage is too massive to imagine.

Leviticus 10 reminds me of a time when my brother and his friend, Scott, took some of my grandpa’s cigarettes and went out behind the barn for a little “experimentation.” My friend, Kelly – Scott’s sister, and I caught them, grabbed the cigarettes and ran to the house to tell our parents. Those boys got in big, big trouble. Not only for smoking cigarettes, but for smoking cigarettes by the barn. The unthinkable no-no in that day.

Right out of the gate in chapter 10 verse 1 Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command.

You just have to know this is going to end badly.

Verse  2, “So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.”

Not only did these boys break the rules, but they mocked God. For the entire book of Exodus and the first 10 chapters of Leviticus we have read about every facet about the tabernacle, etiquette, order of things, symbolism, formality, significance, and expectations; I had to ask, “What were they thinking?”

It’s the same question my Dad asked my brother that day. Regardless of their answer, their was eminent punishment. This is too serious a crime, far too disobedient to go off without a cost. In Leviticus chapter 10, that cost was their lives.

There is tremendous truth for us to draw from this incident. These men came to God on their own. They were willful and this was blasphemy. God judged them. Furthermore, there is a wonderful lesson for you and for me. When we come to God, we must come on His terms. This is not an arrangement which we can make. We are not making the rules. God is the One who deserves to be honored; not only is He our creator, but our savior. Acting out to test God or sin deliberately is not wise for us to do. I think Nadab and Abihu gave us a very clear picture and learned a hard lesson NOT to undermine God.


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