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. So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord . – Lev. 10:1-2 NIV
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The Almighty God had called Moses up to the mountain and given instructions on the spiritual steps that the Israelites had to take after each act of transgression in order to reconcile them back to Himself. Different sacrifices were prescribed to avert the consequences of different acts of transgressions but more importantly was the fact that all these sacrifices were to be received on His behalf by Aaron and his children and no other. In the light of this special role that they were to play, He had instructed Moses to ordain Aaron and his four sons, namely Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, by taking them through a process that separated them from the people in terms of every detail including the clothes they were to wear and the special position that they were to be placed in and be regarded by the people. All these instructions were fully complied with by Moses as recorded in the entire chapter eight of the book of Leviticus and the very next chapter informed of the resumption of Aaron and his four sons in their office as Priests of the Most High Lev. 8:1-9:24.
For reasons not revealed in the scriptures, Nadab who was the first son of Aaron and Abihu chose to offer incense before the Lord which the Bible says was not authorized by Him and was contrary to his command. For this their action that seemed like a clear disregard and disrespect for the Lord, fire was reported to have come out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them and they died at the same spot. No explanation was given as to why this sad event happened to these young, freshly ordained and obviously ignorant priests but some hint can be obtained from the comment of Moses to Aaron concerning the event. He immediately reminded Aaron of the statement of the Lord that;
- He will always present Himself as Holy amongst those who approach Him – Lev. 10:3.
- He desires to be honored at all times in the sight of the people – Exo. 20:7.
It can then be safely assumed that the Lord considered the actions of Nadab and Abihu as desecration of His personality and dishonoring of his person before the people.
Hmmmm. Very thought provoking and eye-opening as one would have thought that all they did was just to offer sacrifices before the Almighty God to His glory although He did not authorize it. It may be good to project on why they would have gone ahead to offer such sacrifices.
Firstly, it must be made clear that although the Priests were to offer sacrifices to the Lord, the materials for the sacrifice was to be brought by the people and where edibles are involved, some of those sacrificial materials were exclusively the portion of the Priests and they it was that consumed it – Lev. 1:1-7:38. They would have had to tell the people that the Lord it was that called for the materials for that sacrifice whereas in truth, the Lord was not aware. Secondly, the people bringing the sacrifices would also have believed that they were complying with an instruction from the Lord whereas they were only victims of the possible greed and deception of the Priests and thirdly is the fact that the people will be expecting a reward for sacrifices made, especially if it was done in relation to specific requests which will not be granted since the Lord, in truth, is not aware of the sacrifices. That will definitely project the Almighty God as dishonorable since the player their part and His part did was not done.
All the above points will not only present Him as a lying god but also capable of making the people lose faith in Him as there will be unfulfilled expectations, especially after sacrifices that were supposedly demanded have been made. All these will definitely bring the name of the Lord into disrepute as it will be associated with fraud and failure. No doubt, they actually deserve what they got from the Lord.
The thought that the name of the Lord can be used to defraud people is not only an act that the children of Aaron or the people in their time were involved in but is actually very much prevalent amongst Christian leaders in the society today. The name of the Lord is deceitfully associated with attempts to convince innocent worshippers of the involvement of the Almighty God in activities that he is unaware of, all in an attempt to achieve personal goals that may or may not be to the glory of God. Even where it is to the glory of God, the intention to glorify God will never be sufficient reason to deceive the people into believing that the Lord it was that demanded for it. Anyone who decides to bring offering must do so willing and happily as anything different will make the sacrifice unacceptable and that is even when the Lord asked for it – 2Cor. 9:6-7. Anything different from the Lord asking for it directly is nothing but fraud and the Almighty God will not want his name associated with such acts.
Many of such Christian leaders today may not be physically dead as a result of such fraudulent actions but it is not very difficult to identify the fact that, not only are they spiritually dead but even their ministry is dead. The one that chooses to lie in the name of the Lord should not expect to go unpunished in one way or the other and to think the punishment will be in the life after may be wrong thinking. Sooner than later their will be sufficient evidence to indicate the unhappiness of the Lord with such people and the Ministry they lead. That the Lord has granted anyone Grace to be His Minister is not a license for self enrichment at the expense of the reputation of the Lord, or drop His name fraudulently to achieve set objectives like many do today, as there will always be an unbearable consequence. If indeed, He called you as His Minister, then it is important to trust Him to do all He has directed in His own specified way or to provide for your need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus – Phil. 4:19. He will never call anyone to suffer and whatever he gives must be received with contentment – 1Tim. 6:6-8. Attempts to live a life different from what the one who Called has designed is one of the major reasons why Ministers will descend to the low point of lying in the name of the Lord, thus bringing His name into disrepute. Value your Call but more importantly value the one that called you and always protect His reputation. That is the only way that His Calling for your will not be the route to destruction but the source of eternal rewards. May the latter be our portion in Jesus name. Amen.