Tuesday, April 07, 2015


Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.  So fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.  (Leviticus 10:1-2)

The more you know of God, the more for which you are accountable.  The greater the responsibility we have with men, the stricter is God’s scrutiny with us.  James warned that men must be very careful about desiring to stand and speak for God because their judgment will be to a greater degree than that of others (James 3:1).  When a two year old child plays in their food and throws it across the room, a parent sees that as behavior to correct, but would not punish a child like they would if it were a twelve year old doing it.  The older child knows more, and is more accountable.  Those who minister the Word of God are students of Scripture and “to whom much is given, from him much will be required.”  (Luke 12:48)  If a private in the army makes a poor decision, then he will be held accountable, but not to the same degree that a captain would, whose bad decision may lead to the death of many or turn the tide in a decisive moment from victory to defeat.  Every Christian has some measure of influence.  Should we be defiled by sin, then we will harm ourselves—and some others.  It is a serious.  The severity of judgment, however, is greater for the pastor and church leader, for their influence is wider.  If I stumble—not just a few—many will stumble over me because I am leading.

This is why God dealt so quickly and severely with Nadab and Abihu.  They were priests, and given the responsibility to represent God to the people and bring the people to God.  They had privileges others could not enjoy—of touching the holy things and entering the holy place of the tabernacle.  How they lived their lives and performed their duty would be a direct reflection on the God they served.  They took a sacred duty and kindled a strange fire.  We might sum their sin up as the sin of presumption.  They took upon themselves a duty reserved for their father, Aaron, the high priest.  They used their own censers, instead of the ones consecrated for this purpose.  They acted on their own authority instead of obeying the Word of God.  There is no record they sought God’s will before they acted, but rather acted out of self-will.  It is also possible they were under the influence of alcohol instead of the Spirit (Eph.5:18), since there is a specific prohibition for priests concerning abstinence from alcohol given in verses 8-11.  There are many in church life today trying to do God’s work with carnal means.  They presume to accomplish sacred duties with worldly methodologies—and what it invites is the judgment of God.  It is defilement that brings death.

Our lives as Christians will either be a stepping-stone to help people to God, or a stumbling block to hinder them from God.  Jesus said it would be better to have a heavy millstone tied around our neck, be thrown into the sea, and drown, than to cause others to stumble.  When a pastor or church leader falls, they defile the holy name of God (Lev.10:3) and harm the holy people of God.  May the Lord guard us from defilement!

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