Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Strange Fire

Nadab and Abihu were the sons of Aaron. From early youth they were witness to the inner workings of the priesthood, having their father as an example of what it was to be consecrated unto God. Granted Aaron had some growing pains along the way, he didn’t always make the right decisions, building a golden calf from the gold and jewelry of the Israelites while Moses was up on Mount Sinai springs to mind, but since God received him as a priest, it is self evident that he repented, and learned obedience in his older years.
Their uncle was none other than Moses the servant of God who led the people of Israel through the red sea as though they were walking on dry land; the selfsame Moses whose relationship with God was so intimate that God allowed him to see His glory, and glimpse His back as He passed by, for no man could see the face of God and live.
Nadab and Abihu were not lacking in godly examples, nor were they lacking in hearing the Word of God, yet they made the fatal error of bringing strange or profane fire before the Lord, and as consequence were devoured by the fire of God.
So what is strange fire, and how can we keep ourselves from offering it before the Lord? It is indisputable that bringing strange fire before God is punishable by death, because the God who changes not, demands that those who come near Him regard Him as holy, and that He be glorified before all the people.
Nowadays the fear of the Lord being what it is among professing Christians, certain men and women who have reached the heights of Christian fame, seem to have no qualms about replacing the fire of God with their own fire. If it is ignorance that is causing them to offer God strange fire, I hazard to submit that ignorance is not an adequate excuse.
Offering God one’s own fire, rather than insisting on His fire, amounts to nothing less than the sacrifice of Cain that was brought before God absent of obedience. There is this sense of going through the motions in today’s church, following some ceremony, or program, simply to placate God. Just as Cain of old, we do not bring our sacrifice of praise, our sacrifice of worship, our sacrifice of reverence before God out of a pure and undefiled heart, but we view these things as necessary burdens we must carry to get God to bless us.
Some consider the path too narrow, some consider the ways of God too intolerant, some consider the standard of God too rigid, and so they take it upon themselves to replace the ways of God, with their own ideas and doctrines. Make no mistake, it is strange fire that many are offering before the Lord, and it was not at His command. They are wise in their own eyes, making straight paths crooked, and by so doing heap up for themselves the wrath and judgment of a righteous God.
Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
The second means by which the modern day sons of Aaron offer up strange fire, is by dismissing the commands of God. The Bible was given as a guide and a lamp unto our feet, not as a means by which we can find loopholes for less than total submission and surrender to God. Rather than search the Word for instruction and truth, there are men today whose entire purpose is to scour the Word of God in order to find justification for sin, to find an obscure passage a solitary verse that can then be butchered and twisted to mean something it clearly does not mean. We may think we can play games with God, but God is not mocked.
God’s instruction for us today is as clear and straightforward as it was for those who handled the censers of God in the olden days.
Leviticus 16:12-13, “Then he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, with his hands full of sweet incense beaten fine, and bring it inside the veil. And he shall put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the Testimony, lest he die.”
1 Peter 1:15-16, “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.”
So what led to the sons of Aaron offering strange fire before the Lord? I believe the holy things of God had become common and routine for Nadab and Abihu. They had witnessed their father bringing sacrifice to God so many times, that they no longer had a reverence for it. Experiencing the presence of God, bringing sacrifice to God’s temple had become a common thing for them. The entire ceremony had become something they got used to insofar as they came to believe that if they wore the priestly robes they would be spared judgment.
Wearing a suit on Sunday morning as one stands behind the pulpit does not make them right in the sight of God! I have seen, on occasion, men absent of reverence as they treat the word of God as just another book, as a prop that looks good in their hands as they look into the camera and ask you to make the biggest sacrifice you can like that widow with the pancake.
It is a dangerous thing to treat the work of God with indifference and disregard, to set aside the standard of God, and just go through the motions, or worse yet, play it by ear and hope it all works out in the end.
Be in constant awe of God. Make standing in His presence a precious experience. Be reverent and come before Him with a clean heart, and a humble spirit. We learn what not to do from the sons of Aaron, we learn how not to take the things of God and the word of God lightly, we learn that God is righteous and just, and does not play favorites.
Yes, Aaron had done allot for God, but this did not exempt his sons from being obedient, but rather required them to live up to the expectation that God set forth.
The Word tells us that fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. What I find worthy of mentioning, is that Aaron held his peace, accepting the righteous judgment of God even as his two sons were being carried by their tunics out of the camp.
Ezekiel 18:20, “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.


Anonymous said...

could alcohol have played a part in their brashness? we see a prohibition given in chapter 10 about abstaining from wine and fermented drink before approaching the tent of meeting. then the very next admonition is separating the holy from the profane, the clean from the unclean-in the very least, these are hard to understand with the way we are on the buddy system with God today. it makes me nervous how we handle the holy today in our song services and preaching. it appears that some reconciling is in order in how we worship God today.


Daniel Eggers said...

This is one of the main reasons the foundation of the Christian church is crumbling today. Thank you for the truth. -Daniel

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Pen vs Sword said...

Thank you I liked the way you spoke on this subject it helped clear some things up for my own foray into speaking about offering strange fire unto the Lord. I also have to admit that you stepped on my toes a little and pointed out some stuff I need to work on.

Mike Helms said...

Thank you for your excellent post. This is a subject that's barely talked about today. It seems that's there's very little that would be regarded as being "a mixture" or "strange fire" in the church today. I think that accounts also for the lack of power that has become common place. We don't make distinctions and tend to trust that what we offer to God is acceptable even if we've dreamed it up ourselves and it has no source in Him. Thanks for sharing this!

Tim Shey said...

Excellent post.

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