“Strange Fire”

[photo from Flickr]

This past summer at my church Marshall Eizenga and I preached through a series called The Bible’s Biggest Losers and a couple of the people I preached about were Nadab and Abihu (kind of sounds like names Disney writers would come up with doesn’t it?).   Now these names might be a bit unfamiliar to you.  Probably because there isn’t a whole lot said about them in the Bible.  Nadab and Abihu were sons of Aaron, the brother of Moses, and the first man to be called High Priest of Israel.  What’s interesting about their story is that they were literally burned alive by fire coming out from the presence of the Lord. Well, interesting in a kind of macabre kind of way.  What did these two brothers do to deserve this?

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. (Leviticus 10:1 NIV)

Where the NIV translators used the word “unauthorized”  to describe the fire, the KJV Bible calls it “strange” fire (hence the title of the  message).  What was so strange about their fire?  In  the message I gave three reasons:

  1. Wrong Timing
  2. Wrong Authority
  3. Wrong Motive

Feel free to go and read/listen to the message I delivered – I’m not going to go into detail here.  But what I wanted to draw attention to is some quick points I concluded with that kind of bring this whole episode home.   What do you think of these observations?  Is there anything else you would add to the list?

  • Salvation without the cross of Christ is strange fire.
  • Attendance without worship is strange fire
  • Service without the Spirit is strange fire
  • Testimony without personal experience is strange fire
  • Teaching without study is strange fire
  • Prayer without practice is strange fire

Oh, and by the way, you no what the saddest thing is about Nadab and Abihu?  They were among the few who actually saw God and ate and drank in His very presence (if you haven’t already, read Exodus 24:9-11).  At the time they were among the privileged few to come before the King of Kings, the creator of the Universe and soak in the majesty of His presence.  An incredible honor!  But then it seems they took God’s sovereignty for granted and forgot who they were and who He is.  Sometimes, I’m afraid, we do the same.

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