A. The Old Testament is of great value to the Christian
1. Romans 15:4
2. 1 Corinthians 10:11
B. This includes even the book of Leviticus
1. A dry book too many, but of value to all… It is a book about the holiness of God
2. Its name is derived from Levi – the priestly tribe
3. It is primarily a handbook for priests under the Law of Moses
4. Reading it helps the Christian to better understand the book of Hebrews
C. Though primarily a book outlining priestly rituals, it does record an incident involving two sons of Aaron: Nadab and Abihu
1. What happened to them can provide valuable lessons
2. What did happen and what we can learn from it will serve as the basis for this study
A. INCIDENT INVOLVING NADAB & ABIHU
1. The circumstances leading up to their actions
a. The consecration of Aaron and his sons as priests had just been completed (Lev 8-9)
b. In Leviticus 9:22-24, the glory of the Lord appeared when Aaron blessed the people
1) Fire came out from before the Lord
2) The fire consumed the fat on the altar
3) The people shouted and fell on their face
2. The profane fire offered by Nadab and Abihu
a. They offered a fire not commanded by the Lord Leviticus 10:1
1) It is called a “strange” fire or “unauthorized” fire
2) It is important to note that it was something the Lord had not commanded!
b. Fire went out from the Lord and devoured them Leviticus 10:2
1) Compare the fire of Leviticus 9:24 with that of Leviticus 10:2
a) The one indicated God’s acceptance; the other – God’s rejection
b) The one indicated God’s blessing; the other – God’s curse
2) Why was God displeased? – They offered that which had not been authorized (v. 1)
3. Moses’ explanation for what happened
a. Those who approach God must “sanctify” Him, i.e. regard Him as “holy”
1) “Sanctified or holy” means “to set apart, consecrated” i.e., to treat as special
2) Evidently the actions of Nadab and Abihu did not respect God
b. God must be “glorified” before all Leviticus 10:3b
1) This word means “to honor”
2) The actions of Nadab and Abihu therefore did not honor God
4. Moses’ further instructions
a. Nadab & Abihu’s bodies to be removed outside the camp
b. Aaron and his surviving sons were not to grieve while still consecrated for service Leviticus 10:6-7
c. It must have been very difficult for Aaron to lose his two sons in this way, on an occasion that should have been a time of great rejoicing for him.
d. Since these things were written for our admonition (1 Cor. 10:11), what lessons might there be for us?
B. LESSONS TO BE GLEANED
1. Regarding the Worship of God
a. When we approach God in worship, we must do only what He has
1) This was the mistake made by Nadab and Abihu
2) When we offer something God has not commanded:
a) We do not regard Him as holy (Lev. 10:3)
b) We do not truly glorify Him (Lev 10:3)
b. If God is holy and truly worthy of glory…
1) How can man know what God desires as acceptable worship?
2) Can man read the mind of God?
3) Indeed, man cannot know without Divine revelation how God ought to be worshipped and glorified
a) Isaiah 55:8-9
b) 1 Corinthians 2:11-13
c. This is one reason why mechanical instruments in worship is not authorized
1) In the New Testament, only singing is specified (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16)
a) To offer praise with mechanical instruments would be something God has not commanded, and would be presumptuous on our part
b) To do so would be trying to second-guess God – If God wanted such, He would have told us.
c) God must be sanctified – He must be glorified
2) Since He didn’t authorize the of mechanical instruments, we respect Him by
offering only what He commands
3) This is known as the Law of Exclusion…
2. Regarding the Priority of God …
a. Service to the Lord comes before service to the family
1) This we learn when Aaron was not allowed to grieve for his sons
a) It was necessary for others to take the bodies out of the camp (Lev. 10:4-5)
b) Aaron had been consecrated, and service to the Lord came first (Lev. 10:6-7)
2) Jesus made a similar point on several occasions:
a) Luke 9:59-62
b) Luke 14:25-33
c) Matthew 10:34-37
b. When a conflict arises between service to the Lord and commitment to the family, Christ must come first!
1) E.g., obeying the gospel despite the objection of family members
2) E.g., putting the assemblies of the Lord’s church first when company
a) This does not require that we be rude to our guests
b) Have them make themselves at home until you return, if they are not willing to go with you
c. This is what it means to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Mt. 6:33)
A. It is very easy for us to become complacent in our service to God
1. When this happens, it shows in our worship and service to the Lord
2. Rather, we must regard Him as Holy and glorify Him as He deserves by doing exactly as He commands
3. Thus, our worship is not to be one of convenience, but rather of conviction!
4. Our worship is not to be one of self-will – but obedience
B. We need to be reminded of incidents like that which happened to Nadab and Abihu…
1. To humble us in the presence of God
2. To remind us of the seriousness of serving God
C. Do we regard God as holy, and properly glorify Him in our service to Him?
1. Do we serve Him first?
2. Even above those closest to us?
D. May the example of Nadab and Abihu encourage us to do that which honors God!