Brief Appearances – Big Lessons Pt. 3
5. Nadab And Abihu
You know how kids are, they love to play! I am not talking about just playing sports, though as a boy I loved to play football 🏈, basketball 🏀, baseball ⚾ with the kids in the neighborhood! Oh what fun we had, and admittedly it could become intense at times. We played hard and at times forgot it was just a game. But play we did until we dropped.
That was not all we played. When very young, we would play house. My nearest sister in age would be the mother, and I would be the father. We would sneak some of our parents clothes and shoes and look like clowns. What imaginations and what a blast. Neighborhood kids would be 👌our children so we could tell them what to do. Sound familiar? Kids will be kids!
But you know what? We never played CHURCH! I don’t recall ever doing that once! In fact, no one even suggested playing church! I guess it was because church ⛪ was out of bounds, too holy, too sacred to play around with it. It just never entered our minds, even though imaginations that young run wild!
Amazingly, at least from my humble perspective, there was a couple of fellas in the Bible who played church. It didn’t go well, not well at all! Quite the opposite, disastrously so, they didn’t live to see 👀 the next day. Their playing days we’re over, and with it their lives. Anybody want to play church ⛪? Much more on that in due time.
THE SUPREMELY GENEROUS GOD
Allow me to begin with a short but poignant story.
A mother took her little son shopping one day. They entered a shop together, and the shop owner was a very kindly and generous man 🚹. When he saw the mother with her little boy, he took a big jar full of suckers and invited the boy 👦 to reach into the jar and grab a handful of tasty suckers. Kinda Andy of Mayberry stuff. Ya gotta love it!
Wow, what an offer! But for some reason, the youngster hesitated and withdrew his hand. So the shop owner put His hand into the jar, and pulled out a fist 👊 full of the succulent suckers and gave them to the boy. He had hit the sucker jackpot. He was 😃smiling ear to ear!
After saying thanks to the most friendly shop owner he had ever met, they left the store. Once outside, the mother asked her son why he refused the offer to put his hand into the jar, and let the man put His hand into the jar instead. The little fella smartly replied,
“BECAUSE HIS HAND ✋ IS BIGGER THAN MINE AND CAN HOLD MORE SUCKERS.”
From the mouths of babes!
Well now, as one of God’s little sons, I have discovered this:
“THAT GOD’S HAND IS THE LARGEST AND MOST GENEROUS HAND ✋IN THE WORLD 🌎.”
Much bigger and much more generous than mine. Infinitely so! The comparison is so vastly different, it would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragically ignored if not denied.
It was obvious from the very beginning of time! When God created Adam and Eve, and gave them the Garden of Eden as their very first home, what happened then was most revealing about THE SUPREMELY GENEROUS GOD.
We read in Genesis 2:15,
“AND THE LORD GOD TOOK THE MAN 🚹 AND PUT HIM IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN TO DRESS IT AND KEEP IT.”
The name EDEN means DELIGHT, and it would be impossible for us to even begin to describe it or to imagine just how DELIGHTFUL it was in its state of perfection. Delightful in the sense that everything shined forth light in a hue of magnificent colors.
Eden was not only a fruit garden, it was a botanical garden beyond comprehension. The likes of it has never been seen again! The air was fragrant, and the landscape was plush. There wasn’t a weed or a thorn to be found, and nothing died but instead thrived.
Adam was the original GARDENER OF EDEN. He was put there by God Himself with a divinely given job description. Adam was Eden’s horticulturist. He was an expert beyond any garden keeper since. Excuse the pun, but ADAM WAS PLANTED THERE BY GOD HIMSELF.
Then we read in Genesis 2:16,
“AND THE LORD GOD COMMANDED THE MAN SAYING, ‘OF EVERY TREE 🌳 OF THE GARDEN THOU MAYEST FREELY EAT.'”
If you will,
“GO AHEAD, LOOK EVERYWHERE, EXTEND YOUR HANDS AND GRAB AS MANY FIST FULLS AS YOU DESIRE.”
God commanded Adam to eat big time! Chow down Adam my boy! He didn’t want His first man to miss out on any of the bounty! Every tree Adam looked at was his to enjoy! The entire Garden of Eden was an unending, overflowing, inexhaustible CORNUCOPIA of splendor! Wal Mart eat your heart out!
I can hear God say to Adam,
“ENJOY, I DID THIS ALL JUST FOR YOU!”
Then God said in Genesis 2:17,
“BUT OF THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL THOU SHALT NOT EAT OF IT, FOR IN THE DAY THAT THOU EATEST THEREOF THOU SHALT SURELY DIE.”
Typical God! He gave all of the trees of the Garden of Eden to Adam, and only kept one tree for Himself and His purpose alone. THE SUPREMELY GENEROUS AND UNSELFISH GOD! But what He designates as His own, He does so as possessively as He gives to us generously. Adam traded his for what was not his. It was a deadly decision. That’s what happens when you mess with that which belongs to God! Death!
Six days of the week God gives to us, and keeps one day exclusively for Himself! How incredibly generous! Now religious folks are robbing God of His day too. God is now fortunate to get 2 or 3 hours of His day anymore. The rest of His day He has to compete with recreation and the NFL.
That is why most churches today no longer worship God on Sunday evening. They are proclaiming that God was not generous enough!
90% of the weekly income He gives to us, and only keeps 10% for Himself! How generous is that? Now it’s a rarity if He sees 3%. People wine and dine themselves, and nickle and dime God.
In His Heavenly House, there are unlimited mansions for His children, and what is left is His. FOREVER! And I can hear Him say, “COME ON IN AND MAKE YOURSELVES AT HOME. WHAT IS MINE IS THINE.” I’ve heard of house guests, but this is rediculous! Hospitality beyond measure. Generosity unlimited!
And of course, He has only ONE BEGOTTEN SON, and that ONE AND ONLY He gave to die for us that we might live for and with Him forever. What wondrous love 💘 is this, oh my soul, oh my sou!?
ALL THINGS RICHLY TO ENJOY
The FISH 🐟 OF THE SEA, the BIRDS 🐦 OF THE AIR, the 🐅 BEASTS OF THE FIELD.
The 🌳TREES OF THE FORESTS, the 💐 FLOWERS ON THE PLAINS, the GRASSES OF THE VALLEY.
The MOON 🌙 IN THE HEAVENS, the 🌟 STARS IN THE SKY, the SUN 🌞 UP ABOVE.
All THINGS ABOVE THE EARTH 🌎, ALL THINGS ON THE EARTH 🌎, ALL THINGS UNDER THE EARTH 🌎.
Paul puts it best in I Timothy 6:17,
“Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the LIVING GOD WHO GIVES US RICHLY ALL THINGS TO ENJOY.”
John Bunyan once wrote:
“HE THAT IS DOWN NEED FEAR NO FALL, HE THAT IS LOW NO PRIDE, BUT HE THAT IS HUMBLE SHALL EVER HAVE GOD AS HIS GUIDE.”
We all know, or do we, how fickle riches can be. You can be a millionaire one moment and a pauper the next as easy as a baby 🚼 throwing a rattle out of the crib. UNCERTAIN is Paul’s way of expressing it. Only God is trustworthy, not Wall Street. The GREAT DEPRESSION made a GREAT IMPRESSION on how uncertain riches can be!
And of course, the danger is when you are monetarily out in front, you begin to see all others in the rearview mirror of life. That is, if you see them at all.
THE CONSECRATION OF THE PRIESTHOOD
I generally do not think of people like Moses and Aaron as family men! I knew that Moses was married to Zipporah, because her name had a lot of ZIP to it. They had two sons together, Gershom and Eleazer. That much I was vaguely aware of, but I still thought of Moses chiefly as the Prime Minister of Israel, not as a married or family man.
To be honest, for a long time I didn’t realize that Aaron the High Priest was married either. We pigeon hole people by their job description, and see 👀 them through a far too narrow scope.
Aaron’s wife was Elisheba, and they had 4 sons – Eleazer, Ithamar, Nadab, and Abihu. Their father was the first High Priest of God’s Old Testament Church – the Church of the Covenant.
The sons with their High Priest Dad were also consecrated as priests in training. The entire consecration service is elaborate, and it can be experienced in Leviticus 8. They assisted their father in his High Priestly duties in Leviticus 9.
Quite a family! Gives a whole new meaning to:
“ALL IN THE FAMILY.
Elisheba was the mother of the Priesthood. She was a prototype of Mary the mother of great and eternal High Priest Jesus Christ.
Of course Elisheba didn’t know that, but she has been historically regarded as the MOTHER OF THE PRIESTHOOD. It is our shortcoming that she is and has been lightly regarded if regarded at all. She was a wife and mother who no doubt loved 💘her husband and her sons who were Divinely charged with the entire sacrificial system of the worship of God.
Aaron, Moses’ older brother, was the prototype of Jesus Christ the eternal High Priest. Aaron carried out all of the sin offerings and trespass offerings that one ☝ day would all be fulfilled in and by Jesus Christ the one great and only sufficient sacrifice for our sins.
And Aaron ‘s sons in the day of their priestly consecration with their father laid their ✋✋hands on the bullock sin offering. These sons were the prototypes of the Under-Shepherd-Priests today who lay their hands on the symbols of the body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper.
This is not a hoi polloi family in the Bible, even though Elisheba and her boys make such brief appearences. In their very lives we have the womb of the entire Christian faith. It is all there, the OLD, OLD STORY! It is all there in LEVITICUS 8 and 9.
Yes I know, for many people reading Leviticus is like children having to eat spinach at supper. Most folks view reading in Leviticus like drilling down deep through solid granite.
The intricate and repetitious sacred High Priestly duties of the Tabernacle were known to Aaron’s 👦👦 sons. They had seen their father do them over and over again. Among them was keeping the perpetual flame burning on the Golden Altar of Incense in the Holy Place. It was like the eternal flame on President John Kennedy’s grave. Please don’t forget that! That flame and incense had to be freshened twice a day in some very exact ways by the High Priest.
Hear it, smell it, believe it:
“IT IS THE STORY OF OUR SALVATION, FRAGRANT WITH GRACE, LADEN WITH TRUTH.”
The sweet aroma of the burning incense sanctified the prayers of God’s people as they were lifted up to Heaven in the outer court . God is so holy, that even their prayers needed deodorizing on their way up to God.
We really have no concept of the HOLINESS OF GOD, until we meditate on the book of Leviticus. Until then, most people live on the holiness awareness level of CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE ETHICAL SOUL. You know, pray, read the Bible, go to church, don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t gamble, and don ‘t hang around with people who do. Holiness that is an inch deep and a half a block wide.
STRANGE FIRE 🔥
I wish that Leviticus 10 didn’t happen! But it did! I wish it wasn’t written. But it was. It is there as part of the historical record of the Bible.
The Bible tells it exactly like it is for our instruction. That is why the Holy Spirit’s reporting can be so disarming. THERE IS NO FAKE NEWS! Bible stories are not made up, they are factual news and literally part of redemption history.
Two of Aaron’s boys , NADAB AND ABIHU, decided to play church one day, totally unknown to their father. I don’t know why they did it. They had been doing so well.
Dad and mom must have been so proud of their boys. You never know what a day may bring, or what a son may do!
As the Lord had comnanded, the sons brought the BLOOD of the sin offering, the trespass offering , and the peace offering to Aaron who put the BLOOD upon the HORNS OF THE BRAZEN ALTAR AND ON THE
BASE OF THE ALTAR OF SACRIFICE. There was blood above and below, as the sacrifices were framed in blood.
Fire came forth from the Lord, and burned the animals and the prescribed innards of the sacrifices that Aaron had put on the BRAZEN ALTAR.
The Lord was pleased and the glory of the Lord appeared unto the people. The whole experience was so overwhelming that the entire congregation SHOUTED AND FELL ON THEIR FACES. (Leviticus 9)
Have you ever been struck by the volcanic eruption of 18,000 fans in a basketball 🏀 arena? You had to step out to use the restroom, and you no sooner make your out, and the crowd erupts in reaction to something thrilling. The sound is absolutely spine tingling, and you rush back in to see what happened. You forgot that you had to relieve yourself.
It was like that! This fire, sound, and fury was not Cecil B. DeMille in his film THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, but was ALMIGHTY GOD declaring that the sins of His people were covered, and the people were safe until the next sacrifices were made! They erupted and went down for the count.
The children of Israel naturally lived from hand to mouth, as God doled out food to them on a day-to-day basis. They were completely dependent on God for manna and quail and water every 24 hours. Otherwise their dinner plates and water jugs would have bean as barren as the wilderness through which they were passing.
The children of Israel spiritually were living from hand to soul, as they brought sacrifices to be offered for their sins on a again-and-again basis. Oh did they know the meaning of fresh grace as the fresh fire 🔥 from God consumed the sacrifices!
“THE PEOPLE KNEW THAT THEY WERE SAFE AND THEIR SINS ATONED FOR BECAUSE THE FIRE🔥 FROM HEAVEN CONSUMED THE SACRIFICES AND NOT THEM.”
They knew how to celebrate the wonder of Divine Grace? Do we? They knew that they were alive because a lamb 🐑 was dead! Do we?
But then something totally shocking happened that baffles the mind and shocks the entire human psyche. The following contents are meant for mature audiences, viewer discretion is advised.
We read in Leviticus 10:1-2,
“THEN NADAB AND ABIHU, THE SONS OF AARON, TOOK EACH OF THEM HIS CENSURE, AND PUT FIRE 🔥THEREIN, AND INCENSE THEREON, AND OFFERED STRANGE FIRE 🔥BEFORE THE LORD, WHICH HE HAD NOT COMMANDED THEM.”
“AND FIRE 🔥WENT FORTH FROM THE LORD, AND DEVOURED THEM, AND THEY DIED BEFORE THE LORD.”
WHAT!? What did we just 👀 see? WHAT!? You can’t be serious! WHAT!?
FIRST of all, what the two sons were doing in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle did not come from the Lord. They were winging it. They were out on a limb. They were on their own and messing around in the Holy Place of God’s House.
Huge issue! Their wings will collapse, and the branch will break! They we’re taking what belonged to God, and making it their own concoction. The perfect storm! The recipe for 😱 death. Surely they knew better! I guess not, for as sons and daughters too, I guess they thought they knew best!
God had not ordered this! End of story! God makes a very sharp point of this, that this was a violation 👎of God’s holy, ordained, prescribed order. Everything in the worship of the tabernacle was Divinely scripted for the High Priest. This was not part of the script. It was all flesh and no Spirit. The brothers were inventing their own religion! IT WAS NOT OF GOD!
SECOND, they offered STRANGE FIRE upon the Golden Altar of Incense. The Fire 🔥that was used to burn the incense had to come from the BRAZEN ALTAR OF SACRIFICE (Leviticus 16:12). The brothers used some other flamables to ignite the incense, and what went up was not HOLY SMOKE, but UNHOLY SMOKE! God calls it STRANGE FIRE.
Call it FALSE FIRE if you will. God smelled it, and the smell was noxious.
“TO SAY THAT WE MUST NOT TRIFLE WITH GOD IS IN ITSELF A TRIFLING STATEMENT.”
“TO SAY THAT GOD IS UTTERLY HOLY IS AN UTTER UNDERSTATEMENT.”
Instantly Nadab and Abihu were executed by God. No trial by jurors. No written warning. No jail time. No defrocking of their priestly training garments. No verbal chiding. No “I’m going to tell your dad.” No “you out to be ashamed of yourselves.” No “don’t let it happen again.”
Instead, fire came from the Lord and fried them both on the spot, and they died before the Lord. Just like that! They were convicted, condemned, and consumed in the Holy Court of God, with no sentencing to be issued later.
Their father Aaron when informed said nothing. He was quiet, and from him I take my cue!
STRANGE FIRE 🔥has strangely enough become all too common. It is everywhere these days, in churches, in schools, in government. What has become strange these days in America is the FIRE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
I am a CSPAN viewer of sorts. I am vexed each time I hear Chaplain Barry Black open the Senate with prayer. He reads his prayers, which is neither here nor there. It is eloquent oratory more than it is supplication, but that is not my vexation.
What grieves me is when he closes his prayers with the same words “IN THY GREAT NAME AMEN.” We are commanded by our Lord to pray in His name – THE NAME OF JESUS! Black refuses to pray to or in the name of Jesus, as STRANGE FIRE FILLS THE SENATE CHAMBER EACH AND EVERY DAY!
But then I must remind myself that this is not the Tabernacle. It is the secular Senate where prayer also must conform. That is the only reason Barry Black has not yet dropped dead before the Lord.
All the while, our government including the Senate becomes more and more godless, barbaric, and pornographic. Amen