1560.) Leviticus 10

"Strange Fire" by Michael Yosef Robinson, a California-based artist and poet, shows Nadab and Abihu offering the Lord "unauthorized fire."

“Strange Fire” by Michael Yosef Robinson, a California-based artist and poet, shows Nadab and Abihu offering the Lord “unauthorized fire.”

Leviticus 10   (NRSV)

Nadab and Abihu

Now Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, each took his censer, put fire in it, and laid incense on it; and they offered unholy fire before the Lord, such as he had not commanded them.

Nadab and Abihu had a legacy of great spiritual experiences. They saw first-hand:

  • All the miracles God did in bringing the nation out of Egypt.
  • The voice of God and saw the fire, lightning, smoke, and felt the thunder and the earthquake with the rest of the nation at Mount Sinai.
  • They went up with Moses, Aaron, and the seventy elders for a special meeting with God on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:1-2), where they saw the God of Israel . . . so they say God, and they ate and drank (Exodus 24:9-11).

This shows that even a legacy of great spiritual experiences can’t keep us right with God – only an abiding relationship grounded in the truth of God’s word can.

–David Guzik

2And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.

1 Samuel 15:22 (New International Version)

But Samuel replied:
“Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD ?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”


10. dog obedience cartoon

3Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord meant when he said,
‘Through those who are near me
I will show myself holy,
and before all the people
I will be glorified.’”

And Aaron was silent.

We can come to God just as we are, but we may not come to Him our own way. We must come the way He has provided, the way made in Jesus Christ.

–David Guzik

4Moses summoned Mishael and Elzaphan, sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said to them, “Come forward, and carry your kinsmen away from the front of the sanctuary to a place outside the camp.” 5They came forward and carried them by their tunics out of the camp, as Moses had ordered.

6And Moses said to Aaron and to his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not dishevel your hair, and do not tear your vestments, or you will die and wrath will strike all the congregation; but your kindred, the whole house of Israel, may mourn the burning that the Lord has sent. 7You shall not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting, or you will die; for the anointing oil of the Lord is on you.” And they did as Moses had ordered.

This perhaps was the hardest day of Aaron’s life. Two of his sons were dead before him, and he could not mourn them. To mourn might have implied,  even in the slightest way, that God was wrong in bringing this fire upon Nadab and Abihu, and Aaron or Moses could not communicate this.

10. flame clip

Hebrews 12:28-29 (English Standard Version)

Let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.

8And the Lord spoke to Aaron: 9Drink no wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons, when you enter the tent of meeting, that you may not die; it is a statute forever throughout your generations.

Unfortunately, this rule about strong drink and duty in the temple was later broken–

10. BeerInABag

Isaiah 28:7 (New American Standard Bible)

And these also reel with wine and stagger from strong drink:
The priest and the prophet reel with strong drink,
They are confused by wine, they stagger from strong drink;
They reel while having visions,
They totter when rendering judgment.

10You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean; 11and you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes that the Lord has spoken to them through Moses.

The Lord Himself tells Aaron and the priests to do two things:

1) to distinguish between the clean and the unclean (in order to better reflect the holiness of God);
2) to teach the people of Israel the Lord’s decrees (in order to share God’s truth, which was not to be a secret held only by a few persons with privileged access).

These two instructions may be helpful to keep in mind as we continue reading the book of Leviticus.

12Moses spoke to Aaron and to his remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar: Take the grain offering that is left from the Lord’s offerings by fire, and eat it unleavened beside the altar, for it is most holy; 13you shall eat it in a holy place, because it is your due and your sons’ due, from the offerings by fire to the Lord; for so I am commanded. 14But the breast that is elevated and the thigh that is raised, you and your sons and daughters as well may eat in any clean place; for they have been assigned to you and your children from the sacrifices of the offerings of well-being of the people of Israel. 15The thigh that is raised and the breast that is elevated they shall bring, together with the offerings by fire of the fat, to raise for an elevation offering before the Lord; they are to be your due and that of your children forever, as the Lord has commanded.

16Then Moses made inquiry about the goat of the sin offering, and—it had already been burned!  He was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s remaining sons, and said, 17“Why did you not eat the sin offering in the sacred area? For it is most holy, and God has given it to you that you may remove the guilt of the congregation, to make atonement on their behalf before the Lord. 18Its blood was not brought into the inner part of the sanctuary. You should certainly have eaten it in the sanctuary, as I commanded.”

19And Aaron spoke to Moses, “See, today they offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord; and yet such things as these have befallen me! If I had eaten the sin offering today, would it have been agreeable to the Lord?” 20And when Moses heard that, he agreed.



How my heart aches for Aaron, for all who have had to bury a child or a grandchild.  And for all who suffer all manner of hurts.  May this song bring strength and comfort to us all.  HERE  is  “Yet I Will Praise You.”  Words and music by Andy Park, sung by Melissa Boraski.

I will praise You Lord my God
Even in my brokenness
I will praise You Lord
I will praise You Lord my God
Even in my desperation
I will praise You Lord

And I can’t understand
All that You allow
I just can’t see the reason
But my life is in Your hands
And though I cannot see You
I choose to trust You

Even when my heart is torn I will praise (trust) You Lord
Even when I feel deserted I will praise (trust) You Lord
Even in my darkest valley I will praise (trust) You Lord
And when my world is shattered and it seems all hope is gone
Yet I will praise You Lord

I will trust You Lord my God
Even in my loneliness
I will trust You Lord
I will trust You Lord my God
Even when I cannot hear You
I will trust You Lord

And I will not forget
That You hung on a cross
Lord You bled and died for me
And if I have to suffer
I know that You’ve been there
And I know that You’re here now


The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Robinson.  http://www.yosefdreams.com/images/gallery/jewish/eishzarah_lg.jp
dog obedience cartoon.    http://api.ning.com/files/YFEbRdbpUpGrIDKQlPt4vuuXN*zNYM4UT1q5IWfkm3Y-DaZSsELghigP1zrt9*HJJYJFbkFQakqOruviHOjaLWW-txwF9GhH/obedience.jpg
fire.   http://www.clker.com/cliparts/8/9/e/4/12170845631587244963flame.svg.hi.png
bottle in a bag.   http://estrip.org/elmwood/users/chico/images/0608/BeerInABag0611.jpg

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