Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.
Oh no! Not this—not now! So much progress has been made. We’ve just witnessed an incredible spiritual revival, culminating in the grand opening of God’s embassy on earth and the coronation of Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu. Why must this always happen? Why is this a recurring theme not just in the biblical narrative but in our own lives of faith? I lack the wisdom to understand it. The fact is Nadab and Abihu do not have to disregard the LORD here. There’s nothing inevitable about this trend of seeing God’s glory one moment and then betraying Him the very next, yet it still feels inevitable somehow. Like a story arch in our human drama that we can’t pull ourselves away from.
Think back to when Moses and Aaron first traveled to Egypt and delivered God’s promise to the enslaved Israelites. It resulted in a joyous celebration, as many who’d turned their backs on God for years rededicated their lives to Him. But the next scene opened with Pharaoh cruelly doubling their workload, abusing them when they couldn’t complete it, and that great revival devolved into a great revolt. Smiles turned to sobs then to snarls. Vocal cords vibrated with curses where songs had just come forth. Then there was that pivotal book signing when the congregation read the Ten Commandments and vowed to uphold them before the LORD. But, yet again, that great day was eclipsed by their outrageous and unspeakable blasphemies before the golden calf.
But friend, even if the story reads like this a thousand times, you can choose to say ‘no’ to unholy practice and ‘yes’ to God today. No matter how strongly that tide of temptation tries to pull you under, no matter how depressed or despondent you might feel, you can endure by the Savior’s strength. Don’t pick up that censer, that cellphone, that computer, that pill bottle, that six-pack, that TV remote, and run to the black smoke of unholy fire. Let the holy fire of God’s work in your heart blaze on instead!