In Leviticus Chapter 9, Moses and Aaron gather specific offerings to bring before the Lord. The entire community of Israel came forward and stood before the Lord as Moses requested.
“Moses said, “This is what Adonai commanded that you shall do, so that the glory of Adonai may appear to you.”
Moses and Aaron blessed the people and offered a sacrifice. Then, FIRE fell from heaven and consumed the sacrifice! God revealed His glory to all the people, they shouted for joy, and fell on their faces before the Lord!
It would have been nice if we could just end the story there. However, the rest of this Torah portion serves as a warning, that humanity often has the tendency to take matters into our own hands instead of following God’s instructions.
In last week’s message (Fire on the Altar: Burning With Passion for God) God gave the Kohanim [Priests] specific instructions on how to oversee the altar and burnt-offerings. God also gave the Kohanim specific instructions on how to keep the perpetual flame burning continuously. However, this week, God warns the Kohanim of offering “strange fire.”
“Now Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu each took his own censer, put fire in it, laid incense over it, and offered unauthorized fire before Adonai—which He had not commanded them. So fire came out from the presence of Adonai and consumed them. So they died before Adonai.”
The Sacrifice of Praise
Beloveds, I can tell you a lot about fire. I have been a Spirit-filled believer for nearly 30-years. I received Yeshua in a fiery Pentecostal church where God gave me a strong foundation. When it comes to fire, passion, and zeal, I am as fiery as they come.
Over the years, I have seen the PRESENCE of God move in ways that left worshipers wrecked under the POWER of God. Likewise, I have also seen spiritual leaders disrupt God’s move and bring disorder, chaos, and even destruction because they offered strange fire instead of pure worship.
In our scripture reading, God revealed His GLORY to the entire community! The FIRE of God fell from heaven and consumed the sacrifice! The people REJOICED and they all fell on their faces before the Lord!
Now, I have experienced some fiery revival services, but I doubt if any of us can say that we have ever experienced God’s presence in a manner that is described in Leviticus Chapter 9.
In our scripture reading, God’s intentions to visit His people were very straight forward. Even God’s instructions to Aaron and the Kohanim were very simple. Basically, God said, to the Kohanim, if you bring the sacrifice, I will bring the FIRE to consume the sacrifice!
I wonder what Nadab and Abihu were thinking when they chose to bring their own incense and their own fire to attempt to consume the sacrifice themselves. BIG MISTAKE!
Beloveds, we also make this mistake when we forsake God’s instructions and follow strange practices with an attempt to engage spiritually outside of God’s limits.
Nadab and Abihu perished because they didn’t adhere to the Lord’s precepts in bringing the proper sacrifice before the presence of our holy God.
Likewise, today Yeshua, is the ultimate sacrifice. Yeshua is the Lamb of God who redeems us from sin and eternal destruction. Yeshua is the ONLY WAY to salvation. Today, there are many like Nadab and Abihu who attempt to find their own spiritual path outside of God’s protection. The Bible clearly tells us that this line of thought only leads to destruction.
“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved!”
In this week’s scripture reading, God delighted in revealing His GLORY to His people. Likewise, today, God delights in revealing His GLORY to us.
Beloveds, the instructions for entering God’s presence is simple; embrace Yeshua our ultimate sacrifice!
“Through Yeshua then, let us continually offer up to God a SACRIFICE OF PRAISE —the fruit of lips giving thanks to His name.”