Leviticus 10

Leviticus 10 sheds a whole different light on obedience.  Aaron’s sons – Nadab and Abihu – who were priests in the temple along with Aaron did not do things God’s way.  “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”.  Don’t miss what happens here.  These two brothers who are priests decide to take things into their own hands and do things their own way.  Religious looking things – they were burning incense before the Lord.  Seems like a pretty good thing doesn’t it?

So what is the rub here?  To be honest the issue is that of obedience.  After Moses and Aaron – these two brothers were some of the most respected people in the tribe.  They served alongside their father continually.  They held a place of honor.  But looking at things more closely – here is what some of the commentary says.

  • there is reason to think that they were puffed up with pride
  • that they were heated with wine
  • they rushed into the tabernacle to burn incense, though not at the appointed time
  • they entered both together, instead of one alone
  • they used fire not taken from the altar

Bottom line is that they broke God’s rules.  They made the mistake of believing they were above or outside the rules and it cost them their lives.

Obedience is not about interpretation or choosing.  It is about doing exactly what God says when He says it.  These brothers began to take the liberty of how they would do their job as priests even though God had given very specific instruction on how that was to happen.  They made decisions to do it their way – not God’s way.  God is not looking for us to interpret His direction.  He doesn’t need us to consider whether we will do it His way or not.  The question is – will be obey which means doing it God’s way completely and immediately upon receiving His instruction.

Often the people of Israel show us a failure to obey.  We read the old testament and wonder how they can wander away like they do.  But if we look in the mirror we are guilty of exactly the same things.  We want to interpret God’s instruction, we want to consider and choose what and when to obey.  That does not humor God at all.  In fact, I’m convinced we are going to learn that the hard way in many cases.  God gives us His will as a roadmap for life – not to ponder and decide if we want to follow it or not – but so we can quickly obey and be blessed through that obedience.  The flip side will be some pain and agony when we make the choice not to do so.  It may not be instant death as these brothers experienced, but  isobedience will yield some bad results.  The far better option is to just trust and obey!

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Brad Kowerchuk on September 26, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    How does Leviticus 10:9 about not partaking in alcohol apply to those having teaching parts in the Christian congregation?


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