Leviticus 10:1-3 – 10:1 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. 2 And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. 3 Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord has said, ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’ ” And Aaron held his peace.
I’ve spent a good deal of time lately at a couple of different events as a worship leader instead of simply a “preacher.” During that time, I have noticed a particular attitude among many of God’s people regarding worship. Many groups will disagree with one another as to what is proper in a service of worship. Some will argue that we should lift our hands while others think it inappropriate. Some think we should sing hymns while others want modern songs. Some think we should be formal while others want things to be loose.
It does not disturb me that there are disagreements between people as to what things in worship are most appropriate. At least these people, in many cases, care about what we do in order to honor our God. What disturbs me is the attitude that some people display in which they say something like, “Well, it doesn’t really matter what we do as long as it’s for God.” Such an attitude is very—and I mean very—dangerous.
In Leviticus 10, we see two of the sons of the high priest get an idea for a new kind of worship. They had just seen God demonstrate his power by sending fire down to consume the ordination offering. Nadab and Abihu really get into the excitement of the service, and they offer an offering to God which God did not authorize. What was the result? Fire came from the Lord and killed them both instantly.
Now, I’m not one of those guys that says that since the Bible did not mention guitars or electricity we ought not use either. However, I am one who understands that the service of worship is a very serious, very sacred thing. We dare not play it off-the-cuff and make things up as we go along. We dare not assume that any old thing we want to offer God is OK. God cares what is offered to him, because he is holy and demands that we see him as holy.
How does this all apply? I can’t really say for you. Perhaps God wants you to read this little section and simply learn to take his worship seriously. God’s holiness is deadly, and we ought handle worship with care. Perhaps God wants you to rethink some of the practices that you bring into worship, questioning whether or not such practices are things that God wants you to do. For sure, God wants you to look at worship and to realize that God deeply cares about both our hearts and our actions when we approach him in worship.