Intro: The tabernacle has been completed, the congregation of Israel had gathered for the opening ceremonies. As Moses and Aaron came out of the tabernacle, fire from the Lord consumed the sacrifices upon the altar & the people seeing this fell upon their faces and worshipped God. It was at this point Nadab & Abihu offered their strange fire.
I. WHY WAS GOD SO SEVERE IN JUDGMENT?
A. God was forming a special nation.
1. Through this nation He intended to reach the world for God loved the world.
2. This nation to have a special relationship to Him.
3. The consciousness of this relationship was to be maintained by the priesthood.
4. It was important that the priest be holy instruments of God.
a. A corrupted priesthood would mean a corrupted nation.
b. A corrupted nation would mean a corrupted witness to the world.
II. WHAT WAS THE STRANGE FIRE?
A. Chapter 16 contains instructions for High Priest on the day of Atonement.
1. The beginning of the chanter He warns of carefulness referring to Nadab & Abihu.
2. He tells that Aaron is to take burning coals from off the altar before the Lord.
3. Where Nadab & Abihu got their fire we know not.
a. They were doing a right thing in a wrong way.
b. Here we see God's opinion of the age old philosophy, that the end justifies the means.
B. There is a strong indication in the story that Nadab & Abihu had been drinking prior to their error vs. 9.
1. God wants our minds to be clear when we serve Him and under no other influence but His.
2. He does not want false stimulation for service.
3. These men were acting under own initiative & not under control of God.
a. How wrong it is to serve God under false stimulation.
1. Offering fire of fleshly enthusiasm.
2. Some so-called ministers motivated by money.
C. An indication that they were seeking glory, vs. 3.
1. How important it is that God receives the glory from our service.
a. "Let your light so shine."
b. "That no flesh should glory in His sight."
III. HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO US TODAY?
A. We must be a true witness of God in the world.
1. In our methods.
a. If we think we can improve on God's methods.
2. We must never touch God's work under a false stimulant.
a. Or worse yet stimulate others with a false stimulant.
1. "For the love of Christ constrains me."
2. It must be the fire of His Spirit burning in me.
3. We must do all things for the glory of God.
a. "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross..."