Obedience Here, Obedience There

Obedience Here, Obedience There

When Moses ordained Aaron and his sons to be priests, the Israelite leader told the new priests to remain at the tabernacle’s entrance “day and night for seven days, performing what the LORD has charged” (Num 8:35). “Aaron and his sons did all the things that the LORD commanded by Moses” (Lev 8:36).

Aaron’s sons soon became rather disobedient. Shortly after they had performed God’s commandment by remaining at the tabernacle for a week, Nadab and Abihu got an idea to worship God in a novel way. Nadab and Abihu “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” (Lev 10:2-3). Nadab and Abihu likely came up with this “great” idea because they were intoxicated; it seems strange to think that God would immediately command Aaron and his sons not to drink strong drink before ministering before him if that weren’t the case (Lev 10:8-10).[1]

Nadab and Abihu had just come off an exhilarating high—being appointed to serve Yahweh as priests for the chosen people and spending a week in the divine presence. They then got drunk and thought it was a good idea to offer fire God didn’t want, and they quickly learned that human changes to God’s law have dire consequences. They were obedient one minute and disobedient the next.

Sound familiar? Don’t we today often find ourselves in Nadab and Abihu’s shoes? Don’t you often find yourself doing the right thing and then shortly thereafter doing the wrong thing? Don’t you sometimes find yourself on a spiritual high and then find yourself in the depths of sin? Satan never stops seeking a soul to devour, and, from my personal experience, Satan seems to work all the harder the closer we draw to God.

Just because we’re obedient one minute doesn’t mean we will be the next. Let’s not be like Nadab and Abihu and get comfortable with obedience. Instead, let’s keep on keeping on obeying the Lord as he has directed. And when as we draw closer to God, let’s even be more on guard that we do the right thing.

[1] Nadab and Abihu’s drunkenness could conceivably explain why God did not strike Eleazar and Ithamar dead when they didn’t offer their sacrifice appropriately on the same day (Lev 10:16-20). In other words, maybe perhaps God extended grace to Eleazar and Ithamar because they weren’t drunk like their two brothers.

This article was originally written by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., for the weekly newsletter at Church of Christ Deer Park in Deer Park, Texas.

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