Becoming like Nadab and Abihu

The story of Aaron’s sons, as told in Leviticus 10, should be a warning to us all to give to God what He wants rather than seeking to give Him what we want.

The Sin of Nadab and Abihu

If you are not familiar with this story, let me provide a brief synopsis: two of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, presented incense to God that He hadn’t requested … and, as a result, they were killed – burnt to death in a fire sent from the Lord. God then says to Moses … “all who serve me must respect my holiness” and Aaron, in response, remains silent.

There is more to the story – my synopsis above focuses on the first 3 verses – but needless to say this is pretty shocking. Shocking because of God’s response to something we are all guilty of at one time or another … worshipping God in our terms, not His.

We are all guilty of this. I certainly am. I don’t give what God wants and approach Him in my terms, not His.

But that then begs the question … “What does God want of His people?”

Here are some ideas. I believe God wants for us…

  • to love Him and to love our neighbours as ourselves. (Matthew 22:35-42)
  • to be merciful, and not sacrificial. (Hosea 6:6)
  • to love justice and mercy, not noisy worship music. (Amos 5:21-24)

I believe in whole-of-life worship. I believe every minute I am awake, I should live a life that pleases God. Not because I believe living this way will ’save me’ but because I see this as being an outpouring of all that God has poured into me. I take Romans 12:1-2 (The Message) as my inspiration and instruction for this:

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognise what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.”

The thing is, however, that I don’t always get this right. I make assumptions about what God wants. I seek for Him to bless what I want to do rather than seek out what He is already doing and join him with it. I look inwardly to my wants and desires rather then to what He wants and desires.

The minute we take our eyes off God we become like Nadab and Abihu, approaching God on our terms rather than His.

We need, more desperately than ever, to learn discernment. We need to learn how to listen and to see. To learn to hear the small whisper of God and to see Him at work in the here and now that surrounds us,

We need God-centred, God-pleasing worship. Worship that looks to Him first, rather than to ourselves or others. Worship that’s 24/7. We need lives that live lovingly for Him. Lives that focus on mercy and love justice. More than anything, I believe the Lord wants us to simply respect His holiness and give Him what He wants rather than what we want give Him.

As Digital Disciples, surely this is the least we can do for Him?


About headphonaught

Follower of Jesus. Husband. Father. Son. Photographer. Co-host of the Something Beautiful podcast. Advocate for independent music & awesomeness. Founder of the weareallghosts netlabel and the circumambient podcast.