“Then Moses said to Aaron, “It is what the LORD spoke, saying, ‘By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, And before all the people I will be honored.'” So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.” -Leviticus 10:3
The question I want to explore today is why was the Lord so severe in how He dealt with Nadav and Avihu?
Couldn’t the Lord have extended a little grace given that it was the first time Nadav and Avihu were officiating as priests before the Tabernacle?
I’m pretty sure similar thoughts of confused bewilderment were stirring around inside the heads of Moses, Aaron, the elders of Israel, the tribal leaders and the common folk as they witnessed the horrific execution that took place before their eyes.
Why would the Lord kill Nadav and Avihu for what seemed to be a mere procedural violation?
The answer to this question is actually really simple, and it goes to the heart of who the Lord is, and who we as human beings are not.
The truth is Nadav and Avihu treaded on that one thing that Adonai can NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES allow to be treaded upon: HIS HOLINESS.
Speaking through Moses, the Lord made His point clear: “I will be treated as HOLY!“
YHVH cannot allow His Holiness to be violated, EVER!
The Lord will destroy the whole world and this universe to protect His Holiness, if that’s what He has to do.
In fact, I think in the Book of Revelations, we are told that is exactly what He is going to do.
And of course, I’ve already mentioned that the priests were held to a much higher standard than the common folk.
Think about it.
If YHVH’s ordained priests themselves showed disrespect and were careless in their worship, what kind of example would that be for the common worshippers inside the camp of Israel?
So this is that aspect of God that many folks would prefer to ignore.
This is also the part of God many well-intentioned clergy push aside because they only want people to see God’s mercy and loving-kindness.
This is the side of God the modern gentile church says doesn’t exist anymore.
They’ll say that it was an “Old Testament Dispensation” and argue that the God of the New Testament no longer exercises His divine wrath and judgement.
Somehow the God of Israel who never changes, …changed.
Ummm, I don’t think so.
Keep in mind that the events we encounter in Scripture represent only a tiny amount of what went on among the Israelites during their 14 centuries of history.
My point is we should take with utmost seriousness those events and situations that are recorded.
They are there for our learning.
There’s one final takeaway that I want you to notice before I close.
Recall in Leviticus chapter 9 where we’re told of the divine acceptance by which the Lord’s supernatural flames consumed the offerings on the altar.
My point is that when PROPER PROCEDURES ARE FOLLOWED, God’s fire is manifested as a miraculous sign showing His favor.
But when procedures are violated, that very same sign becomes a consuming fire of judgement.