God Did WHAT?!

Nadab and AbihuDid you know that God killed Aaron’s sons? No? Well, as hard as it might seem to believe (because God is love), He really did. In Leviticus 9 and 10, we read that God shot out fire and consumed them. We often wonder why. What exactly is it that they did that made God so mad.

That’s the crux. We think God was angry with them. We also tend to think, if we are truly honest with ourselves, that God was too harsh, that the punishment didn’t fit the crime – if there even is one. After all, they were excited about serving God and rushed to keep the worship going. And God killed them for their enthusiasm?

If we are truly, truly honest with ourselves, we realize that we want to know exactly what sin they committed so we can avoid doing the same thing. Yet we miss the most important point – they did something that God did not tell them to do. They sinned. It is as simple as that.

A few weeks ago, a group of us were discussing this portion of scripture. We kept going around and around, trying to figure out what, exactly, they did wrong. After all, (as my rabbi pointed out), it was their first day on the job. Don’t all newbies make mistakes?

But we were missing the most important point – ‘they did something that God did not tell them to do.’ They sinned.

Sin is missing the mark of God’s perfect standard. The result of sin is death. Nowhere is this more clearly illustrated than in the story of Nadab and Abihu.

We’ve all heard that sin can’t stand in God’s presence, right? But do we really understand what that means?

Let’s try. Think of God as this incredibly bright light – a light so bright that nothing else is visible.

Now here comes a small spot of black – maybe a small, black dot like the one you find on a polka-dotted shirt. Here’s this small polka-dot floating toward this intensely bright light. As it moves closer, it simply disappears, consumed by the brilliant white light. It simply could not exist in the presence of this blinding light.

Did the light purposefully kill the little polka-dot? Or did the little polka-dot go someplace it ought not to
have gone?

Does it make sense now?

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2 Responses to God Did WHAT?!

  1. James April 15, 2016 at 1:47 pm #

    Fortunately, I don’t think the majority of us are at risk of being instantly incinerated by God when we sin. In the case of Aaron’s two sons, they were members of the newly inaugurated priesthood and represented the “interface” between Israel and God. When someone of that high a rank sins in so public a manner, the nature of the sin is so much more dangerous, since they are supposed to lead by example. By striking them down in so sudden and horrible a manner, God was illustrating to all of Israel the consequences of sin as well as sending a message to Aaron and his other sons of the awesome responsibility they have over Israel and to God.

    This is probably why in James 3:1, the apostle admonishes his readers against becoming teachers, because of the increased responsibilities and consequences involved.

    • Ro Pinto April 15, 2016 at 2:01 pm #

      I, for one, sure am glad that we are not in danger of being incinerated. Yet, consequences still exist, which many in the body of Messiah fail to realize.
      I agree that those in positions of leadership have a ‘higher calling’ to holiness, if you will.
      In our Torah study discussions, we kept going around and around about the ‘what’ they did, rather than focusing on the fact that whatever it was, it was sin. And sin just can’t stand in God’s presence. Very important that we remember that, especially in this day of ‘grace gospel’. I have far too many friends that continue to walk in ways they shouldn’t, forgetting Rav Shaul’s warning that we shouldn’t continue to sin so that grace may abound.
      I also hope that people realize God is not vengefully angry, but that sin really cannot exist in his presence.

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