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  • Shawn Gerbers

Leviticus 10:1-7 - Strange Fire

God takes worship seriously. Do you?

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Read Leviticus 10:1-7

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Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 96

Q. What is God’s will for us

in the second commandment?

A. That we in no way make

any image of God

nor worship him in any other way

than he has commanded

in his Word.



Just as God gives the Law to the people in the book of Leviticus, He also gives them directions on worship practices. He informs the priests as to what they are to wear. He outlines various festivals that the people are to celebrate. He tells them to make burnt, grain, fellowship, sin, and guilt offerings.

Not just anyone could make these offerings. Only the priests were to make these offerings on behalf of the people, and they are to be done in a very specific way - the way God had explicitly commanded.

Aaron (Moses’ brother) and his sons were ordained as priests for the people of Israel. They had begun to lead the people of Israel in worship. Unfortunately, rather quickly after being ordained as priests, Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu make a critical error: they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD - meaning they had taken their coals from a different source than what God had commanded.

As one commentator put it, Nadab and Abihu did not do something God had prohibited, they were punished because they had did not do exactly what God had commanded.

God burned up Nadab and Abihu for offering unauthorized fire before him. At first glance, this seems like an incredibly harsh punishment. Nadab and Abihu were worshiping God after all, so why does it matter if they used fire incorrectly?

It was not that they used it incorrectly, it is that they went against the command of the Lord. They were worshipping God in a way different from how He had commanded in His Word.

Dig Deeper

The Lord had given the people of Israel explicit instructions on worship practices. He had set the priests over them to lead them in worship. When God gave these commands to the people of Israel, He did so to shape them into His people. He had chosen them, and set them apart. As such, they were to live differently from those around them.

They were to worship the Lord alone, and they were to worship Him exactly as He had instructed them. Nadab and Abihu were careless as worship leaders, offering unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to His command. As such, they were leading the people falsely in worship; they were leading people to worship God in a way that was contrary to His commands.

Worship is about God. We worship God because He is holy, just, merciful, and so much more. When we worship the Lord, our worship practices must be based on His command, on how God wants to be worshiped. There is a general pattern that we follow to ensure we are worshiping God based on what we read in scripture: Approach, Word, Response.

The Approach to God is the first part of the worship service where we come before the Lord with singing, prayer, and scripture reading. We lift the name of the Lord, as we come before our holy God.

The Word is where we hear from God’s Word, the Bible. Not only is scripture read, but a sermon is given. This is the central part of our worship service because God is central to our lives. We want to hear from God, and be shaped by Him. The Lord’s Supper and baptism are a part of the Word portion of worship.

We end with the Response. We have heard from God, and now we are responding to the Lord as we sing a doxology and leave the worship service to go serve the Lord faithfully.

As the people of God, we do not add things to our worship hoping to please God, nor do we take things away to save on time. We worship God as He wants to be worshiped.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who is worthy of praise;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: May I worship you as you want to be worshiped, not doing what is pleasing in my sight, but is pleasing to yours;



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - 2 Corinthians 5


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