THE DEATH OF NADAB AND ABIHU

"Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord." Leviticus 10:1-2.
                When I read again the account of the death of Nadab and Abihu in today’s One Year Bible reading I thought of two other sudden deaths by the hand of God in the New Testament: Ananias and Sapphira in the book of Acts (see 5:1-11 for the full account).
                What’s going on, we may wonder!? Why did these four people pay so suddenly for their sin?
                I also thought of Psalm 103:8, 10: "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love... He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities." Compassionate… abounding in love… not treating us as our sins deserve…
                But I also had to bring my thoughts around to Abraham’s question and challenge to God before the destruction and judgement of Sodom and Gomorrah: "Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?" (Genesis 18:25). And of course the answer is “yes.”
                I thought of other verses:
Luke 13:1-3, "Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."
 2 Peter 3:9, 10, "The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief…"
                What to do?
                It seems that the accounts of Nadab and Abihu along with Ananias and Sapphira, whose lives ended so abruptly (and of course there are still abrupt life endings today… accidents, etc.), those accounts should encourage us to not presume on God’s mercy and love. He does show us mercy and compassion, of course, and anyone, whatever their circumstances, can receive at any time God’s free gift of eternal salvation, but neither should we presume on His mercy and kindness. Let’s not be presumptuous—let’s do the right thing today.
“Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?”

by Bob Busenitz

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