3/12 Leviticus 10:1-2

1 Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, which he had not commanded them. 2 And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.

The previous chapter gives a lengthy account of the ordination process of these men. They knew what God required. They had seen His glory on Mount Sinai. They saw the fire come out from the presence of the LORD and consume the offering. They witnessed God's glory fill the Tabernacle. They were instructed to use the fire from the altar that was originally ignited by God. They intentionally disobeyed and made an offering their own way, using fire from another source in their censer with incense.

It seems like such a small thing, but everything God had instructed was a picture of spiritual realities. By intentionally disobeying God, they were distorting the symbolism. They knew better. God kept faithful to the picture He was painting by judging them with death.

Fire symbolizes the zeal and purity of God. By using the fire from another source, the message was distorted to say that man's way and man's zeal are good enough for God. It was the opposite of God's message. Moses delivered God's words to their father, Aaron, "Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified" (Leviticus 10:3). The people who minister to the LORD and His people are to be holy. The glory of God cannot be marred by the behavior of the minister without severe consequences. This is why we see so many fallen ministers judged so severely. Unauthorized fire is common in the church. God's Word is replaced by man's ideas and philosophy. God is just in dealing with the minister severely because their distortion of the truth harms the people of God.

Consider: The fear of God is a healthy thing to keep us from error. Pray for those who minister the Word of God to you, that they may walk in the ways of the LORD and be careful not to distort His revelation.