Sometimes it is hard to carry on. When so many circumstances seem harsh and undeserved, it is hard to minister. It is hard to serve others. Aaron lost his sons to God because they got the details wrong. It seems that Nadab and Abihu didn’t follow the instructions that God had prescribed. They had come before God, they had offered fire – but it wasn’t quite right. So they died. The remarkable thing is that Aaron is not allowed to mourn. He has to carry on serving the LORD as if nothing had happened. Sometimes ministering to others is hard. Sometimes it is hard to carry on.
1 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. 2 So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. 3 Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke of when he said:
” ‘Among those who approach me
I will show myself holy;
in the sight of all the people
I will be honored.’ ”
Aaron remained silent.
4 Moses summoned Mishael and Elzaphan, sons of Aaron’s uncle Uzziel, and said to them, “Come here; carry your cousins outside the camp, away from the front of the sanctuary.” 5 So they came and carried them, still in their tunics, outside the camp, as Moses ordered.
6 Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not let your hair become unkempt, [a] and do not tear your clothes, or you will die and the LORD will be angry with the whole community. But your relatives, all the house of Israel, may mourn for those the LORD has destroyed by fire. 7 Do not leave the entrance to the Tent of Meeting or you will die, because the LORD’s anointing oil is on you.” So they did as Moses said.
8 Then the LORD said to Aaron, 9 “You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the Tent of Meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. 10 You must distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean, 11 and you must teach the Israelites all the decrees the LORD has given them through Moses.”
12 Moses said to Aaron and his remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, “Take the grain offering left over from the offerings made to the LORD by fire and eat it prepared without yeast beside the altar, for it is most holy. 13 Eat it in a holy place, because it is your share and your sons’ share of the offerings made to the LORD by fire; for so I have been commanded. 14 But you and your sons and your daughters may eat the breast that was waved and the thigh that was presented. Eat them in a ceremonially clean place; they have been given to you and your children as your share of the Israelites’ fellowship offerings. [b] 15 The thigh that was presented and the breast that was waved must be brought with the fat portions of the offerings made by fire, to be waved before the LORD as a wave offering. This will be the regular share for you and your children, as the LORD has commanded.”
16 When Moses inquired about the goat of the sin offering and found that it had been burned up, he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s remaining sons, and asked, 17 “Why didn’t you eat the sin offering in the sanctuary area? It is most holy; it was given to you to take away the guilt of the community by making atonement for them before the LORD. 18 Since its blood was not taken into the Holy Place, you should have eaten the goat in the sanctuary area, as I commanded.”
19 Aaron replied to Moses, “Today they sacrificed their sin offering and their burnt offering before the LORD, but such things as this have happened to me. Would the LORD have been pleased if I had eaten the sin offering today?” 20 When Moses heard this, he was satisfied.
- What word describes Nadab and Abihu’s fire?
- What does Moses say to Aaron, Eleazar, and Ithmar?
- What should not be consumed before going into the tent?
- How does God show his holiness in this passage?
- Do you ever get casual or disengaged in following God?