It was tragic, but Aaron couldn’t shed a tear. Just some hours before that sorrowful sight, he had started working with his two sons in the Lord’s presence! Everything was okay as they went about slaughtering, sprinkling and smearing!
Earlier on in the day, a fire had blazed out from the Lord’s presence to consume the offering upon the altar, and Aaron was awed by that sight! “Indeed, the Lord is a great God!” he thought as they all bowed in reverence to Him. And no one was expecting another fire to come down! No! Nobody was!
He saw his two sons Nadab and Abihu with their censers in the tabernacle, yet Aaron just assumed that they were going about their priestly duties! He was delighted!
But suddenly, another fire blazed out from the Lord’s presence! A much fiery one which caught everyone’s attention! As swift as a sickle it came and it consumed his two sons before his very eyes! It was horrifying! He was in shock, but he couldn’t weep! For he later got to know why:
“On that same day Nadab and Abihu, Aaron’s sons, took their censers, put hot coals and incense in them, and offered strange fire to God… And fire blazed out from God and consumed them…”Leviticus 10:1, 2
Another version puts it this way: “Then Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu made a mistake. They took their censers and put some fire and incense in them. BUT THEY DID NOT USE THE FIRE THAT WAS ON THE ALTAR- THEY TOOK FIRE FROM SOME OTHER PLACE AND BROUGHT IT TO THE LORD.”
Strange Fire! Many people, especially believers are making the same mistake of Nadad and Abihu: offering ‘Strange fire’ onto God. The fire these two young men should have carried in their censers was the fire upon the altar which had come from God from above. But they offered strange fire. They took fire from some other place.
As I read this passage some weeks ago, I got to understand that our lives or our hearts are like censers. And the only fire which is authorized to be in our ‘censers’ is the fire from the Lord upon the altar: The Holy Spirit! He is the only fire we need in our lives as believers.
Yet many of us are carrying ‘strange’ fire in our censers. Like the two sons, we put on nice clothes and go to the Lord’s presence as we go to church, worship and pray. We speak in tongues! We cast out demons! We’re the armor bearers of our prophets and pastors! We know how to do the work of the Lord! We bow down and we lift up our two hands onto the heavens in worship! But we are the only ones who know the kind of fire we carry in our ‘censers’.
What consumes you? Is it the fire of the Holy Spirit, or some strange fire?
Many Christians carry ‘strange’ fires like jealousy, evil desires, anger, bitterness and a whole lot in their ‘censers’, which compete with the fire of the Holy Spirit in our lives and gradually quench His power in our lives .
But of all these, there is this ‘strange’ fire which seems to burn, lick and consume so much: Lust! Like an evil passion or evil desire, lust burns in the hearts of many believers!
We hear people say that God in the Old Testament always gave instant justice to those who belittled His holiness. That may be true! You can imagine what happened to Aaron’s sons as they offered ‘strange fire’ happening in our days! I’m sure we all would have been consumed by the Lord’s anger since we all have that little spark of strange fire which wants to take over our hearts. But our God is a God of mercy! And by His mercies we are not consumed!
Yet as Job said, sin, or uncontrolled passion is a fire which consumes to destruction… It is a fire which burns all the way to hell. (Job 31:12).
We await the second coming of Jesus Christ! We don’t know when it’s going to be! All we know is that it will be soon! But ask yourself, “Should the Lord Jesus appear in this very instant, will he find His Holy Fire burning in my heart? Or he will find a ‘Strange’ and an ‘Unholy’ fire burning and consuming me with earthly passion and lustful desires?”
Pause to ponder!