“Hey, let’s see if God really cares about the fire.” These are the last words of two priests who offered fire, but not the fire that God had commanded. The fire that Nadab and Abihu offered to God was “strange fire”. And while all such acts are wrong in spirit, that it was strange suggest it was not the fire God had commanded.
Leviticus 16 tells us that the fire to be put on the firepans and carried in and place upon the altar of incense was to be taken from the sacrificial altar. But Nadab and Abihu offered the fire from some place else.
Ellicott says, “They filled their vessels with common fire instead of taking it from the holy fire of the altar, which was always to be used in burning incense. (See Leviticus 9:24; Leviticus 16:12.)”
Though Aaron and his sons were brand new at this ministry, consecrating the altar and tent of meeting only the day before, still the priests knew the commandment of God. And they offered strange fire.
And what did God do to show His displeasure? He sent fire down and burnt them up just as fire had come down and consumed the sacrifice on the day before.
In worship and life, are we confident that we can exceed what is written? No, do not exceed what is written, 1 Cor. 4:6. This is why we sing in the church of Christ. This is why we partake of the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week. This is why we avoid catechisms and the recitation of creeds. This is why the preachers are men and not women. This is why we immerse and don’t sprinkle or pour the water for baptism. God has told us what to do which excludes everything else.
God bless. – Dan Mayfield