Topics: Obedience, Consequences
In the first 7 chapters of the book of Leviticus Moses records how God said the people were to present their sacrifices and offerings to God. God was very specific! In chapters 8 and 9, Aaron and his sons (as well as all the tribe of Levi) prepare themselves to be the priests for the people and to care for the tabernacle. They also begin their duties in these chapters. Then, in chapter 10, two of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, break the rules. They offered fire that came from the wrong place. Now I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal. But God just told them how to do it correctly and they knew the right thing to do. That means that they disobeyed on purpose. Because of that the punishment was harsh. Fire came out from God’s presence and killed them!!
You may think that was unfair but we need to look at this from God’s point of view. First, God judges our hearts. When we do something wrong by accident or because we didn’t know better, He understands that! We need to make it right and try not to do it again, but God is very forgiving of those mistakes. But that isn’t what happened with Nadab and Abihu. They were trained priests that knew the rules so they were rebelling against God.
Secondly, Nadab and Abihu were leaders and examples for the people. God cares greatly for His people so He expects those who lead to set a good example. When they don’t, they often pay a high price so that not only they learn a lesson but the people they are leading also understand that their behavior was wrong.
God is always willing to forgive us when we make mistakes and sin, but we must be sorry for that sin first. When we choose to rebel against God, He often allows harsh results so that we learn our lesson.
Do you think a person deserves harsher punishment when they knew not to do something than when they didn’t know it was wrong? Why or why not?