And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, and put incense on it, and offered strange and unholy fire before the Lord, as He had not commanded them.
And there came forth fire from before the Lord and killed them, and they died before the Lord.
Then Moses said to Aaron, This is what the Lord meant when He said, I [and My will, not their own] will be acknowledged as hollowed by those who come near Me, and before all the people I will be honored. And Aaron said nothing. – Amplified Bible.
Perhaps few believers have ever identified with Nadab and Abihu, and yet few, if any, of us have done exactly what they did in principle.
Their sin, which God took so seriously, and which proved fatal to them, was not a mere matter of failing to obey the letter of God’s law for priests. Their inexcusable folly was in trying to please the Lord THEIR WAY INSTEAD OF HIS WAY.
Who of us cannot recognize himself as the offerer of this prayer, with only the details lacking: “O Lord, make me rich! Then I will make large donations to Your interests!”
Yet our very poverty may be the means to the end which He has in love and wisdom planned for us, the ultimate purpose of our creation, perhaps, which substitution of our will for His will would utterly defeat.
No wonder God removed Nadab and Abihu from the earth!
They, like ourselves, had acted like the child of a great painter who attempted to work on his father’s priceless canvas, instead of on the tablet assigned to him. They like the child, were banished from the father’s presence.
And every believer does well to recognize the importance of being entirely surrendered to “God’s will; nothing more; nothing less; nothing else; at any cost.”
And that does not mean first making an unholy alliance in marriage, or in business, or in thought, and then adjusting it to God’s will.
Remember Nadab and Abihu, who “offered strange and unholy fire before the Lord.” IT DOES NOT PAY.
– The Amplified Bible: page 131