Summary: Nadab and Abihu were born to great privilege as servants of the Living God, they reached for more, leading to death. Though He is patient, God does not play games with rebels. Let the people of God hear the Word of the Living God and take heed.
“Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is what the Lord has said: “Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.”’ And Aaron held his peace.” 
Scripture warns believers, “[Divine judgements against God’s people] took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did” [1 CORINTHIANS 10:6]. Again, the Word of God reminds followers of the Christ, “These things [judgements against the community of faith] happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come” [1 CORINTHIANS 10:11]. We ignore the accounts of those who preceded us in the worship of the Living God at our own peril. Even the presumptuous sin of professed worshippers can be instructive for the people of God.
Many people imagine the church of the Living God to be a democracy. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The attitude, prevalent among a surprising number of the churches of our Lord, is not new. The idea that the congregation of the faithful shows itself from earliest days of the faithful, the idea that pastors, or even deacons, can be elected without giving thought to God’s work in the lives of individuals, inevitably leads to disaster. Worse still are individuals who presume against God and against His people, promoting themselves into positions of leadership, who are then allowed to occupy those positions through the silence of the people. Whenever a congregation forgets, or worse still, ignores the fact, that God appoints whom He wills to oversee the work of His people, it leads inevitably to disaster.
Nadab and Abihu are the names of brothers that shall live in infamy for all the days of mankind on the earth. Born to great privilege as servants of the Living God, they reached for more, leading to death. Though He is patient, God does not play games with rebels. Let the people of God hear the Word of the Living God and take heed.
SEEDS OF REBELLION — Rebellion doesn’t just happen. Long before the rebel’s acts, the plot was formulated in the heart. People do not just “fall into” sin; the heart of disposed to sin before ever the individual sins. A willingness to sin always precedes the sinful act. Let me explain what I mean by looking at three areas of concern.
Sin in the individual is the area I will first consider. We are born in sin, according to the Word [see PSALM 51:5]. We go astray from our youth as the “self” demands first place. Children must be trained to think of others, learning to treat their fellow beings with respect. Even as children, we know there is a God, but we seldom know our responsibilities toward God unless we are instructed. This is a vital reason why parents must train their children in foundational truth as presented in the Word of God. There is a need for instruction in righteousness as parents take their children to the House of God rather than merely sending their children to church.