Summary: Part 2 of 6 of the Series, Who’s That? Stories of Little Known People of the Bible. These two brothers did something that resulted in a truly shocking end to their lives. And it all began with "strange fire"....
NADAB & ABIHU: STRANGE FIRE
Read at beginning of service:
Hebrews 12:18-29 (NIV)
18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: "If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned." 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling with fear." 22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. 25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." 27 The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken--that is, created things--so that what cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our "God is a consuming fire."
Currently I am doing a series entitled, "Who’s That? Stories of Little Known people In the Bible." And as I stated last week, the reason for doing this series is that there are some very interesting and important things to learn from the lives of certain people in the Bible that many of us have not even heard of. Now, I could probably go on for a whole year with this particular series with the number of people there are in the Bible. But I’m not going to do that! But there are a few of these little known characters that I would like us to look at.
Last week we started with Lot, the man who compromised. I hope his story encouraged you to look a little closer at your own life and determine where you are pitching your tent. If you weren’t here last week and you don’t know what I mean then I invite you to read on your own Genesis 11-14,19 where you will find Lot’s story.
Today we’re actually going to look at two people, a pair of brothers in fact. Their names are Nadab and Abihu and when I first came across their names they sounded a little bit like the kind of names that Disney writers would come up for characters in one of their movies. Although that is a casual jest I hope that after this morning these two names will be imprinted on your minds serving as a warning as to what happens when you don’t take God seriously!
We first come across Nadab and Abihu in Exodus 6:23;
Exodus 6:23 (NIV)
23 Aaron married Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nahshon, and she bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.
There we learn that Nadab and Abihu are sons of Aaron, the brother of Moses and they have two brothers, Eleazar and Ithamar. Nadab’s name means "noble". Abihu’s name means "my father he is. Nadab and Abihu were born into slavery. The first mention of them is located smack dab in the middle of story of Moses coming before Pharaoh of Egypt to communicate God’s command to let his people go. We can assume then that Nadab and Abihu were very much experienced with the slight(!) discomfort of slavery!
We also learn from Numbers 3:2 that Nadab is the firstborn and Abihu the second born – aside from that we don’t know anything about how old they are or their differences in age. However, due to the fact that every time they are mentioned in the Bible they are mentioned together we can assume that they probably were fairly close in age.
The Bible doesn’t say very much about these two men but what it does say proves to be very interesting. For instance, the next mention of Nadab and Abihu is found in Exodus 24.
Exodus 24:1 (NIV)
1 Then he said to Moses, "Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You are to worship at a distance,