1 Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. 2 So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. 3 And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.’ ” So Aaron held his peace. (Leviticus 10:1–3, NKJV)
By offering “profane fire” before the Lord, priests Nadab and Abihu were executed by God. Let us see two things wrong with bringing before God that “which He had not commanded.” First, they failed to regard God as holy: “I must be regarded as holy” (v. 3). We must approach God with utter respect for His holiness, only bringing before Him the worship and service He commands. Secondly, they failed to glorify God before His people Israel: “And before all the people I must be glorified” (v. 3). They dishonored God when they offered Him something He had not commanded. Be diligent not to change God’s commanded worship, thereby dishonoring Him. We do not get to decide the parameters of acceptable worship; God does (Jno. 4:23-24). Those who worship God “must worship in spirit and truth” (Jno. 4:24). God is holy, therefore, He defines true worship. God must be glorified, therefore, be faithful and obedient to His revealed will.