Nadab and Abihu discovered the literal truth of Romans 3:23a, For the wages of sin is death… They did what God had forbidden and the fire of God consumed them there on the spot.
Thankfully, God does not generally execute His absolute justice at the moment of sin… if He did so, all of us would be dead.
But as His community was forming God chose to make a dramatic statement to the whole community that His Word and instructions are to be honored! Period. As the account continues, Moses explains to Aaron and his priest sons that they cannot grieve like everyone else in the community. As priests, they stand before God in a unique way and this doesn’t allow for grief like everyone else.
Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not let your hair become unkempt and do not tear your clothes, or you will die and the LORD will be angry with the whole community. But your relatives, all the Israelites, may mourn for those the LORD has destroyed by fire (6).
A comment in the middle of Moses’ warning triggered pondering. Moses said, you will die and the LORD will be angry with the whole community. I get the ‘you will die’ comment; they would be disobedient and deserve God’s punishment. However, it was the next part that shocked me, and the LORD will be angry with the whole community. Why would God be angry with the entire community because one person sinned?
Is this the flip side of being the mediator between the community and God? Do the priests represent (stand in for) the community and therefore, when they sin their sin counts against everyone? Is it that their sin is seen as representative of the sin in the community? I don’t know the exact reason, but I can read what God said.
As a pastor, is God angry with my church community when I sin? As a father –head of the household –is God angry with my family when I sin? Is it every sin or only the sins committed when acting as pastor of the parish or father of the household?
I simply don’t know, and I may be pushing the text way beyond its intended understanding, but it is pressing me to think and act even more seriously and intentionally when I stand in my circles of authority, whether in parish or home or…
Headship and leadership carry tremendous responsibility… this is the basic truth God is bringing to me this morning.
Oh, God, give me the wisdom and the strength to carry your mantle of leadership faithfully and well. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.