For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4
There is much we can learn by studying the Old Testament. Among the things we learn is how God is serious about keeping His commandments. One such story is found in Leviticus 10.
Before we examine that story we need to look back at the book of Exodus where God gave commandments concerning the alter of incense. In Exodus 30:9 God had said to Aaron… You shall not offer strange incense on it, or a burnt offering, or a grain offering, nor shall you pour a drink offering on it.
Now fast forward to Leviticus 10:1-2 Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censor and put fire on it, put incense on it, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.
Nadab and Abihu were the first two sons of Aaron. They would have been in line to become the High Priest of Israel had they not sinned and died. They also were among the very few who ascended part of the way up Sinai to be near the presence of God and worship Him there (Exodus 24). Two more times the names of Nadab and Abihu are mentioned in the O.T. And each time it is said that they died because they offered strange fire to the Lord (Numbers 3:4; 26:61).
Today there are many practices, doctrines, and ordinances that would be considered “strange” to God. Strange worship by using instruments (not authorized by God). Strange baptism by sprinkling or pouring (not authorized by God). Strange times of eating the Lord’s Supper at weddings and funerals (not authorized by God). Strange preaching by women (not authorized by God). And the list goes on and on about all the “strange” things done in religion today. None of which are authorized by God.