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Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins;

let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. 

Psalm 19:13-14

This was the sin often attributed to Nadab and Abihu, Aaron’s sons. It is the sin of presuming we are something far greater and more privileged than we are. Nadab and Abihu were priests under Aaron the High Priest in the time of Moses. Suggestions are that they had some alcohol, and went and offered strange sacrifice to God. They died immediately.

The priests in those times worked in ‘courses’, which is similar to any of us working shift work. They had their prescribed shifts, which was locked in except for special reasons. However, being priests, they were meant to be ceremonially cleansed, going through special processes prior to work.

If you have ever worked on the food processing industry, often workers need to be showered, adorn themselves with special white clothing, including boots, outer garments and hair nets, and they can only work on their designated shift. Nobody can simply come to work on someone else’s shift and start working. It would be a bit presumptuous of them to think the boss would let them work, particularly if they had been drinking. They will be told to go home, and the boss would take them aside on their correct shift and ask for a ‘Please Explain’, possibly giving them a written warning.

 Nadab and Abihu, being the two older sons, presumed they had such a special relationship with God and were indispensable, having done their job for quite a while. They thought the job was theirs for life. In that presumption, they thought they could have a few drinks and worship God by lighting the incense; you know, just walk in a do a few things like they owned the place.

God had other ideas, and didn’t give them a written warning. This workplace offence called for instant dismissal.

The worry for us is when we drink alcohol and get all warm and fuzzy, and think that feeling is the Holy Spirit and start worshipping, or come before the Lord in an arrogant manner. The Holy Spirit does not need any help to activate our love, and I think it is only by the grace of God and the fact that we are still children and lack understanding that we do not suffer a similar fate to that of Aaron’s sons when we do things like this.

Furthermore, we can walk around looking humble and in tune with God, but still live in a state of subconscious presumption…secret pride. In these days of broad grace, some people try to stretch grace over perpetual disobedience, including this.

We can see from the scripture, that David was fearful of it, asking God to help him with that particular sin, so he can live a life of uprightness and stay innocent from that great transgression. So should we…


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