A Strange Fire

By Debbi Shotlow
Worship Leader
August 15, 2023

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“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, and put incense on it, and offered strange and unholy fire before the Lord, as He had not commanded them. And there can forth fire from before the Lord and killed them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, This is what the Lord meant when He said, I (and My will, not their own) will be acknowledged as hallowed by those who come near Me, and before all the people I will be honored. And Aaron said nothing.” (Lev.10: 1-3 Amp) “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4 NIV)

Leviticus 10: 1-3 records the consequences of not following to the letter God’s instructions regarding worship in the tabernacle of the Old Testament. The incense was to be used on the Golden Altar, which was positioned in the Holy Place before the veil that shielded the eyes of sinful men from the glory of God. Incense in the scripture speaks to us of the prayers, worship and the ministry of the Intercession of Christ and the Church. What was once done as a symbol is now accomplished through the once and for all sacrifice of Jesus. When we worship God and offer our sacrifices of praise, our sacrifices of thanksgiving go straight to the throne of God and we enthrone Him there. With our hands lifted up and words of praise in our mouth, He is made CEO of our hearts. He is the center of our joy and our life is centered on giving Him glory. Romans 21:1, 2 NIV states, “and so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice - the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will is.” This is acceptable worship.

If the above is acceptable worship, then strange fire and incense must represent “false worship”. This must be the meaning of Isaiah 29:13 (NIV)- And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away. And their worship of me amounts to nothing more than human laws learned by rote.”

Our churches are already full enough of people who know God but not according to knowledge. The sad thing is the worship leaders that lead our congregations the same way. Yours truly has witnessed this type of service and my heart was saddened because I knew that it hurt the heart of God as there were “spiritual babies” in the room that did not know any better. I found myself questioning God if I was being too critical of what was happening before my eyes. I heard the Holy Sprit speak to my heart, “You know my Spirit.” I had to leave that service and pray that those who were truly seeking God would find Him in the middle of all that junk. My experience in that time of praise and worship made me examine my heart’s motive as to whether I lead people to hold on to a false worship instead of a God-breathed time of worship. God said that HIS WILL and not ours will be acknowledged as HOLY by those who come near HIM and before all the people HE will be honored. We need to know with a holy passion and a holy burning what is acceptable to God as worship leaders and offer it. Be an example of a true priest of God. We should show forth the praise of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.

I want to go into more detail about the events of the service, but I cannot write about it. I would ask you to pray that worship leaders everywhere would possess a true heart of worship unto God. That they (we) sit in His presence until we know Him. We need to know where He is moving and move with Him. We must hear His voice and not follow the deceiver.

May we never be satisfied with just going through the motions. May we never sing another song just because. Let’s keep a song fresh in our hearts unto our God. May our hearts tell the story of a true love that can change a broken life into a life of fruitfulness. May we see Jesus our Lord as He is, as the center of our joy. May we know Him as Moses knew and communed with Him. May we be known as David as men and women after God’s own heart.

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