The Burger King Myth
Today it seems that so many people want to worship God, serve God, follow God and pray to God, which in and of themselves are desirous goals. However, the problem is that many people want all of these things on their terms. Like the old Burger King slogan, "Have It Your Way," people want to approach God in whatever way they see fit. Their intentions may be good, but their methods are not in line with His. The following is a post from a blogger out of Israel at Lekarev.org, who uses the story of Nadab & Abihu to echo these thoughts:
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. The Mishkan (tabernacle) was finally completed, and the celebration had begun. Aaron the High Priest and his children brought special offerings, and the joy of accomplishment permeated the camp of the Jewish Nation.
Then tragedy stuck. Aaron's two sons, Nadab and Abihu, brought an offering that the Torah characterizes as "an alien fire that the LORD had not commanded. A fire went out from before the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD." (Leviticus 10:1-3)
What is at the very core of their sin? For what were they so quickly and devastatingly punished? What is the meaning of the Torah usage of the terminology "a strange fire that the LORD had not commanded" to describe their transgression?
Though there are multitudes of commentaries on this event, as there are on all events in the Torah, there is a common thread that permeates virtually all of the commentaries. Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, were basically "good boys". They loved God and had an enthusiasm in their service of Him that was admirable. They had the best of intentions but what happened with them stands forever as a testimony and a challenge to all of us that the best of intentions is not good enough. Though well intended, their actions went outside the boundaries of protocol and guidance. Actions without protocol, without discipline, can have disastrous results.
Nadab and Abihu because of their own enthusiasm desired to contribute to the service of God "their own fire", according to their own visions, but the LORD considered it alien.
None of us have the right to decide how we will serve Him. None of us has the right to attempt to "improve" on His plan, on His Torah. This was the sin of Nadab and Abihu - they wanted to serve God, they were even enthusiastic about it; but they wanted to do it "my way", not His prescribed way. It cost them their lives.
In all of human history, there has been ONE national revelation of His will and His ways - on Sinai to the children of Israel. To seek to change anything in the Torah, or to "replace" it with new ideas and theologies, no matter how enthusiastically they are followed, is still today the sin of Nadab and Abihu. Perhaps we are not seeing instant rebuke and punishment as in their case but sooner or later, the day of reckoning will come for all who seek to "improve" on God's plan, or in any way denigrate the Torah by calling it incomplete, obsolete or irrelevant.
The Torah is eternal and God's word, as the psalmist wrote, is
"forever settled in the heavens." In its uncompromising call for a life of obedience, the Torah leaves no room for us to individually "invent" our own religious practices that we might serve Him 'my way'.
It's either His way - or it's no way!