A Change in Plans

Bill Brinkworth

One mistake, no matter how small or insignificant we think it is, can change a life’s direction. A promising future can be changed by a wrong decision or action. The Bible tells of such a decision in the family of Aaron.

Aaron, the high priest of Israel and brother of Moses, had four sons. The firstborn, Nadab, had the most promising future. The second born son, Abihu, also had a future hope of being used by God. Surely, their father had big expectations for them. Their duties of assisting and being future high priests in serving God could have been offered to none but Aaron’s sons. God had even invited Nadab and Abihu to come along with Moses, Aaron and 70 elders to meet with Him. Many times they were mentioned as being there when great things happened for the people of Israel. They had big plans for their tomorrow.

Disobedience to what we would consider a small commandment of God changed their whole life. They were told to light their incense censers (a small vessel used to burn incense in the tabernacle) with fire that God had sent to consume an accepted sacrifice. They lit the fire, but with flame from another source. A small technicality some may argue; but small disobedience is still disobedience to the God they were serving. The use of “strange fire” angered God. God himself killed them with a devouring fire. The future of the next-in-line priests was halted, and the great plans God had for them were cancelled because of their mistake.

References in the Bible for Nadab and Abihu after their death were always negative. The only remembrance of them in the future was their error. They left no children to inherit their birthright; only a bad example for future generations. Plans for them were changed.

Eleazar was the third, and Ithamar was fourth son of Aaron. Originally, as they were the younger siblings, their future would only have been in the shadows of their two older brothers. In Biblical days, it was always the firstborn that had the opportunities of leadership and family responsibilities. Eleazar’s and Ithamar’s future changed at the death of the two disobedient brothers. The limelight they would never have seen if the other two sons had been obedient was now theirs, because they did obey God and did remain faithful to the tasks they were given.

Eleazar and Ithamar were always in the background. These two were not included in most of the great works Moses and Aaron were accomplishing for God, as were Nadab and Abihu. No one ever was optimistic for the younger brothers. No one ever marveled at them as they walked off to meet with the mighty God. Their future was not as promising as that of their elder brothers, but they kept at the task they were assigned and in the end, it was them God used. Their faithfulness and steadfastness had its reward. After the death of the high priest, Aaron, Eleazar stepped in as high priest.

Seventy-one times Eleazar was mentioned in the Bible, far more than his oldest brother. It was Eleazar who assisted Moses as High Priest, and it was he who was there with Joshua to divide and disburse the land of Israel. His brother, Ithamar, was right there keeping at his duties. Both of them were blessed with obedient and God-serving children. God used each of them. The faithful brothers served and remained obedient to God’s commandments and were mightily used by God. They kept on keeping on, and God recognized and used them because of their right decisions.

God has great plans for every child of God. His plan is not just to have them saved from hell, but also to have them serve him. The new convert would be amazed at what God has planned for his future. The newly saved person has all the possibilities of the firstborn, Nadab – great hope and future in serving God in the way God desires to use him. Disobedience to God can change everything. Sidelines are filled with Christian folk that had excuses or reasons to disobey God’s commands in their lives.

How sad it is to hear of the great numbers that have missed God’s blessing in their lives because of their refusal to obey the commandments of God to be baptized, faithful in attending church, or to witness for Him. The numbers are astronomical of those that choose the world’s way to live rather than God’s way. It is those that remain faithful to what they know and are shown to do, that God uses for His glory. Our responsibility is to obey all God has shown us to do. Obedience always leads to more opportunities to serve God.

This article was featured in The Bible View #102.

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