[Papercut Press] 2002-03-04 - Holy Experiment Day

Numbers 3:4 But Nadab and Abihu died before the Lord when they offered strange fire before the Lord in the wilderness of Sinai; and they had no children. So Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests in the lifetime of their father Aaron.

In case you did not know it, today, March 4, is Holy Experiment Day. I'm not quite sure what that means, but I am not sure it is a good thing in every manner. We see this with Nadab and Abihu in the above verse, their "holy experiment" was not taken by God as very holy at all. We need to make sure that our experiments, as it were, regarding faith and practice, are grounded in God's Word. For example, if you have never fasted before, that could be a holy experiment for you. Another holy experiment, that might hurt more than fasting, could be to decide that you are going to double your tithe into the offering plate for a year and see what God will do.

If you don't know the story of Nadab and Abihu there was one altar upon which offerings were to be made early in the history of Israel. The offerings were consumed, on a large altar, by a heavenly fire and that fire was always to be kept burning. The daily incense was to be burned with censers, like a firepan, and only offered from fire that was from the great altar. As priests, what Nadab and Abihu did was make the daily offering in censers with "strange" fire. In other words, it was fire that was not from the great altar, but rather common fire. For this they were instantly struck dead. There can be no doubt that this drove home to the nation the importance of observing all of God's ordinances and it should do nothing less for us today.

It is interesting that soon after this incidence, in Numbers 6:3, there is the prohibition of wine, grape juice, vinegar, or strong drink to those who dedicate themselves to the service of the Lord. Some believe that Nadab and Abihu may have been under the influence when they made their blunder. But Scripture does not specifically say this.

David made a holy experiment when he numbered the people in 2 Samuel and it also did not turn out well. "Now David's heart troubled him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, 'I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, please take away the iniquity of Thy servant, for I have acted very foolishly.'" The result of David's sin: God sent pestilence on Israel and 70,000 people died (2 Samuel 2:15). The grace of Christ is an amazing thing, and knowing this, David asked that his sin might be removed from him. Sin also has consequences as we see when God smites His people with the death of 70,000 of them.

So if you are going to have a holy experiment today, or any day, make sure you are in accordance with God's Word before you leap. Not all holy experiments are bad. You might say, "Before I read the Bible today, I am going to take a few minutes and ask God to use this time to strengthen my faith, understanding and practice. I'm going to ask God to bless my time in His Word." This next one would not be good for me, but you could bake a pie, bring it next door, and say, "I wanted to do something nice for you." This could build a relationship with your neighbor that could lead to spiritual discussions. I recently heard someone pray that they were asking God to use them to reach 100 people with the gospel, through their influence, in the area where they live, in the next 10 years. That's a holy experiment that will not send a lightning bolt or result in 70,000 deaths.

So be bold, but check everything out with God's Word. There is nothing wrong with trying something new in our faith and practice. A holy experiment can be a good thing and I encourage you to think of things that you might do to bring glory to God.

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] godrulestb@aol.com