Leviticus 10:1–3 (ESV)
10 Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. 2 And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. 3 Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’ ” And Aaron held his peace.
First, When we worship God, we must only offer what God has commanded us to offer:
When we start using things in a way which God has not commanded, we are acting in a superstitious manner.
“We must come freely to worship God, but we must not worship God according to our wills.”
Be careful here, because perhaps all congregations have brought into their worship some-thing not in accord with God’s direction.
Second, “In the matter of worship, God stands upon little things.” Consider Nadab and Abihu: they merely offered “strange fire” which doesn’t seem that important. But God shows himself to be very particular when it comes to how he is worshipped.
Third, no one is so “important” that he worship God carelessly and then think that God will not care — not even being a relative of Moses and Aaron is enough.
Fourth, those who have more visible places and more respect in their work of ministry should expect to be held to a higher standard from God (James 3:1).
Fifth, at the very beginning of important things we should not be surprised to find particularly great difficulties.
Sixth, we should be especially carefully when we enter into public worship of God.
Seventh, we must be careful to fully understand all that God has said — even if it is difficult and takes great effort to understand.
Eighth, we should not expect that God will always give some sort of explicit warning about a coming judgment. “Therefore, learn to tremble not only at what is revealed in God’s Word against your sin, but tremble at what there is in that infinite justice, power, and wisdom of God to find out and execute upon sinners.”
Ninth, sometimes God’s judgment comes very quickly —even when it is not expected.
Tenth, just because a duty is a holy duty does not mean that God will ignore miscarriage of that duty: the holiness of the duty is no shield.
Psalm 68:35 (ESV)
35 Awesome is God from his sanctuary;
the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people.
Blessed be God!
Twelfth, God’s judgment match men’s sins.
Thirteenth, take heed not to bring strange fire into God’s service.
Now it’s true that a carnal heart would be ready to think that when a preacher speaks out of true zeal to God, he will be ready to say that he (the preacher) is aiming at him (this often happens!). Take heed of that.
But however, this I know: it is the duty of the minister of God to be sure to bring nothing but the fire of the Spirit of God, the fire that they have from the altar, their tongues being touched with one of these coals. The should not come with their own passion to further the righteousness of God. No, the wrath of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God.
Fourteenth, It is not uncommon for a dear saint of God to suffer a great affliction in their children.
Fifthteenth, sometimes we do not see the way in which God brings his judgment — even though we see the effect of the judgment.
Sixteenth, “Though the lives of men are dear and precious to God, yet they are not so precious as His glory.”
Seventeenth, the nearer a man is to God, the more careful he should be to glorify God — and the more he should expect judgment if he fails to do so.
Eighteenth, “Do not think that God will spare you the more because you are a professing Christian or because you worship Him often.”
Nineteenth, when we see a judgment of God which is an example to us, look to the Word of God to understand what God has done.
Twentieth, Holiness is the greatest honor to God’s name.
[Now I know this is labeled 20 points — and Burroughs said he would give twenty points. But in the custom of many preachers in his time, he simply couldn’t stop when he got to his designated end and thus added two more.]
Twenty-first, “It is the part of true friendship to help friends in their distress and seek to comfort them from the Word. Though we ourselves are in afflictions, yet we should seek to comfort our friends who are in greater afflictions, and to comfort them by the Word of God.”
Twenty-second, the best way to quiet your heart when under great affliction is to know that God will “fetch out His honor by it. It may be previous to me, but God fetches out His glory and honor by it.”