1 Chronicles 24:2
But Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children: therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest's office.
This verse is parenthetical; we may let it suggest to us some valuable principles.
I. THAT SIN REAPPEARS IN ITS EFFECTS, BOTH IN LIFE AND IN HISTORY. After the full statement of the sin committed by these young men (Leviticus 10.), and the allusion made to it in the Book of Numbers (Numbers 3:4), we might have supposed that we had heard the last of it in the sacred narrative. But here it comes up again; once more we are reminded how Aaron's sons provoked the Lord, and brought down his displeasure. So now are there sins against God and crimes against men which history will not let alone; it records them on its page, and, further on, it writes them down again, that the attention of another generation may be called thereto. Some iniquities there are which are of such significance that no writer of his country's story will leave them out of his record. But this is as pathetically true of individual life. Too often it happens that men cannot shake themselves free from the sins of earlier days. They think they have done with them, but some way further on they present themselves again, and look them in the face. How many a man is called upon to say, again and again, as the miserable effects of past sin come up to reproach, or to enfeeble, or to baulk him, "Ah! that that word had been left unspoken, that deed undone, that habit unformed, that course unchosen!" If such is sin in its resurgent powers,
(1) what a compensatory fact we have in the truth that it may be wholly forgiven by the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, so that it does not continue to interpose between our souls and his Divine favour! and
(2) how wise to bring our life at its very commencement under the law of holiness, so that those sins may be avoided which would, if incurred, dog our steps and haunt our spirits!
II. THAT SIN INVERTS THE NATURAL ORDER OF THINGS IN THE LIFE OF MAN. So far as the word can be used appropriately in such a case, we may say that it is the natural thing for the sons to close the eyes of their father (see Genesis 46:4), to carry him to the grave, to cherish his memory, to follow his last directions. There is something strikingly unnatural when it has to be written that "they died before their father." But it is the constant consequence of sin. Sin is the great overturning, confusing, inverting power in the world; putting that before which should be behind, and that below which should be above, disordering and disarranging everything in the world which God made beautiful and blessed. Illustrations abound in every sphere of human activity.
III. THAT SIN CUTS OFF THE GOOD WHICH IT IS IN GOD'S THOUGHT TO GIVE US. These young men died, and "had no children." In the common course of providence they would have had the deep, full joy of parents, and their children and descendants would have carried down their lineage to the distant future. But that one "presumptuous sin" cut all this off. In how many ways does human guilt shut the hand of beneficence, impoverishing itself and all whom it can affect!
IV. THAT IT IS WISE TO BE PREPARED FOR EARLY DEATH OR FOR LONELY AGE. These words may be written of those who are not sinful but unfortunate. In the families of the holy and the faithful it is often the painful record - the young men, the young women, "die before their parents." No one who is wise will risk anything on the assurance of continued life. Youth in all its vigour may be but a step or two distant from the grave. Strong manhood, rejoicing motherhood, may be about to enter on a life of clouded loneliness. Be ready for early death, and for the long dark shadow of bereavement. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: But Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children: therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest's office.