Why do we remember some things and not others? Our brains can remember everything, so perhaps the better question is, why is it easier to recall some things and not others?

Such were my thoughts today when I read this verse from Exodus.

“Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites, along with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, so they may serve me as priests.”

Exodus 28:1 (NIV)

There’s nothing particularly striking about this verse, except when I read it, I realized that I always think of Nadab and Abihu as priests and then Eleazar and Ithamar as the backup priests who came in to serve after their older brothers were burned to death. As we see here in Leviticus.

Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.

Leviticus 10:1-2 (NIV)

As I pondered my question, I thought about incidents and people in the Bible similar to Nadab and Abihu that come readily to mind. Like Korah.

Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—became insolent and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council.

Numbers 16:1-2 (NIV)

For his rebellion, Korah, his followers, and his family suffered a terrible fate.

As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community…And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.

Numbers 16:31-33, 35 (NIV)

Like Nadab and Abihu, Korah had other relatives who carried on serving the Lord. In fact, eleven psalms in the Bible are attributed to the sons of Korah, and Samuel, one of the most significant figures in the Bible, is descended from Korah! Yet, do I remember those psalms or consider Samuel? No, I don’t. I remember Korah and his family being swallowed by the Earth. Even those 250 nameless men consumed by the Lord’s fire don’t hold as much of a place in my mind.

Although I remember Nadab, Abihu, and Korah, I couldn’t remember the name of the guy who stole the devoted things when the Israelites attacked Jericho (Achan). Achan and his family were stoned to death, but I couldn’t remember his name when I tried to think of it.

Then it occurred to me that Nadab, Abihu, and Korah were killed in supernatural ways while Achan and his family were just stoned to death by the Israelites. Thus, the difference between why some names stuck with me and others did not.

As far as I know, there’s no further mention of anyone from Achan’s family after being stoned in Joshua, so I cannot comment on them further. However, Eleazar later becomes the high priest (Numbers 3:32). I’ve already mentioned that Korah’s sons went on to write psalms and worship the Lord faithfully.

One thing we can learn from the deaths of Nadab, Abihu, and Korah’s sons is that those who survive can still be faithful. Without a doubt, Nadab, Abihu, and Korah’s sons carried thoughts of what happened to their brothers and father. Yet, they still thrived in the Lord.

As Christians, it doesn’t matter who our family members were or who they are today. While they make up our genetics, our biological associations do not dictate who we are in Christ. We determine who we are by who we follow. Since we follow the Lord, he leads and guides us, and we are his.

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.