The chapter break between Leviticus 9 and 10 is unfortunate; it can conceal an important contrast.
At the end of chapter 9, fire comes out from the Lord to consume the burnt offering, indicating God’s acceptance of the offering in place of his people. Their sins are atoned for.
Immediately following, in chapter 10, the second generation priests, Nadab and Abihu, seek to approach the Lord without an offering of atonement. Again, fire comes out from the Lord. This time, the fire consumes the two brazen priests.
Leviticus 9:24 And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.
Leviticus 10:2 And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.
The fire of God’s holiness will blaze against sin, obliterating it from his presence. There are only two options. Either we will approach God with an offering, consumed in our place. Or we will approach him directly, and we will be consumed ourselves.
Let us draw near to God full of faith in Christ. God’s wrath was poured out on Christ; the offering was accepted and we face the fire of holiness without danger. Let us tremble for those who dare approach God without Christ, for our God is a consuming fire.