2 Samuel 6: 6-10, 1 Chronicles 13: 7-13 (MEV)
When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen had stumbled. The Lord became angry against Uzzah, and God struck him down on the spot for his irreverence. He died there beside the ark of God.
David became angry because of the outburst of the Lord against Uzzah; that place is called Perez Uzzah to this day.
David feared the Lord that day, and he thought, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” So, David did not allow the ark of the Lord to be brought to him in the City of David. Instead, David redirected it to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite.
I have read/heard this passage so many times. I think every time that instinctively I would have done the same thing. We have read over and over how God’s laws need to be followed to the letter. No exceptions. But still, wasn’t this a little harsh, after all he was trying to protect the ark. That was his job, or was it? God was not angry with Uzzah, He was angry against him. Against means God was in opposition to what Uzzah was doing. Maybe they forgot how to transport the ark, but God told them specifically that it was to be carried, not placed on a cart, even if it was new, or pulled by oxen. If there were no oxen, they wouldn’t have stumbled, because the cart wouldn’t have hit a ditch, therefore Uzzah would not have been struck dead.
It reminds me of the first day I let my son drive to school. I told him “no other kids in the car, straight there and straight back” That afternoon I got a call that my son was in an accident. He didn’t listen to the rules. He said,” She missed the bus, what was I supposed to do, just let her sit there?” His heart was in a good place, but his head was not. He disobeyed and therefore suffered the consequences. Thankfully it was the car that was killed that day. Uzzah was trying to do the “right” thing too, he was protecting the ark, just not in the right way!
God’s rules are for our benefit. They are made out of love. They are made for our protection, and for our safety. We may not always feel the love, or feel like listening to them, or even remember them, but none the less they exist, and they existed that day. And unfortunately, though they thought they were honoring God that day singing and dancing with all their might, they forgot the most important honor that God sought: Obedience, obedience in how to transport the ark. David must have gone home and read up on it, because when he brought the ark from Obed-Edom’s house to the City of David, the ark was being carried (v13).
It is always good to learn from our mistakes, but it is better not to make them in the first place, our pain and hardship that comes from one moment of disobedience could be a price we are not willing to pay, had we known beforehand.
Psalm 60: 9-12 (MEV)
Who will bring me into the fortified city? Who will lead me into Edom? You, O God, have You not cast us off? And You O God, did not go out with our armies. Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is worthless. Though God we will do valiantly, for He will tread down our enemies.
Sometime it feels that God is not with me, that He is displeased with me, that He is far away. I heard Dr. Phil say this week that feelings are not facts, and as soon as we realize that, the easier it will be to overcome our feelings.
Another reason I may not feel the closeness of God is because I have moved, not God. Perhaps I get so comfortable with God’s help that I no longer realize that I have shifted to doing things in my own strength and power, or perhaps with the help of others. It is when my focus shifts from God, to me, that God may pull back and let me go forward without Him. Unfortunately, David was in a battle when he realized God wasn’t with him. I could be in a battle as well, just as fierce but in a different way. But just as quickly as I turn my focus back on God, and start to do things His way, I will begin to feel His presence again. No, it may not be a warm fuzzy feeling that we sometimes get, but it may be wisdom to change the way I approach something or perceive it differently to enable me to have victory over it because I see it from a different perspective. God will give me victory over circumstances, but only if I do it His way and not my way. When will I learn to go to God first, instead of when all my other options have proven ineffective? Also, I must learn to be patient and wait for God’s timing. I think that is the hardest thing to learn. As we read the scriptures, we learn these small techniques to help us along the way. Small in action, but hard as heck to do!
Acts 23:1-2 (MEV):
Paul looked at the Sanhedrin and said, “Brothers, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” The high priest Ananias ordered those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth.
My mother must have been the high priest in our home. She was always striking me on the mouth when I said something offensive to her. No one likes to hear someone saying something against their beliefs. Paul had a good grounding in the Word and a strong belief system. In Chapter 20 :22-24, Paul knew that imprisonment and afflictions awaited him, but did not let it deter him. No matter what, Paul was going to testify about the gospel of the grace of God.
In 1 Chronicles 10:14a, it says Saul died because of his unfaithful deeds against the Lord, because of his failure to keep the word of the Lord, and because he sought to consult the spirit of divination but did not seek the Lord.
When much dissension arose, fearing that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, the commander ordered the soldiers to go down and take him from them by force and bring him into the barracks.
Acts 23: 23
Then he summoned two centurions and said,” Prepare two hundred infantrymen, seventy mounted soldiers, and two hundred light infantrymen with spears to go to Caesarea at the third hour of the night. And provide mounts so Paul may ride and take him safely to Felix the governor.
Even I can see the difference in how God responds to those who obey his commands and those who do not. Saul could have repented and changed his way, but the power went to his head. He wanted to be the greatest, so God handed him over to his enemies. Paul, on the other hand, started out as Saul, but learned from the error of his ways. Saul became Paul and never looked back. He did not waver in his faith, nor in his teaching of the truth. The Way became his way, his focus! Therefore, God rescued him over and over so that he could continue preaching the Word and bringing people into the kingdom. It is hard, and sometime dangerous to share our faith with others, but if I have a faith that is unshakable, I will have the courage and the boldness of Paul not to let it deter me.
Dear Most Holy God, your ways are higher than the world’s ways by a long shot. The world says Christians are weak and use You as a crutch, but that is not true. It is hard to obey all your standards. It is hard to stand out and be separate. But please allow your Holy Spirit to help me each step of the way. I don’t want to go anywhere without You by my side. I long to be under the umbrella of your protection. Please help me O God to walk close to you each step of my day! In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN!