Each person has a group of people or certain individuals that they can relate to. In high school maybe you were a part of the athletic crowd and couldn’t really understand the way the artsy group viewed abstract paintings. Or perhaps you related best to other musicians who could be emotionally moved by an arrangement but had trouble understanding the emotional comradery associated with athletics and pranks. Whatever your group, current or past, you relate to people you believe have the same experiences or interests as you.
As we look to the Bible, it is full of people (in case you were unaware). The people in the Bible are real, historical figures and their stories are recorded for multiple reasons. We have these stories so that we can better understand God and his character, learn truths to apply to our lives, and remind us that there are others that struggled with the same issues that we struggle with today. Many times, within a single story, we have multiple groups of people involved, giving us the opportunity to see ourselves in different roles and points in our lives.
Let’s look at a story that has 3 main, human, characters.
1 Chronicles 13 tells an interesting story of when David, the newly appointed king of Israel, was transporting the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark had been away from Jerusalem. The old king, Saul, had not sought to bring the Ark back to its home, God’s Holy City. David believed this to be a crucial start to his kingship.
We are going to pick up the story when the Ark is in transit to Jerusalem. It has been placed on a cart that is being driven by Uzzah and his brother, Ahio. We then get to verses 9 &10:
“And when they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzzah put out his hand to take hold of the ark, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark, and he died there before God.”
Wow, crazy. Uzzah, trying to save the ark, was struck down dead. Right there. Is this rash? Harsh? Unmerciful? Well, there is something you should know.
The mode of transportation that David had chosen was not the way God told them to move it. In fact, they were to have Levites carrying the ark with poles. So where did this start? Did it start with the ox stumbling or did it start far before that?
Was Uzzah doing what was right? Yes, and no. He was protecting God’s honor by not allowing the ark to hit the ground. But he was also directly disobeying God by touching the ark. This had been established back in Numbers 4:15 when God gave Israel the original instructions.
Can you relate to Uzzah? What do you mean you have never been struck down dead on the spot for disobeying God? Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you can’t relate. Have you been under the impression that you were doing something good but come to find out, it wasn’t?
My wife and I have a one year old son that just started pre-school this past month. It just so happens that God had placed my wife as the Director of this pre-school program. The first day of “school” came. I knew it was a big day for both my wife and son. So, I decided to do something good. My wife had gone to the school early to make sure everything was in order and I was left with the responsibility of getting our son to school by 8:45am. What would be better on a first day of school than a 3-count chick-n-minis and a frosted lemonade from Chick-Fil-A? Umm, nothing!
So I was a good husband and got that wonderful breakfast for my wife. There was a small problem though. We left the house at 8:38am (I remember it vividly) and got to the church right around 9:00am (that would be 15 minutes late…Yeah). The goodness of the gift was lost in the blatant disregard for the simple task of getting him to school at 8:45am.
Maybe you have a story like this. If you are a male and are married then I am sure you have one very similar to this. But how might this relate to us and God in the present day?
How often do we replace God with “good things?” We make the choice to watch the morning news, but don’t open the Bible in the morning. We make the choice to binge-watch a show on Netflix, maybe even skipping a meal. When was the last time you binge-read the Bible, even skipping a meal (that’s called Fasting by the way)? We decorate our homes with Scripture, but we rarely open our home to be used by God. We hang crosses from our rear-view mirrors thinking that will suffice as being on mission for us.
Are there good things, actions, and people in your life that are ultimately keeping you from obeying God? What might be the reason God would strike you down dead in the moment?
Rely on the grace of Jesus, the quickness of the Father to forgive to all who ask, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The cross that Jesus bore made it possible for us to make mistakes and yet still be counted as children of God. But we must not seek to continue in our failures, for God gives us the ability to pursue purity and perfection. Let us not settle for good in our lives when we can have the Greatness of God.
In Christ’s Love,