Ok..I’ll admit it..there’s a TON I don’t understand about God. There are times when reading His Word frustrates me. And as a pastor, well, I’m not supposed to say that. I’m supposed to talk about how every encounter with the Bible is life-changing, with clouds parting and angelic beings whispering deeper insights into my ears..all for me to share with those who will listen.
But..well..some days God’s justice and His grace are both frustrating.
Yesterday we were reading 2 Samuel 6; the story is about David and the Israelite troops returning the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem (yeah, you remember it from Raiders of the Lost Ark).
Now, they began the journey all wrong by rolling it back on a cart which wasn’t the way God had instructed for it to be transported. Exodus 37:5 and Numbers 4:15 both describe that the Ark was to be carried with specific poles. So, strike one.. At some point as they were traveling, one of the oxen pulling the cart stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the Ark. This angered the Lord and He struck Uzzah dead on the spot.
Everyone is singing, dancing, playing instruments to the Lord..they are worshiping full force as they return the Ark.
It’s a mobile party filled with happy folks who are celebrating God’s goodness and provision.
but a stupid animal stumbles..
the holy Ark of God appears as if it may fall over..
a man with pure motives and good intentions reaches out, maybe even by instinct, to protect the Ark from falling..
and it ANGERS God?!?!?!
so much so that He kills the man on the spot!?!?!
- Is Uzzah in heaven?
- How does this display of God’s anger affect the others who witness this?
- Will they forever be fearful of making a mistake?
- Even making a mistake by doing what appears to be the right thing to do?
- It certainly affects David..
- And how do we interpret this today?
I want to follow after God..
I want to please Him..
I want to have a healthy fear of Him..
But I want to feel secure that God won’t smite me while I try to do what I THINK He’s called me to do..
It’s a crazy story..and I feel like I understand all of the Sunday School answers that accommodate this passage..like:
- it’s more important to obey God than react to a situation..
- and we can’t trust our own motives..
- and ignorance of the Law is no excuse..
But I have to admit..it all feels cold after reading what happened to Uzzah.