Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Convo with Pastor - 2 Samuel 6:6-7

the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand

and steadied the Ark of God.
Then the Lord's anger was aroused against Uzzah,
and God struck him down because of this
2 Samuel 6:6-7
Stange story, huh?
The oxen stumbled. The Ark teetered. Most people assume that Uzzah did a noble thing (catch the Ark) and that God did a callous thing (struck Uzzah down). No wonder people think that "the God of the Old Testament" is heartless, huh?
But our question should be, Why do we so callously ignore God's holiness?
Do you remember the old Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer stop-animation film? Do you remember the Abominable Snow Man? For 95% of the movie, this monster was fierce, fanged, and independent ... but as we are told at the end, the poor fellow just had a toothache. Now "the Bumble" was the friendly giant who put the star on top of the Christmas tree.
That's how David and his people (and too many of us) treat God.
On top of the Ark of the Covenant was God's mercy seat. God said, until you build a temple, I will meet with you here. When the Ark moved, the blessing was that God and His presence moved with them. Therefore, God made it abundantly clear to Israel how to treat the Ark -- and his presence. But David and his crew, including Uzzah, treated God as if he were the toothless Bumble being paraded into town. Essentially, the humans were the victors, and God was their big furry protector.
No! Holiness!
God in his grace was pleased to dwell with his people! He showed that grace again when the Son of God came in person to dwell with us in flesh! However, in both stories, humanity treated the presence of God with flagrant irreverence. The message of this story is that we must never forget our place ...
  • God is creator. We are clay.
  • He is holy. We are human.
  • He is awesome. We need to fall down in worship.
  • He is eternal. We are mortal.
  • He is God. We are not.
As Mr. Beaver said to Lucy about the Lion, Aslan -- the Christ Figure -- in C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, "He is not a tame lion ... but he is good."
In Christ's Love,
a guy who doesn't want to try
to turn a lion into a house cat
(in the long run, it won't be good for either of us)

I know that God is not 'a tame lion' and I know he is good. However, It seems that Uzzah made an honest mistake ... the oxen stumbled, he reached out his hand to steady the ark.  Could it have simply been reflex? He cares for it. Wants it to be safe. Not sure if the oxen are going to stumble again.  Yes - God is holy, awesome, eternal, ... But we are human. We make mistakes.  I see it as a reflex similar to the one when you are driving and have to hit the brakes and your 'mom arm' shoots out to keep the passenger safely in their seat.  A simple reflex. Not an act of treating God as a big furry protector.  

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Speak gently. carefully. thoughtfully. graciously. humbly.

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