They were playing with fire . . . and someone got burned. The action that resulted in the consequence was not the root cause . . . instead, disaster was waiting to happen because they were loose with the ways of God. It was a note in my study Bible that pointed it out.
I’m reading in 2Samuel 6 this morning . . . the story of Uzzah putting his hand on the ark of God . . . and God striking him down because of it. Seems kind of harsh. No malintent. The oxen stumbled . . . the cart dipped . . . the ark wobbled . . . instinctively, Uzzah reaches out to steady the ark. Bam! Uzzah’s on the ground . . . David’s upset . . . project “Bring the Ark to Jerusalem” is halted in its tracks.
Ok . . . so its not like the LORD hadn’t made it clear through Moses that when transporting the articles of the tent of meeting (that includes the ark) that “they must not touch the holy things, lest they die” (Num. 4:15). But, come on, it was going to fall over! What’s a guy supposed to do?
But, as the note in my Bible, points out, the real issue was in how they chose to transport the ark of the covenant . . .
And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale-judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the LORD of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim. And they carried the ark of God on a new cart . . . (2Samuel 6:2-3a ESV)
Yeah it was new cart . . . a clean cart . . . but that’s not how they were to transport the place where the glory of God resided . . . that upon which the Majesty of Heaven inhabited. The ark was to be carried by the Levites using poles placed through rings on the sides of the ark (Ex. 25:14-15). So where did the idea of using a cart pulled by oxen come from? The Philistines. That’s how they returned the ark to Israel after they realized the presence of God in their midst wasn’t working for them (1Sam. 6:7). They were using the methods deemed reasonable by people who were not the people of God.
That was the fire David & Co. were playing with . . . being careless concerning the holiness of God. Though they sought to worship the true God . . . they didn’t discern the holiness of the God they worshiped. They set themselves up for failure . . . and Uzzah was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
And I’m thinking it’s a warning to those of us invited into the Holy of Holies through the blood of Jesus . . . for us who have perhaps become somewhat familiar with hanging out in the presence of God . . . for us who might take our cue from the world in how to approach the God of heaven.
Don’t play with fire . . .
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:28-29 ESV)
Though Jesus would call me ‘friend” . . . though I have been adopted as God’s child and through the Spirit can call to Him, “Daddy Father” . . . though I am clothed with the righteousness of Christ . . . yet He is still God . . . Holy, Holy, Holy God.
. . . you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. . . . as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (2Peter 2:5, 1:15-16 ESV)
Father, You are holy . . . keep me from regarding You as anything less . . . keep me from playing with fire . . . by Your grace . . . for Your glory . . .