Links Daily Devotional

No Trifling God, Part 2

The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act. (2 Samuel 6:7, NIV)

A number of months ago, I stood on the first tee at a Links Fellowship leaders event with three other guys who had also never seen the course before. We had some questions.

This was one of those holes where, because of a large mound on the left and cart path on the right, it was hard to get a sense of distance. How far was it to the end of the fairway? And could you take it over the mound?

We all made our best observations and went with it. Some survived, one did not.

This scene is a remarkable help in looking at one of the more troubling accounts of Scripture.

In 2 Samuel, after David had taken over as king and established his stronghold at the City of David, it was time to return to Jerusalem the ark of the Lord (which you may know of as the ark of the covenant). The people celebrated this great symbolic act of God’s restoration among his people.

But on the road between Baalah to the Great City something went terribly wrong. The cart on which the ark was riding began to tip when one of the oxen stumbled, and the ark itself began to slide to the ground. In that moment, a man named Uzzah, who was accompanying the cart, reached out and touched the ark—a perfectly natural reaction.

However, according to the Law of God, no person was to touch the ark. It was carried from place to place by acacia poles placed through rings on its sides, so that no human hands came into contact with the ark. Uzzah, in his effort to keep the ark from falling off the cart, had committed a serious irreverence. In fact, as we read on, we discover that Uzzah’s irreverence was fatal: “Therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.”

For what? we might ask in all consternation. For an accident? For ignorance? Where in the midst of this is the supposed love of God?

In the same way that one of my partners hit a “perfect” shot on the unfamiliar hole yet never found his ball, Uzzah paid a monumental price for his “irreverent act.” Do you see, though, that Uzzah may very well have not had irreverence in his heart? He had not set out to “show up” God any more than my golf partner had set out to “show up” the designer of the hole. Both had done what seemed right. But what seems right is not necessarily right.

Now here is what is absolutely right: God. When we trust God, we recognize that his forgiveness is ever in place. He did not promise through his Son Jesus to dismiss us from the consequences of our sins, even our “well-meaning” ones. What he did promise was that we would be forgiven of our sins—they would not end our eternal hope before him.

That is the God who is “gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.” Sometimes we may pay monumental prices for our irreverent acts—and the prices we pay may indeed be monuments to others who come after us, discouraging them from such sin. But we can believe that God knows what is good and right and true, over and above our own impressions. He will act as he wills, but always in love as he has established and ordained it.

Jeff Hopper

December 4, 2012

Copyright 2012 Links Players International

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