August 22, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Gina Han, Gracepoint Berkeley

2 Samuel 6:6-8 “In a way that seems especially foreign to present-day readers, the unfortunate Uzzah illustrates the holiness of God present in the ark.  ‘To touch the ark is to impinge on God’s holiness, to draw too close and presume too much.’  The Israelites have not taken his power and holiness seriously enough, and now David is left with the question (6:9): ‘How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?’ The text implies that the ark (and hence God’s presence) can and will come into David’s life, but his power and holiness come with it.  Such warnings are healthy, indeed needed, in order to protect God’s people from tendencies to trivialize God’s holiness.”[1]

What was offensive about Uzzah’s act of taking “hold of the ark of God”? Uzzah would have known that he was not to get too close to the ark. By him taking hold of the ark of God, he was presuming upon God, that without him, the ark would have fallen, that God would not have been able to protect the ark, that Uzzah was needed to do this thing. That what he needed to do was more important than who he was before God’s holiness. He was presuming his own importance, that he was needed by God to do this thing, when God’s utmost reality and values had to do with His holiness. It doesn’t matter what I think I can do, I am really not needed. God can raise up the stones to cry out, it doesn’t matter if I am a “son of Abraham” (Luke 3:8). God only desires to use me and include me, out of his mercy and compassion, that wants to include me and bring me to come and share in His happiness. I am not needed for God’s work, my utmost concern in all things needs to be His holiness, instead of any presumption of myself, instead of any desire to just be okay with myself as I do things to serve, and reduce God down to something I just take care of as I would any other part of my schedule, without that awareness of His holiness in all that I do.
What might be the significance of Uzzah being the son of Abinadab, at whose house the ark had been kept? He knew the rules, standards of holiness of the ark of God. He knew them backwards and forwards and blindfolded. Perhaps he got used to it, he just watched his father and all he did, but he never owned why he did the things he did for himself – so when he was the one guiding the ark, he hadn’t internalized for himself God’s holiness, and so he directly and blatantly raised his hand against God’s holiness. So he knew…but he somehow was able to take it for granted, so that this was not his reality, this awareness of God. He was able to live with God’s holiness and keep his attitude in check all this time the ark was in his home, but maybe only because he was just following along well for a time, until it was finally shown where his heart really was.
What are some ways in which I lack appreciation for God’s holiness? I think the ways I have not dealt with my character shows a lack of appreciation for God’s holiness. Thinking that it will be okay if I give in at this moment to just emotionally indulging in the discouraging thoughts I am having, or expressing my anger or frustration or annoyance, than to think about God’s honor, His commands, His values for how I treat others, His values over how I spend my time. I cannot just think that my personality is a certain way, I just have certain tendencies, and not have that urgency to change, in light of God’s holiness.  In every situation, the most important thing is not what I need to do to fix that situation, or to fulfill my own need to act out in a certain way, to hold onto my control mentality, but to think about God’s honor and values and what He would have me do, to view that situation from God’s perspective, and what reaction in me is most honoring to Him.
Notice that Michal was actually anxious to protect the dignity of her husband, and felt that he was undermining his own image as the new king with his public dancing (and the manner of it).  Why was her concern not conveyed?
Because of her sarcasm and tone and harshness of her words. She just let her words go, without filtering out how her words would sound, how they would be received, and how they would make David feel. She did not think about if her words were honoring to God. She probably just did not think, and gave into her own emotions of the moment instead of having emotional control and maturity, but because of that, she had to face the consequences that we see in verse 23, that their marital relationship was pretty much over after this.
Reflect on the power of hurtful or disdainful words to destroy relationships.  How careful am I with my words, especially towards people close to me?
When I refrain from my immediate response with my words, there is often peace in my relationships; versus the times when I just speak without tailoring or filtering my words or tone to how they will be received by the other party, which is usually with someone close to me, usually my husband or close friends. When I am not careful with my words, the damage that I need to undo with all the hurt and misunderstandings I’ve inflicted is great, and there are real consequences to pay. That’s why God’s command is to submit out of reverence for Him, to be gentle, kind, meek, to consider others more important than myself and my own feelings, my own pride that I see welling up in me. I need to honor and obey God’s values of humility, submission and reverence, so that I do not do this kind of untold damage with my words. It’s interesting that this incident of Uzzah’s disregard for God’s holiness is coupled in the same chapter with Michal and her disregard also for God’s holiness, not with her hand, but with her words. I am disregarding God’s holy values and standards, when I choose to use my words to satisfy my own pride over God’s values and obeying His commands, and so need to really embrace that this is one way in which I need to really honor and obey God’s holiness and values.
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