A Dangerous Blessing (video devotional)
Posted on May 9, 2012 - 9:08am in Weekly Devotionals
"David was now afraid of the LORD, and he asked, “How can I ever bring the Ark of the LORD back into my care?” So David decided not to move the Ark of the LORD into the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-edom of Gath. The Ark of the LORD remained there in Obed-edom’s house for three months, and the LORD blessed Obed-edom and his entire household."
2 Samuel 6:9-11
Have you ever seen the Indiana Jones movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark? In it, a group of Nazis try to capture the Ark of the Covenant. When they look inside, all heaven breaks loose! Out of the Ark comes intense light and power which melts the flesh off the people looking inside. They decide not to mess with it.
Something similar happened to David on his way home with that same Ark. A group of people are transporting it back to Jerusalem so that God can be properly worshiped there. One of the oxen stumbles, causing the ark to slip a bit and a guy named Uzzah sticks out his hand to steady it. Rather than being met with a divine sigh of relief, Uzzah gets zapped and falls down dead.
What’s up with that? Uzzah was just trying to help. The problem was that David had failed to transport the Ark correctly in the first place. It was supposed to be moved by Levites carrying it on poles. David opted for the short cut of an ox cart. The reason Uzzah got zapped was that he dared to touch the Ark in the same way he might grab hold of common luggage and the Ark was holy. Actually, the Ark was the one place where God was more present than anywhere else in the world. Despite his good intentions Uzzah was treating God with too much familiarity.
When David saw what happened, he backed off entirely, convinced that getting too near the Ark was a bad thing. He left it at Obed-edom’s house instead of carrying it back to Jerusalem. He wanted to be safe so he left it behind. The curious thing is Obed-edom had his socks, or maybe sandals, blessed off while the Ark stayed at his house.
On the one hand the presence of God is a dangerous thing, on the other it is an amazing blessing. How do we sort this whole thing out?
I think most people who hunger for God want to experience His presence. We want it to be real for us, and are convinced that our lives would be so much better if we could feel Him close by, just as Obed-edom did. However, God is a dangerous blessing in that He can’t just be packaged and handled. When we really get into His presence, we may discover that He will ask us to do uncomfortable things and go into unknown places. We can’t put a handle on Him and carry Him with us. Rather, He expects us to go with Him. And that can be a dangerous thing.
In the movie The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Lucy asks her friend if Aslan, the lion who symbolizes Jesus, is safe. The friend replies, “Oh, he is not safe, but he is good.” The tradeoff for experiencing God’s goodness is trading in our safety for His adventure, and remembering to treat Him as holy. He is, after all, a lion, not a pet cat.
Here are some questions to think on:
1. Have you ever experienced God’s presence? What was it like?
2. How do you strike the right balance between friendship with God and standing in awe of Him?