Friday, April 11, 2014

The Uzzah Conflict

Reading 2 Samuel chapter 6 this morning and looking at the life of David. In this chapter we see aspects of our individual relationships to God and his manifestation of His character to people. God's holiness, His grace and people's reactions... David in particular.

"David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. 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 and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. And Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart, with the ark of God, and Ahio went before the ark." - 2 Samuel 6:1-4 ESV

Happy. Happy. Everyone is happy but David uses the wrong method to transport the Ark.

"And David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the LORD, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God. And David was angry because the LORD had broken out against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzzah to this day.

And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and he said, 'How can the ark of the LORD come to me?'

So David was not willing to take the ark of the LORD into the city of David. But David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite." - 2 Samuel 6:5-10 ESV

In one way David's reaction is shocking... and understandable... David had a relationship with God and this was a breach in that relationship. David's words are interesting.

'How can the ark of the LORD come to me?'

Indeed. What just happened? David knew God and yet what happened to Uzzah happened on David's watch.

"And the ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the LORD blessed Obed-edom and all his household. And it was told King David, "The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God." So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing. And when those who bore the ark of the LORD had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal. And David danced before the LORD with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the horn." - 2 Samuel 6:11-15 ESV

David changed His method. Now the Ark was carried by people as it should be and David's relationship with God resumed but it is not clear that David was healed from what happened or understood it.

Then Michal, Saul's daugther, enters the picture. She is a great picture of a man made expectation of reward. Saul's 'gift' to David. David's Earthly claim to royalty apart from God's promise. A personification of his flirtation with ambition.

"As the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, and she despised him in her heart...

And David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, 'How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants' female servants, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!' " - 2 Samuel 6:16, 20 ESV

She neither understood David's conflict or his joy. The outward trapping of Christianity or spirituality never do.

I don't think David processed what happened to Uzzah until later.

This passage David wrote many years later comes to mind.

"Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." - Psalms 51:2-5 ESV

In these verses we see the complete separation of our relationship to God and the one we have with everyone else.

Grace needs no man's hand to steady it. If the presence of God it carried by men (plural) in the method it was designed to be carried then there is a great capacity for joy and mobility. Blessing is the result of God's presence. David saw grace when Obed-Edom's house was being blessed. Blessed even though mistakes were made. Blessed even though David could not process God's holiness and God's dealings with people on an individual level.

No one can receive grace for us... It is a thing an individual must do one on one with God if it is going to happen at all.

Religion kills people. The vehicle is wrong even if the sentiment is right. Religion puts people in positions where the Ark looks like it needs help. God doesn't need our help.

Perceptions of how we need to look outwardly will only mock us and ignore our inner conflict. Spirituality exists alone before God but His presence is carried by more than one man... each one with an individual portion and perspective that is slightly different. They all see the Ark from a different angle. Same Ark but different vantage points.

Do you have an 'Uzzah Conflict'? I have had mine. There might be ones waiting for me down the road. The presence of God is waiting to be a blessing. That presence can only be approached and transported on the basis of grace. There is no other method.

By God's grace we can dance and sing before the moving work of God with understanding and great joy... let self awareness go out the window... clean and holy now as we dance alone and together in God's presence.


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