Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. Galatians 6:7
Timothy Treadwell loved bears. Bears were his life. He wanted to protect them and dispel what he saw as misconceptions regarding these majestic creatures. Treadwell spent thirteen summers living with Grizzly Bears in Alaska. There were documentaries and articles about Timothy and his cause. In October of 2003, after so much time spent with and among Grizzlies, Timothy and his girlfriend were mauled to death by the same bears Timothy loved. Timothy thought he knew these animals. He thought that he was accepted as one of them. Technically, he was right. You see, Grizzly Bears will often attack weaker bears in the pack. At the time of Treadwell’s death, it was during the fall when bears are trying to store as much fat as possible and that year, food was scarce. This lack of food meant the bears were also more aggressive. Timothy got too comfortable and it cost him his life.
There is an expression that goes, “He can’t see the forest for the trees.” What this means is that sometimes, we get too close to something to recognize what it is or the details of what it is. Keep Timothy Treadwell and this expression in mind as we look into Scripture to find someone else who got too comfortable and missed the gravity of the situation.
2 Samuel 6:7 is one of the more difficult Bible passages to understand. Samuel records the event when the Ark of the Covenant was being brought back to Jerusalem and what happened on the way. King David and 30,000 of his chosen men went get the Ark from the home of Abinadab (where it had been for the last twenty years) and bring it to the capitol, Jerusalem.
For a little background, the Ark of the Covenant was THE national treasure of Israel. It contained the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s Staff, and was where the physical presence of YHWH, or Jehovah, or God Himself sat. The lid was sold gold and two cherubim were molded on top and this was called the mercy seat. This was where the presence of God lived. This treasure was captured by the Israel’s enemy, the Philistines and they ended up giving it back. The details of that event are for a whole other time. The Ark spent twenty years at the home of Abinadab. Twenty years. For twenty years, the presence of God lived at Abinadab’s house.
In the book of Exodus, the rules for transporting the Ark can be found. The Ark was to be carried on the shoulders of Levites using the poles that were made for the Ark. Abinadab, as well as his sons, Uzzah and Ahio, were Levites. They knew the rules for transporting the Ark yet they chose to build a new Ox cart and transport the Ark that way. David did not need to bring all those men with him and the Ark should never have been placed on a cart. As they made their way to Jerusalem, Uzzah put his hand out to steady the Ark because the oxen stumbled. As Uzzah’s hand touched the Ark, God struck him dead. … 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.
What was that all about? Why did God kill Uzzah? Uzzah was a Levite; he was in the priestly order. The Levites were charged with the spiritual well-being of the people of Israel. They were keepers and interpreters of the Law of Moses. I guess having the presence of God living in your dining room for twenty years desensitizes you. Uzzah was a little too comfortable and forgot how powerful God’s Word was.
I grew up in a Christian family and I used to feel like Uzzah. God was such a fixture of our family that I got real comfortable with Him. I believe I was too comfortable. I lost sight of who Almighty God was. In the Kevin Smith film, Dogma, the Catholic Church was trying to draw new followers. They created ‘Buddy Christ.’ This image has been used and espoused by retailers and groups ever since as a wink to religion. While Jesus is our friend and brother, he is also our savior and Lord. Too many Christians and non-christians view Jesus as simply ‘Buddy Christ.’
Yes, God loves you; he even likes you! He sent His Son, Jesus to die for you. But do not be deceived, the book of Revelation tells us, “He [Jesus] is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.…” I do not write this to scare you. Let me be clear, God wishes that none face this. The Apostle Peter writes, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
Let us not ignore the power and might of God. Let us not take for granted the reverence He deserves. Uzzah got to comfortable and neglected to remember that God is perfect and Holy and needs to be revered. Christ is our covering and thank God for that. I am sure that I would have stepped out and fallen dead long ago. We get to enjoy this scandal called grace. All we need to do is recognize that Jesus paid it all and all to him we owe. Sin has left a crimson stain that He has washed to be white as snow.
I know that you know this so I submit it only for the some who may not. This story of the young man inspired to do what Jesus would do is and should be a convicting reminder to all who name the name that is above every name, Jesus Christ the Lord. So long as you know that no matter how many things you might do to do the things that Jesus would do you will never do enough of them to be reconciled to your Holy Father in heaven unless it is Jesus Himself doing those things in and through you because you have been confronted with your own sin and trusted in the one who came and died to set you free to live the life of Jesus through you. If you have not done that, I pray that you will. If you have, I pray the you seek the mind of Christ.
Great piece Jason. Thanks for the reminder.
OK I left this comment in the wrong place. It was supposed to be for the WWJD Thanksgiving thing. I don’t seem to be able to cut and paste. Oh well