Rev. Dr. Dusty Pruitt Rotating Header Image

Pearls 8/8/16

THE PRESENCE OF GOD_

 

What really happened to Uzzah, the man who put forth his hand to steady

the ark of God and lost his life?  Why would coming into the presence of

a loving God kill a person?  Certainly we cannot know for sure what

happened, since the ark of the covenant is a lost relic of the ancient

Hebrews.  But the ancient Israelites believed that one could not see God

and live, and there was a very strict code about the touching of holy

objects.  In the ark of the covenant was a jar of manna (the food God

gave the Israelites), Aaron’s rod that was so instrumental in freeing

the Israelites from the Egyptians, and the tablets of stone God gave

Moses on the mountain (Hebrews 9:4).  These were holy things.  But it

was thought that something of the very presence of God was dwelling in

the ark; therefore, if a human being touched it, the power would kill

them.  The concept is not a moral one, but a natural fact, much as we as

human beings today understand that if we touch an electrically charged

line, it will kill us.

 

What we can glean from this part of the story is that we need not become

careless about the presence of God in our midst.  God is certainly

dwelling with us in our worship.  People who come in the front door feel

God’s presence from the beginning.  It feels safe, and somewhat

disconcerting at the same time.  The safe part is that MCC is

a haven, a hiding place where we can get our batteries recharged and our

spiritual food for the week.  We can get our wounds healed and our needs

met.  The disconcerting part is God’s presence.  Our first understanding

of God, Like Isaiah in chapter 6 of his book, is that God is awesome and

powerful, before whom we seem as insignificant as ants.  We ought not

become complacent or careless about God’s power and presence among us.

 

Fortunately, that’s not the whole story.  After Uzzah’s death, King

David at first rejects the ark of the covenant and puts it outside the

city at the home of Obed-edom the Gittite.  But after three months it

becomes clear that the presence of the ark is blessing this foreigner.

So King David goes to the house of Obed-edom and with joy brings the ark

of God into the place it belongs.

 

We, too, can be a little frightened when we realize the awesome power of

the Lord, but like David, when we see the blessings God’s presence and

power have on others, we can put God joyfully in God’s rightful place.

The story tells how the ark of God was borne to its rightful place with

shouting, dancing, banqueting, and great rejoicing.  So, too, when we

put God in the rightful place in our lives, there come spiritual

feasting, singing, dancing, and great joy.  So the second part of the

story illustrates that this God, the one who possesses the power to

create the universe so vast,so much power that could even destroy us,

loves to dwell with us and to bless us.

This IS cause for great joy!  Let us rejoice today!

 

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