Summary: Has grace become common?
How many of us have this same experience with the beauty of grace. God graciously gives us freedom from the bondage of sin. It’s grace that is beyond human description. But God continues to pour upon our salvation gifts like Scripture, prayer, the church, our families, friends, jobs, and possessions. And these are just a few of the many we could count. But over time, what happens to each of these grace-filled gifts? Over and over again, we take them for ourselves and slowly begin to live as if they are merely common. No longer are they experienced with the splendor intended by their Giver. Instead, they become a normal, ho-hum, lackluster part of our lives.
There are many Scripture passages that illustrate this point well. But none more than what we read in 2 Samuel 6. It’s the story about Uzzah’s death when he touched the ark of the covenant. Whenever I read this passage, it stops me in my tracks. It’s a story that if you were reading for the first time, you think you know where it’s going but then shock and awe comes over you. The unexpected happens. It leaves me scratching my head, asking, “What in the world was God thinking?”
BIG IDEA: GRACE BECOMES AN IDOL WHEN WE CEASE TO ACKNOWLEDGE IT AS HOLY
- If you were reading this for the first time…you think you know where it’s going…but then shock and awe…What?...What in the world is going on passages? This passage as always hit me as odd…intrigued me…why did Uzzah have to die?
Saul had died at the hand of the Philistines…and David who had already been anointed king now became king.
David Defeats the Philistines…notice 5:17ff This may be David’s biggest lesson
The Children of Israel still lacked something…the ark of the covenant
- Wasn’t enough to have a geographical center to the nation…but God’s presence
The word Ark means “chest or box.” 3 ¾ (45”) feet long and 2 ¼ (27”) feet wide…Acacai wood. This box was overlaid in pure gold. It was topped by a golden grate called the Mercy Seat. One either side of the Mercy Seat, were two golden cherubim.
Inside the Ark were a golden pot of manna; Aaron’s rod that budded and the two tables of the Law that were given to Moses at Mount Sinai.
So why the ark? Ex. 25 – There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel. Exodus 25:22 It was here that God promised to meet with His people.
Not more historical box…
Most significant physical representation of God’s presence…symbol of presence, holiness, grace and lamb yet to come…
Very clear instructions about how to treat it…Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) – High Priest – sprinkled blood of the lamb… They collapsed the tent over the ark
- It was holy… Raiders of the Lost Ark – Nazi’s look inside the Ark – Flesh melts
- That was the overall senses…Numbers 4:15 NO TOUCH, NO LOOK, CARRIED BY CERTAIN MEN
But what happened?
Slowly it became a Rabbit’s Foot (good luck charm)… You see, way back in the days of Eli, some 75 years earlier, sons of Eli (evil men) take the ark into battle to assure victory…
Captured by Philistines – put in temple of gods (Dagon) and it messed with them and they loaded on cart and took it to Israel and eventually forgotten…However, the God punished the Philistines all the time the Ark was in their possession, 1 Sam. 5-6. Took back to Israel to the house of Abinadab…for 20 years he had the ark…
- So, after 75 years, David is about to take Israel and lead them to go after God.
6:3 – New Cart (ways of the pagans)
vs. 5 – David threw a party…fanfare…marching band…crazy celebration…God is coming home baby…
But then the unexpected happens…
Vs. 6 – threshing floor… A small but significant fact: The oxen stumbled on the THRESHING FLOOR – the most level part of the trip
Vs. 8 – David was angry at the Lord…this didn’t make sense…didn’t seem fair…
Uzzah was doing God a favor… Nothing wrong intention… Good intention is not to be equated with proper approach to God….
Yet at least David takes 90 days to ponder his mistake. (at the house of Obed-edom the Gittite)….
Notice the contrasts of this story…
- David goes from anger to fear…(one misplaced one appropriate)
- They carried the ark (vs. 13)…He copied the philistine plan…
…2nd attempt was scary ***Pole bearers called in sick
- Every 6 steps they sacrificed (1 Chronicles 15)