Uzzah and God’s Mercy and Justice

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I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Many people think God was dealing harshly with Uzzah when he steadied the ark of the covenant, while it was being moved, but if we look carefully we will see God’s mercy even in His justice.

So they set 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, drove the new cart. 2 Samuel 6:3 NKJV

Do you already see a problem here? They are moving the ark on a cart. This is not how God instructed for it to be carried. That is how the philistines carried it when they returned it. How did God tell Israel to move the ark?

And the children of the Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders, by its poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord. 1 Chronicles 15:15 NKJV

The Israelites knew better than to carry the ark on a cart. They knew it was to be carried on two poles by the levite priests. Now here is where we see God’s mercy and reasonable thinking. Earlier when the Philistines returned the ark they put in on a cart, and let the oxen carry it back to the Israel camp. None of them were struck dead. God knew they did not know any better. God is always merciful when there is a lack of information and people are doing the best they can. The same merciful God in the New Testament Who, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent,” is the same merciful God of the Old Testament. God does not hold us accountable for things we do not know.

However Uzzah knew better and never should have driven the cart to begin with.

And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand
to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God. 2 Samuel 6:6-7 KJV

While God was merciful towards the Philistines who acted out of ignorance, but with good intention, God held Uzzah accountable, who made a mistake many make today. Instead of worshiping God according to God’s law, Uzzah thought he could imitate the world and worship God the way everyone else does. After all, what difference does it make if the ark is on a cart or two poles? Doesn’t really matter does it? Eve didn’t think it really mattered which tree she ate from. What was the big deal? A tree is a tree, right? So many say today, what difference does a day make, Sunday or Saturday? A day is a day, right? Well apparently it did make a difference to God if it was a cart or a pole, just like it mattered which tree Eve ate from, and there is a difference between the seventh day and the first day.

Upon Uzzah rested the greater guilt of presumption. Transgression of God’s law had lessened his sense of its sacredness, and with unconfessed sins upon him he had, in face of the divine prohibition, presumed to touch the symbol of God’s presence. God can accept no partial obedience, no lax way of treating His commandments. By the judgment upon Uzzah He designed to impress upon all Israel the importance of giving strict heed to His requirements. Thus the death of that one man, by leading the people to repentance, might prevent the necessity of inflicting judgments upon thousands. –Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, Page 706.

Now remember that even though Moses had to die because of his sin, God was still merciful and gave him eternal life. I imagine that God’s mercy may still save Uzzah at the ressurection as well. So even this severe act of justice was a merciful act, leading many people to repentance so thousands may be saved as well.

Even when God is just He is still merciful. In Mercy God winks at the ignorance of the world. In mercy God gives us warning and opportunity to follow His instructions on how to worship Him, instead of worshiping the custioms of the world.

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here. 

Matthew 24; Secret Rapture

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Did Jesus Refer to a Secret Rapture?

 

But as the days of Noe [were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two [women shall be] grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  Matthew 24:37-41

 

  

While the Bible never speaks or even alludes to a secret rapture, some have tried to twist Matthew 24:37-41 around to where it sounds like a secret rapture. Two are in the field, one is taken the other is left. They try to make it sound like the one being taken is secretly taken away. However the passage very clearly says, that as it was in the days of Noah so shall it be at the coming of the Son of man, when the flood came and took them all away. Who was taken away at the flood? The wicked were taken away and destroyed while the righteous inherited the earth. Likewise when Christ returns the wicked will be taken away and destroyed while the righteous inherit the New Earth.  It clearly is not the righteous who are taken away, but the wicked.

Thoughts on Loved and Loving: John’s Epistles Lessons 11 and 12

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I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Friday’s section of this week’s SS Lesson asks the question, “What do you do with the question of “calling sin by its right name”? How can we deal with wayward members without being judgmental or condemnatory? At the same time, are we not shirking our Christian duty if we don’t confront brothers or sisters in the church who are doing wrong? How do we deal with this difficult subject?”

 The word of God says, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Isaiah 58:1 However please notice He says show my people their transgression and the house of Jacob their sins. God is not telling us to rebuke those who don’t know better, but those who are in the church, who have a knowledge of the truth. For example, in Exodus 25 and 1 Chronicles 15 we see that only the priests were to carry the ark and that it was to be carried on the poles. When the philistines raided the temple they took the ark back to their own temple. One of the funniest things I have read in the Bible is when their god Dagon kept falling over in front of the ark. Well the philistines decide they don’t want the ark and that they should send it back. How did they do it? Not at all like God had instructed. They handled it and put it on a cart drawn by oxen and sent it back. None of the philistines received any harm even though they did not follow God’s plan in moving the ark. They did not know any better. Years later though David is moving the ark and instead of moving it the way God had said he put in on a cart of oxen like the philistines had done. Uzza touches the ark and is struck dead. Why? Uzza knew better! David gets mad at God when he really should have been mad at himself, because if David had moved the ark the way God had said no harm would have come to Uzza, but no, David did not want to pattern himself after God on this but after the world instead. So God does not reprove those who don’t know better but he does require obedience from those who do. See 1 Chronicles 13

 It is not our mission to tell the world all that they are doing wrong. It is our mission to tell them about a God who loves them. As they form a relationship with Jesus we can teach them here and there as it becomes appropriate more and more about God’s love and His truth. (Isaiah 28:10, Matthew 28:19-20)

 A wise pastor told me a long time ago we are to be conservative towards ourselves and liberal towards others. We can show our wayward brother his error by just living a Christian life! Also I have found that when you pray God will open doors and actually have these “wayward” people ask you what is right and wrong. Wait for God to create opportunities instead of making them ourselves. Jesus says in John 5:17, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” Jesus is saying He works where He sees His Father working and where His Father is creating opportunities to share the truth. Jesus shared the truth only when He knew it could be understood and appreciated. Often times He rebuked people not with His words but with His life which is a much more gentle and valid rebuke than words.

Sure He often rebuked with His words, but please read this from The Desire of Ages, P. 353    “Behold,” said Jesus, “I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Christ Himself did not suppress one word of truth, but He spoke it always in love. He exercised the greatest tact, and thoughtful, kind attention in His intercourse with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He fearlessly denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity, but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes. He wept over Jerusalem, the city He loved, that refused to receive Him, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. They rejected Him, the Saviour, but He regarded them with pitying tenderness, and sorrow so deep that it broke His heart. Every soul was precious in His eyes. While He always bore Himself with divine dignity, He bowed with tenderest regard to every member of the family of God. In all men He saw fallen souls whom it was His mission to save.  

Please check out more of my studies and devotionals at InLightOfTheCross.com