Daily Devotional October 22, 2020
“For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth” (Psalm 103:11).
A quick look around us reveals chaos of all kinds. We look for someone to blame. And we find an easy target–God. If He’s truly Sovereign, then obviously He could fix this mess...and should. However, I believe that it is not God against whom we should lay this charge, but rather our own lack of ‘fear of God.’ I am convinced that when we treat God with contempt He removes His promised intervention...and leaves us to our own devices. This is not just a problem for those who do not know God. Those of us who call ourselves Christians vehemently and automatically deny the charge, “Of course we don’t treat God with contempt!” But do we dare allow the Holy Spirit to shine His spotlight on our lives to reveal if there is any truth to this idea that we may in fact be guilty of treating God with less respect than He requires?
Showing contempt can be defined as valuing something as worthless, or withholding consideration; it can also be defined as disrespectful, such as in a court of law. The Bible recounts a story of God’s dealing with people who showed Him contempt even while in the process of reestablishing God’s rightful place among His people. The Ark of God had been captured during a battle with the Philistines and for months they paid the consequence of a plague. They decided that the only thing to do was return the Ark to the Israelites. The Israelites were of course overjoyed, but curiosity got the better of some of them. God struck down seventy men who chose to look inside the Ark. The residents of Beth Shemesh, now fearful, contacted the people of Kiriath Jearim. The Ark was then taken to Abinadab’s house where Eleazar was given the role of priestly oversight and there it stayed for twenty years; Abinadab’s household enjoyed God’s blessings during this time (1 Samuel 6).
After David became king and established Jerusalem as the royal city, he decided to move the Ark of God. 30,000 young men were gathered, a new cart was built, musicians were engaged and two of Abinadab’s sons walked with the Ark–both priests, Ahio lead the way and Uzzah followed. But at the threshing floor of Nakon, the oxen stumbled so Uzzah instinctively put out his hand to steady the Ark. He was instantly killed, much to the shock and disbelief of everyone in the procession. What had been his great fault for which God had killed him? His lack of reverence. This was no mere piece of furniture he was moving. Could it be that after twenty years of having lived with the Ark of God, Uzzah had become overly familiar? David panics and gets angry. It is obvious that his anger isn’t directed at Uzzah, but at God Himself. After all the pains David had taken to respectfully move the Ark, it hadn’t been enough! He leaves the Ark of God with Obed-Edom fearful of what would happen if he attempted to move it to Jerusalem. But within three months, David comes back with a new plan. This time he leaves nothing to chance. The Ark of God, like God Himself, must be treated with the utmost respect. This time priests were assigned to carry the Ark and for every six steps they took, David made an offering of a bull and a calf, until it reach the special tent David had made for it (2 Samuel 6).
There is an old saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt,” and Uzzah proved the saying to be true. Believers must actively work against becoming overly familiar with God. We enjoy a privileged space in history following the incarnation. We can come into God’s very throne room with confidence in our times of prayer...no sacrifice is required. We are assured of forgiveness because of Christ’s redemptive work. I can’t help but wonder, however, if our assurance and confidence has eroded our fear of God, causing us to treat Him irreverently...maybe even as not worthy of our due consideration. If this is the case, and the evidence appears overwhelming that it is, we need look no further than the mirror to find the reason for the chaos that surrounds us. Family of God, I want to encourage you today to make every effort to renew your relationship and fear of God–He is a friend, but He is also holy; a loving father and a jealous God; patient, yet swift to bring justice. We can have confidence and assurance in His love and forgiveness, but only as we remember to offer Him the respect and worship He requires.
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!