Sunday, March 31, 2019 -
This morning, in my reading through the Scriptures, I came to the lengthy genealogies found in the opening 15 chapters of I Chronicles. I used the term with Kathie when I emailed her that I was “trudging” through them. Yet I do not believe that God wants us to skip over them. Right in the midst, for example, we read about the prayer of Jabez. These long lists of names and various tidbits serve to remind us that it is not lineage, but obedience, faithfulness, and repentance that determines our standing with God.
When we read the Scripture in a casual way, we often miss the answers to questions that are raised in such an endeavor. For almost always the answer is found within the pages of the Bible itself, often in another part of the Bible. If a question arises when reading one passage about a certain incident, often there is another passage God gives us which provides a different angle, usually providing a clue as to the answer to the questions raised.
For this reason, Paul tells Timothy, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15). The word translated here “study” actually means to be diligent, earnest, or eager. We must be eager to search the Scriptures to find the answers to our questions. It takes effort to “dissect” the meaning of the Word of truth (Scripture), which is what the verb translating “rightly divided” means in the Greek, Hence, we should examine every instance and context.
One of the blessings of being in prison is that I have time to do this kind of study Paul talks about in II Timothy 2:15, even though I lack the internet. So I just have to study Scripture all the more without the usual resources and let it dwell in my heart.
So one of these questions I’ve always had, especially each time I read the account in II Samuel 6 of God killing Uzza merely for touching the ark of God, is why was Uzza in “error” for steadying the ark when it was about to topple over? Wouldn’t I do the same thing? This word here translated “error” in the King James Version is only used once in the Scripture – in this and only this instance, demonstrated the severity of a great sin or error deserving of death. But why?
Well, it is true nobody was supposed to touch it, but Uzza’s intentions were seemingly good, not evil. It was not a defiant act of rebellion to God. There instead seemed to be a split-second reaction, which any of us would have had! Even David became angry with God. The Hebrew word here for angry literally means to burn, to be kindled to glow, to grow warm. That’s being very vexed. The account, written by Ezra in I Chronicles 13, also said David became afraid of God on that day. I certainly can understand that!
So what’s the answer? It is true that Uzza was disobedient, but for that matter, God at that time was displeased with David, as well!
We don’t realize this until we read the account in I Chronicles 13. David, it seemed, always asked God for guidance about everything, unlike his predecessor, Saul. We see this pattern. But prior to attempting to move the ark, David seemingly consulted with everyone but God. And when it came time to move the ark, he did not obey God and used the Levites to transport if. Hence Uzza should never have been in that position to have had the opportunity to steady the ark because he apparently was not a Levite.
Then answer to this question is clearly revealed in I Chronicles 15, two chapters later. “Then David said, ‘No one is to carry the ark of God but the Levites; for the Lord chose them to carry it at the first, the Lord our God made an outburst on us, for we did not seek Him according to the ordinance.’” (I Chron. 15:13).
So after David became furious with God, either God showed David his sin of refusing to seek God and being disobedient to God’s commands, or David figured it out himself, probably the first. Obviously, though, David repented. And so should we when we disobey God. For the sin was as much David’s as it was Uzza’s.
The point I am trying to make, however, is that if I had read any of these three passages separately from one another, the answer would have been difficult, if not impossible, to discern for certain.
So when a question arises from your reading of the Scriptures, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you, then search the other accounts, for the answer is there somewhere.