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Faithlife

Is God Vindictive?

God Behaving Badly  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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God cares about how we approach Him.

Notes & Transcripts
Series inspired by a book of the same title written by David T. Lamb.
Will spend the next few weeks looking at passages that present God in a bad light or challenge our perceptions of God.
20 years earlier the ark had been lost to the Philistines in battle.
After God afflicted the Philistines, they sent the ark back. It sat in the house of Abinidab.
David decided the ark needed to be moved to Jerusalem.
Interestingly, Philistines used same manner of transport to return the ark to the Israelites.
1 Samuel 6:7–9 NIV84
“Now then, get a new cart ready, with two cows that have calved and have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up. Take the ark of the Lord and put it on the cart, and in a chest beside it put the gold objects you are sending back to him as a guilt offering. Send it on its way, but keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh, then the Lord has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us and that it happened to us by chance.”
1 Samuel 6:7–9 NIV84
“Now then, get a new cart ready, with two cows that have calved and have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up. Take the ark of the Lord and put it on the cart, and in a chest beside it put the gold objects you are sending back to him as a guilt offering. Send it on its way, but keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh, then the Lord has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us and that it happened to us by chance.”
Why did God strike down Uzzah and not the Philistines? Were they not transporting the Ark of the Covenant in the same manner? Was not Uzzah just trying to keep the ark from falling?
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The reason God struck down Uzzah was that Uzzah (and by extension David) should have known how to transport the ark. God had given detailed instructions to Moses.
Numbers 4:15 NIV84
“After Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy furnishings and all the holy articles, and when the camp is ready to move, the Kohathites are to come to do the carrying. But they must not touch the holy things or they will die. The Kohathites are to carry those things that are in the Tent of Meeting.
Deuteronomy 10:8 NIV84
At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister and to pronounce blessings in his name, as they still do today.
The ark was the most holy item in Israel because it conveyed the presence of God. It was to be carried not just by Levites, but specifically by the clan of Kohathites, the youngest son of Levi. It was also to be carried with two golden poles that went through rings on ark.
Instead, David loaded it into an ox cart like a load of figs. In so doing he showed no respect for the holiness and majesty of God. Furthermore, even though Uzzah meant well touching the ark defiled God’s holiness. Israel had been warned many times about defiling God’s holiness.
David learned this lesson again the hard way. Later when he again decided to brink the ark to Jerusalem he set about doing it the right way.
1 Chronicles 15:12–15 NIV84
12 He said to them, “You are the heads of the Levitical families; you and your fellow Levites are to consecrate yourselves and bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. 13 It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.” 14 So the priests and Levites consecrated themselves in order to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. 15 And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord.
1 Chronicles 15:14–15 NIV84
14 So the priests and Levites consecrated themselves in order to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. 15 And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord.
1 Chronicles 15:12–15 NIV84
12 He said to them, “You are the heads of the Levitical families; you and your fellow Levites are to consecrate yourselves and bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. 13 It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.” 14 So the priests and Levites consecrated themselves in order to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. 15 And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord.
1 Chronicles 15:12–15 NIV84
12 He said to them, “You are the heads of the Levitical families; you and your fellow Levites are to consecrate yourselves and bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. 13 It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.” 14 So the priests and Levites consecrated themselves in order to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. 15 And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord.
Too many modern Christians have lost their appreciation for the holiness of God. The holiness of God is one of the main reasons Christ died on the cross. A holy God cannot be in the presence of sin. The only way we could ever be in relationship with God, the only way we could ever approach God, was for God to take upon Himself the wrath and the penalty for our sin. We sent Christ to the cross. Until we understand that we will never fully understand how God’s holiness and God’s mercy were fully displayed in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
When we lose our awe of the holiness of God, communion becomes little more than a monthly ritual. Celebrating the Lord’s Supper is a means of reminding us of the unimaginable miracle of our salvation and Christ’s resurrection. It is what gives us hope for the future, strength for today and comfort in times of duress. We worship a God who is so holy and so powerful that even death itself is overcome. When we think of what Christ endured on the cross and the power of God in resurrecting him, we literally ought to tremble as we hold the little piece of bread symbolizing Jesus’ broken body and the cup of juice representing his blood shed for us. The glory of God displayed on the cross is an event that should change our lives forever.
Story of Indian pastor living under a tree.
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