The Danger of Drawing Near to a Holy God

Text: II Samuel 6:1-11
Speaker: Jim Newheiser
Outline: PDF
Date: May 3, 2009

John Calvin says of this week’s passage, “We have here a very strange story, that a man attempting to honor God, burning with a good and holy devotion was punished like a criminal. Now this certainly offends our feelings…”

As we reach II Samuel 6, David is approaching his high point as king. He has been crowned as ruler of all Israel. He has captured his capital city, Jerusalem. He has conquered his enemies, the Philistines. David, because of his great passion for the LORD, is not satisfied with his personal success, but desires to see proper worship of the LORD restored to Israel. This requires that the ark of the covenant be brought up from its place of obscurity to Jerusalem where it would signify the LORD’s presence with His people reigning as the true King, reconciling Himself to them through the blood of atonement, and revealing Himself through His law. As the ark is being brought up to Jerusalem there is great joy among the tens of thousands of Israelites who have come out to celebrate and worship.

Then disaster strikes. When the oxen pulling the ark on which the ark is being carried stumble, Uzzah tries to steady the ark with his hand and is struck dead. The party is over! David’s plan seems ruined. He has to deal with his emotions of anger, fear, and despair. He also has to learn that the LORD is holy and that His Word must be carefully obeyed. While it is good to seek the LORD’s presence, we must draw near to God in the way in which He has revealed. Good intentions are not good enough.

If this was a hard text in Calvin’s day, five centuries ago, how much harder is it in 21st century America.

Professing Christians need a much greater sense of the LORD’s holiness in His church, His Word, and His Worship.

We also are called to confront our self-righteous pluralistic culture with the message of God’s holiness and how we can only approach Him through Jesus.

Jesus fulfills what the ark represents. Through Him God is present with us. Though we lack the holiness the LORD requires He reconciles us to God through His blood which enables us to draw near to God.

Posted on May 3rd, 2009 | Permalink