I was reading from 1 Chronicles 13 when the Lord challenged me from this scripture:
When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So, he died there before God. (1 Chronicles 13:9-10)
I do not know about you, but in reading this passage in isolation, the Lord’s treatment of Uzzah seems very harsh. It made me stop and study the passage.
The backstory, which is important to understanding this event, is knowing what Uzzah knew. He was knowledgeable about worship customs, rules and practises associated with the Ark of the Lord. He knew the Ark was not to be transported this way. He knew he was not to touch the Ark. The passage says the oxen only stumbled. The ark was not in danger of falling off the wagon.
So why did Uzzah touch the Ark and why was he involved in transporting the ark in this fashion when he knew better?
I felt the Lord saying to me, “this is what happens when people get casual in the worship of Me and acknowledging Me for who I AM”.
The Lord challenge me about whether I had become casual in my relationship with God? I was left with the question of whether I was offending God, my Saviour, my Lord, my healer, my deliverer and my friend?
Since retiring I have drifted into a more casual lifestyle with respect to time, commitments, and clothing. For the 40 years of my working career, life was full. I was extremely focussed; 7 days a week, 17 hours a day, time slotted, smart clothing at work, play and church. Had this change of attitude drifted into causing a casualness to my relationship with God?
That is something I am reflecting over, slowly and carefully.
My observation is that we live in an age of casualness. We are casual in our language and our clothing. Casual in committing to events and celebrations. Even casual about our children attending school. My reflection is that there is a casualness to church commitments with respect to attending church services and serving in church. Could these relaxed attitudes lead us to drifting along and ultimately a lack of closeness with God?
So, my reality check is that I do not want to be like Uzzah. I want to have reverence for God and to press into worship of Him more, in all its various forms. To pursue the presence of God more each day in the totality of my day. To take time to be quiet with Him and to read and reflect on His Word. To sing to Him. Ultimately to grow in sensitivity to His voice and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
So, what about you? Is there a bit of an Uzzah attitude in you?