Chapter 7.3   Judgment Observation #1  —  Uzzah’s Untimely Death (Revision 3)
Probably one of the most gut wrenching stories in the Bible (and there are many), is the story about Uzzah’s untimely death as told in 2 Samuel 6. *1*
In one of Israel’s darker hours, the Ark of the Covenant, had been captured by the Philistines. *2*. This battle trophy however, seemed to have a life of its own. Seven months of possession was all the Philistines could handle. As their plan progressed to rid themselves of this highly decorated, very troublesome, gold plated Box, each stop along its way home was visited with outbreaks of disease and death, all of which only hastened its return. *3*. The Israelites of Beth Shemesh rejoiced when they saw the Ark arrive in their town on an unmanned cart, pulled by two oxen. They offered sacrifices to God. They seemed to be doing everything well. But then, their celebration took a sour note, when 70 people who had succumbed to curiosity, were put to death for looking inside the Box. *4*
A while later, King David decided to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. In preparation, they placed it on a cart and started their journey. David took 30,000 men from Judah with him for this festive occasion! So, in the midst of great songs of praise and worship, the cart with the Ark, hit a bump in the road. Uzzah wanting to ensure that the Ark did not fall off the cart, reached out to hold it and provide some stability. ZAP! Uzzah’s lifeless body fell by the cart. The Bible records in 2 Samuel 6:7 NIV, that, “The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God.” *5*. This is a particularly difficult pill to swallow, because (we reason) Uzzah’s intentions were good. He meant no harm and was certainly not seeking to offend God.
Observation #1. Irreverent acts (affronts to God’s Holiness) are a root cause of all of His acts of Judgment.
Now this Corona Virus is gripping the world, and there have been a significant number of deaths. Are our good deeds masking our affronts to God’s Holiness, and making those ‘affronts’ more difficult to see?
In reality, our natural minds no more understand God’s Holiness, than a typical three year old child understands the inner workings of the internal combustion engine that propels the family car along life’s roads.
We Americans typically pride ourselves in “thinking outside the box”. In some ways, like the Philistines of old, we have gone to great lengths to rid ourselves of this inconvenient God who speaks through Acts of Judgment. We have become very adept at explaining away signs and phenomena by brushing them aside with sophisticated scientific explanations. We have changed considerably (from the days of the Civil War) where as a culture we would look upon His Acts of Judgment, and sing songs to honor His Name.
Battle Hymn of the Republic (verse 1)
“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the
       coming of the Lord,
He has trampled out the vintage where
       the grapes of wrath are stored,
He has loosed His faithful lightening
       and His terrible swift sword,
His truth is marching on!” *6*
Perhaps in the face of this Corona Virus, we might do well to return to our attitudes of Days-gone-bye, and consider the ONE who for a season (in Ancient Israel), lived inside the Box! And spoke, and still speaks through His Acts of Judgment!
Certainly, any father who loves his son will seek to change behavior that causes the child to recklessly lunge into busy streets. Isn’t it reasonable that a loving God might use something like the Corona Virus to get our attention if our behavior has us on a path that leads to our destruction? And the interim measure has us sitting in our homes. Might we not benefit to use this time of stillness (without all of our usual sports distractions) to deeply ponder these things?
It is very important to note here that just because someone’s life has been overcome by this ugly Corona Virus, does NOT mean that they (as individuals) are in any way worse sinners than the rest of us! *7*
God, long before David’s time, had given very specific instructions on how the Ark was to be moved should that ever be necessary. *8* & *9*. David ignored these instructions. This might have been through ignorance – perhaps neglect. Good luck explaining that to Uzzah’s widow! *17*
America, where are you?
God too has given us very specific instructions as well. “Listen to Jesus!” *10*. He wants us to discover His Grace and Kindness demonstrated through His Son. *11*. The Bible says that it pleased God to CRUSH Jesus. *12*. And that because Jesus entered freely into this suffering, God has resurrected him and exalted him to the highest place. And that someday every knee will bow to Jesus. *13*. Doesn’t it make sense to humble ourselves now and freely bow to God’s Son while the choice is ours?
God’s Holiness will NOT be compromised! He is NOT a respecter of persons. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me!” *14*
All we have to do to be saved from God’s wrath is to ask Jesus to save us!  Will you do that today?  He will give you the grace to see the elements in your life that He would like you to change, as well as the power to change them.  He is patient and tender toward all!  However, when we affront His Holiness, His judgments can be very SWIFT!  And while they are not always FINAL, they are always DECISIVE!
John 3:17 (Amplified Version)
For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him.
Amen and Amen!
OK, so why do I believe that this Corona Virus is potentially a form of Judgment?  And why in the overall scheme of things do I believe it is just a WARNING SHOT ACROSS the bow of our SHIP?  And why do I believe that God is using it to get us to return to Him?
Proverbs 3:12 (NIV)
because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. ***
Psalm 94:9-13 GW
[9] God created ears. Do you think he can’t hear? He formed eyes. Do you think he can’t see? [10] He disciplines nations. Do you think he can’t punish? He teaches people. Do you think he doesn’t know anything? [11] The LORD knows that people’s thoughts are pointless. [12] O LORD, blessed is the person whom you discipline and instruct from your teachings. [13] You give him peace and quiet from times of trouble while a pit is dug to trap wicked people.  ***
Because, like the caring Father who wants to prevent his son from darting into dangerous streets and potentially being killed, each time he disciples his son, he increases the severity of the disciple.  It is prophesied in Revelation (9:20-21), that one day, there will be plagues that will be unleashed that will kill one third of all living humans.  Compared to those plagues, this Corona Virus is ‘small potatoes’ (don’t try to convince someone who just had a death of a loved one on this point).  And regarding those plagues, God’s intentions are revealed:

Revelation 9:20-21 GW

[20] The people who survived these plagues still did not turn to me and change the way they were thinking and acting. If they had, they would have stopped worshiping demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood, which cannot see, hear, or walk. [21] They did not turn away from committing murder, practicing witchcraft, sinning sexually, or stealing. ***

It could not be much more clearly stated how God desires that we in this world would respond to this Corona Virus, ‘WARNING SHOT ACROSS the bow of our SHIP’!
According to Simon and Garfunkel in the ‘Sound of Silence’:
“And the people bowed and prayed,
To the neon god they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning,
In the words that it was forming,
And the sign said, ‘The words of the
Prophets are written on the subway
walls. and tenement halls
and whispered in the sound of silence’” *16*
Much has been silenced in our culture.  This is my subway wall!
I will let you decide for yourselves if, in this, I am a prophet. But, regardless of what you decide, know that ‘The Kingdom of God’ has come very near you today!


Again, America, where are you?

Notes And References:
***. ALL SCRIPTURE REFERENCES IN THIS CHAPTER (unless otherwise stated):
[Tecarta Bible / Zondervan / Distributed through Tecarta Bible Study App / Tecarta, Inc. / ©️2020 Tecarta, Inc.]
*2*. 1 Samuel 5:1 (NIV)
After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod.
*4*. 1 Samuel 6:19 (NIrV)
But some of the people of Beth Shemesh looked into the ark of the LORD. So he struck them down. He put 70 of them to death. The rest of the people were filled with sorrow. That’s because the LORD had killed so many of them.
*5*. 2 Samuel 6:7 (NIV)
The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God.
*6*. The Battle Hymn Of The Republic
*7*. Luke 13:1 (MSG)
About that time some people came up and told him about the Galileans Pilate had killed while they were at worship, mixing their blood with the blood of the sacrifices on the altar. Jesus responded, “Do you think those murdered Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans? Not at all. Unless you turn to God, you, too, will die. And those eighteen in Jerusalem the other day, the ones crushed and killed when the Tower of Siloam collapsed and fell on them, do you think they were worse citizens than all other Jerusalemites? Not at all. Unless you turn to God, you, too, will die.”
*8*. Exodus 35:10 (TLB)
“Come, all of you who are skilled craftsmen having special talents, and construct what God has commanded us: The Tabernacle-tent, and its coverings, clasps, frames, bars, pillars, and bases; The Ark and its poles; The place of mercy; The curtain to enclose the Holy Place; The table, its carrying poles, and all of its utensils; The Bread of the Presence; Lamp holders, with lamps and oil; The incense altar and its carrying poles; The anointing oil and sweet incense; The curtain for the door of the Tabernacle; The altar for the burnt offerings; The bronze grating of the altar, and its carrying poles and utensils; The basin with its pedestal; The drapes for the walls of the court; The pillars and their bases; Drapes for the entrance to the court; The posts of the Tabernacle court, and their cords; The beautiful clothing for the priests, to be used when ministering in the Holy Place; The holy garments for Aaron the priest, and for his sons.”
*9*. Exodus 25:13 (TLB)
Make poles from acacia wood overlaid with gold, and fit the poles into the rings at the sides of the Ark to carry it.
*10*. Mark 9:7 (NIV)
Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
*11*. 1 Peter 5:10 (CEV)
But God shows undeserved kindness to everyone. That’s why he appointed Christ Jesus to choose you to share in his eternal glory. You will suffer for a while, but God will make you complete, steady, strong, and firm.
*12*. Isaiah 53:10 (MEV)
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; He has put him to grief. If he made himself as an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days, and the good pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
*13*. Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV)
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
*14*. John 14:6 (NIV)
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
*15*. John 3:17 (AMP)
For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him.
*16*.  Simon and Garfunkel / 1964 / ‘Sound of Silence’ / Album: Wednesday Morning, 3 a.m. / Columbia Records
*17*. Please see the comments below:
  • The Bible makes no reference as to whether or not Uzzah had a wife.  I insert this comment here as a way of highlighting the fact that this was a needless death if the appropriate people had been attentive to the Scriptures that were available at the time. 
  • As a ‘Follower of Jesus’, I have come to see His Sovereignty in all things. (As in the story of Jesus instructing Peter to go catch a fish that will have a coin in its mouth that will be enough to cover a tax payment that is due)+++. In that context, I have come to shy away from elevating the phenomenon of “Luck” to any meaningful place in life! If someone wins the Lottery, they do so because the Lord ordained or allowed that they should do so. In that context, nothing in life actually happens by “CHANCE”. Luck is not a living entity that has any ability to ‘bestow’ wealth upon people. However, when it comes to scientific and statistical probabilities, I think the term has meaningful application in conveying situations that are highly unlikely to occur.   
  • [+++Matthew 17:24-27: After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” “Yes, he does,” he replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own children or from others?” “From others,” Peter answered. “Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said to him. 27 “But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”]
  • Matthew 17:24-27 –
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