Sunday, July 29, 2007

July 29, 2007

Uzzah died. David danced.....

"Three months pass before David returns for the ark. He does so with a different protocol. Priests replace bulls. Sacrifice replaces convenience. Levites prepare 'themselves for service to the Lord'. They use 'special poles to carry the Ark of God on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded, just as the Lord had said they should' (I Chron. 15:14 NCV)

No one hurries. 'And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the Lord had gone 6 paces, that he [David] sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep' (II Sam. 6:13). When David realizes that God is not angry, he offers a sacrifice and dances with all his might before the Lord.....Somersaults, high kicks. Spinning, jumping. This is to tapping of the feet or swaying of the head. The Hebrew term portrays David rotating in circles, hopping and springing. Forget the token shuffle or obligatory waltz. David-the-giant-killer becomes David the two-stepper.

And, if that's not enough, he strips down to the ephod, the linen prayer vest. It cover the same amount of territory as a long T-shirt. Right there in front of God and the altar and everyone else. David removes all but his holy skivvies (Envision the president escaping the Oval Office and cartwheeling down Pennsylvania Avenue in his Fruit of the Looms.)

David dances and we duck. We hold our breath. We k now what's coming. We read about Uzzah. We know what God does to the irreverent and cocky. Apparently, David wasn't paying attention. For here he is, in the full presence of God and God's children, doing a jig in his underwear. Hold your breath and call the undertaker!

But nothing happens. The sky is silent and David keeps whirling and we are left wondering. Doesn't the dance bother God? What does David have that Uzzah didn't? Why isn't
the heavenly Father angered?

Scripture doesn't portray David dancing at any other time. He did no death dance over Goliath. He never scooted the boot amoung the Philistines. He didn't inaugurate his term as king with a waltz or dedicate Jerusalem with a ballroom swirl. But when God came to town, he couldn't sit still.

What did David know that we don't? What did he remember that we forget? In a sentence, it might be this

God is present in his presence.
His greatest gift is Himself. Sunsets steal our breath. Caribbean blue stills our hearts. Newborn babies stir our tears. Lifelong love bejewels our lives. But take all these away ---strip away the sunsets, oceans, cooing babies and tender hearts---and leave us in the Sahara and we still have reason to dance in the sand. Why? Because GOD IS WITH US.
God loves you too much to leave you alone, so He hasn't. He hasn't left you alone with your fears, your worries, your disease or your death. So kick up your heels for joy.....God is with us. That's reason to celebrate.
Uzzah, it seems , missed this. Uzzah had a view of a small god, a god who fit in a box and needed help with his balance. So Uzzah didn't prepare for him. He didn't purify himself to encounter the holy: no sacrifice offered, no commandments observed. Forget the repentance and obedience; load God in the back of the wagon and let's get going.
Or, in our case, live like hell for six days and cash in on Sunday grace. Or, who cares what you believe; just wear a cross around your neck for good luck. Or, light a few candles and say a few prayers and get God on your side.
Uzzah's lifeless body cautions against such irreverence. No awe of God leads to the death of man. God won't be cajoled, commanded, conjured up, or called down. He is a personal God who loves and heals and helps and intervenes. He doesn't respond to magic potions or clever slogans. He looks for more. He looks for reverence, obedience, and God-hungry hearts.

And when He sees them, he comes! And when comes, let the band begin. And, yes, a reverent heart and a dancing foot can belong to the same person." Max Lucado, FACING YOUR GIANTS.

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