Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

It Isn’t About Good Intentions

1 CHRONICLES 13:5-10 – So David assembled all Israel from the Nile of Egypt to Lebo-hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim. And David and all Israel went up to Baalah, that is, to Kiriath-jearim that belongs to Judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the LORD who sits enthroned above the cherubim. And they carried the ark of God on a new cart, from the house of Abinadab, and Uzzah and Ahio were driving the cart. And David and all Israel were celebrating before God with all their might, with song and lyres and harps and tambourines and cymbals and trumpets. And when they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzzah put out his hand to take hold of the ark, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark, and he died there before God.

THEME OF THE DAY. IT ISN’T ABOUT GOOD INTENTIONS. Today’s scripture and the death of Uzzah by the hand of the Lord challenges us. Oh, it is not difficult to understand what is happening. The challenge is as to why it happened. It rubs our human sense of fairness. By the way, the topic of fairness makes its way into many conversations among Christians and non-Christians. In fact, it is a tough place for Christians. And I would caution us not to make them tough. Be humble in such situations. For instance, “innocent” people, especially children, suffer and die, and the unbeliever says, “If your God is so good and loving, why did this happen? It is not fair.” Notice I put the word innocent in quotes because no one is innocent. This is a Bible truth. We are born guilty. All of us. And here is where we get in trouble. The sense of fairness cannot start with human understanding. Like everything, we must start with God. The Bible opens with these words “In the beginning God”, not “In the beginning man.” If we do not start in the right place, we cannot continue and end up in the right place. So, when in conversations with unsaved people, and if they are not trying to be combative, but sincere in their seeking, be humble enough so say, “I don’t understand the whys and hows of God, but He says He is always good and everything He allows and does will ultimately be for good”. Then simply say, “I know it doesn’t seem fair from a human perspective when bad things happen to humanly innocent people, but let me tell you what happened in the Garden of Eden that brought all suffering into the human race.” As you do, ask the Lord to help you take the fairness conversation into theological conversations of God, man, sin into the world, and the glorious Gospel. Now back to Uzzah.

As we read the account in today’s scriptures, Uzzah seemed to do a good thing. He cared about the ark. He wanted to protect the container of God’s law. Good intentions. I am sure all the people, including David, thought Uzzah was doing a noble thing. Except the One who matters the most – God. Friend, God is holy. His Word is binding. His commands unwavering. And no amount of sincerity, good intentions, or any other thing will be acceptable to Him that is in violation of His commands. In this case, Uzzah was not authorized to touch the ark. God made it clear only the priests could handle the ark. Good intentions do not override clear directions from God. His holiness will not compromise even the best of intentions. In Uzzah’s case, though he meant well, the consequences of his disobedience led to his death.

For us? Stay within the boundaries of God’s Word. Make sure we “do” the Christian life according to the rules – God’s way. Make sure our churches are doing ministry, especially evangelism, according to the scriptures and the models we see in scripture, not our Christian culture. Remember, good intentions are human. Obedience is what matters.

PRAYER: “Father, help me to see Your delight is first in Your holiness and then in my obedience.”

QUOTE: “Good intentions, even with sincerity, are unacceptable to God if it violates His commands.”