GodReflection: Life in the Holy Presence
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. Hebrews 11:7
God isn’t my buddy. He is the Almighty.
To live is to be in the presence of Creator God. That alone should generate Holy Fear.
Two stories come to my mind. Frankly, the first one I don’t understand.
It took place between the Philistine’s capture of the Ark of the Covenant of God and prior to its eventual destination in Jerusalem.
The ark made its way back to Israel before the reign of King Saul. As it arrived home to God’s people seventy curious men opened the lid and looked inside. God struck them dead.
Out of Holy Fear the survivors moved God’s dwelling away from them to the house of a man named Abinadab (1 Samuel 6). When David becomes King of all Israel and turned Jerusalem into the seat of his kingdom he proceeded to bring the Ark from the house of Abinadab.
The plan was to place the Ark on a new cart and bring the Holy piece—where God was enthroned between the ark’s cherubim—to the City of David in Holy celebration (2 Samuel 6).
During the parade the oxen stumbled and Uzzah touched the Ark to keep it from a fall. God struck him dead.
It is a story I don’t understand.
Apparently, Uzzah crossed the line and invaded the realm of the Holy. The result caused a deep Holy Fear to rest upon King David.
Scripture continues the story:
Then David was angry because the Lord’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah . . . David was afraid of the Lord that day and said, “How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?” He was not willing to take the ark of the Lord to be with him in the City of David.
In the Acts of the Apostles chapters four and five is a story much easier to understand. However, this story should get my attention as it is not an uncommon temptation to desire praise from our fellow human beings.
In the Acts story God gives birth to church. It was a time of great excitement. The body of Jesus had been raised and transformed into the “Body of Christ.” Each member of the raised body allowed the power of the Christ to flow from body part to body part.
Another man and his wife were also members of Christ body. They observed the gratefulness and high esteem given by the body to this man Barnabas when he gladly gifted a piece of property to the body of Christ—no strings attached.
In a quick brainstorm either Mr. Ananias or Mrs. Sapphira raised the idea:
“How about selling a piece of property, use some of the cash on ourselves, and give the balance of the funds to the Apostle as if it was the original amount”?
“Everyone wins. The BODY WILL THINK they have received the ENTIRE SUM, we add some additional cushion to our pillows, some folks will be blessed and by so doing WE TOO WILL BE HELD IN HIGH ESTEEM like Barnabas”.
A lie told to the church is a lie told to Jesus. It is a lie told directly to Christ’s very own body. To be less than honest with the church is to be less than honest with Jesus.
God struck dead both husband and wife for their unholy conspiracy. Then comes one of the great understatements in the entirety of Scripture:
Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
In the next post I want to look at how it is possible to enter confidently into God’s Holy space—the sphere of the One who wants to give me life, love, security, and His eternal presence rather than death.
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection on Life with Holy Fear