Most of us understand that because our Wonderful Creator has made it possible for us to become a part of God’s eternal future by simply believing that this is true and accept the fact that Jesus died in our place to pay the penalty for OUR sins and all our sins are then forgiven. We also know that we cannot WORK our way into that eternal future. We are saved by GRACE (unmerited mercy). If this is true then, are we able, then, to just go on our merry way, flubbing up and messing up with no consequences. I think this is where we sometimes lose our bearings.
What about rules and regulations that we find in stories throughout the Bible? There are many, especially in the Old Testament when God’s people at that time had come out of many years of slavery and needed guidance. While reading my Bible today, I read the startling story of King David moving the beautiful Ark of the Covenant to its permanent place in the temple newly constructed in Jerusalem. Uzza and Ahio were carrying the Ark on a cart they had prepared for it and were “driving” it (1 Samuel 13:7-12 NKJV). When the oxen stumbled, Uzza put out his hand to steady the Ark and he was immediately “struck” down. This made King David angry at God. This did not cancel the relationship between David and God. Almost immediately, David asks God whether they should attack some of their enemies.
There ARE consequences for God had given his prophets definite instruction about how to build the Ark of the covenant and how to move or carry it (See Exodus 25:14-15). When God gave instructions, they were for a purpose, like in rules about clean and unclean foods, tithe, even the Ten Commandments. How fortunate we are that God left these instructions, His purpose being to make our lives better while we are living. If His instructions are ignored, the consequences can be catastrophic. The chapters I was reading for today were 1 Chronicles 13, 14, 15 and also 2 Samuel 6.
What I would like us to learn from this is that God has a purpose, a reason, a plan for everything and everybody. If we ignore the instructions he gives us and we end up with a consequence as Uzza did, the results can be catastrophic. This was not a punishment of Uzza—just a consequence.