For months I keep coming back to a passage in the Old Testament where God strikes Uzzah dead because he tried to prevent the Ark of the Covenant from falling to the ground. I have begun to challenge all of the things in my life: impending adoption, possible ministries, writing… to see if they are from God.
We used to watch this British tv show called Primeval. After awhile I got tired of it because I often found myself identifying with the “bad guy.” You had one group who did the wrong thing for the right reason and the other group doing the right thing for the wrong reason. I hated both.
My current challenge goes beyond motivation. It may be the right thing: preventing the ark of the Living God from falling. For the right motivation: to honor Him. And yet still be wrong. (I don’t really know Uzzah’s motivation.) So I have been trying to ask myself: Is this still the right thing-
in this way
for these reasons
I don’t think it is so complicated that we have to labor over being struck dead while we are trying to please God! I have to believe Uzzah knew the law.
But pursuing my desire to do the right thing, regardless? I pray I never charge down that path. Many will stand before God and say ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ Doing the right, in Jesus’ name is not enough.
You could complain that isn’t fair. These people claim the name of Jesus. Maybe they even put his name on their buildings and t-shirts.
C.S. Lewis writes in Mere Christianity that God didn’t ask our opinion when he created sex. And in fact, the first time a child hears about it they think it rather odd. (I would add gross.) “Now the God who arranged that process (he is talking about the process of inheriting our old life through sex) is the same God who arranges how the new kind of life — the Christ life — is to be spread.” He says that too, you will think rather odd.
At least those untrained to Christian rhetoric will. We eat flesh and drink blood. We are re-birthed in Spirit. We get dunked in lakes to die and rinse away the old…
But when you reduce it to the basest element, it is weird but not uncomplicated. It is our heart He is after. He does not delight in our sacrifices. Psalms 51:16-17. A philanthropist can have the actions without the heart. A true Christian cannot have the heart without the actions.
Meanwhile, I trust God will stay my hand as I trudge along reaching for the nearly tipping arks.