Respect and Reverence

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

2 Samuel 6:11 (NIV)
The ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the Lord blessed him and his entire household.

2 Samuel 6:11 (MSG)
The Chest of God stayed at the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months. And God prospered Obed-Edom and his entire household.
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“So the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite for three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household (family).” –AMPLIFIED

In David’s attempt to move the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem we find in his and the people’s rush and excitement they failed to show proper respect and reverence to the Lord God. Something awful happened that put the fear of God into them.

Scripture records what happened in this way:

“They placed the Chest of God on a brand-new oxcart and removed it from Abinadab’s house on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, Abinadab’s sons, were driving the new cart loaded with the Chest of God, Ahio in the lead and Uzzah alongside the Chest. David and the whole company of Israel were in the parade, singing at the top of their lungs and playing mandolins, harps, tambourines, castanets, and cymbals. When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, so Uzzah reached out and grabbed the Chest of God. God blazed in anger against Uzzah and struck him hard because he had profaned the Chest. Uzzah died on the spot, right alongside the Chest. “-2 Samuel 6:3-7 (MSG)

In their rush of moving the Ark the people failed to give honor and reverence to God. Though it was never Uzzah’s intent to be disrespectful to God, by not following the Lord’s commands about the handling of the Ark, he paid a very high price, his life.

As Israel was beginning a new chapter once again; it was important for them to remember who they were in their standing with God. “The Lord gives a shocking and vivid reminder to David and Israel that those who claim to serve him must acknowledge his rule with absolute seriousness.” (NIV footnote)

David’s gut reaction to God’s wrath was one of anger; which seems a bit foolhardy. He was resentful that in his attempt to show God honor he was in fact disciplined for going about it in all the wrong way. The lesson here is obvious: God’s work must be done in God’s way if it is to have God’s blessing.

“The harshness of the LORD’S discipline must be seen in the light of His absolute holiness which requires that sacred tasks be done in a sacred manner. Since God had broken out in wrath on Uzzah, David named that place Perez (“outbreak against”) Uzzah. David learned his lesson. He would not move the ark again until the Lord gave him instruction. It remained, therefore, in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite (a native of Gath) for three months.” -Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament

After Uzzah’s death we find that all attempts at this time to move the Ark were suspended. Why? Scripture tells us that David was now afraid of the Lord. “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. Instead, he took it aside to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite.” -2 Samuel 6:9-11 (NIV)

Reverence and respect are important attitudes to have before God. Reverence is the showing of awe and respect due to one who is superior to us. It is showing honor to them and giving them favor. Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary tells us that reverence is: “A feeling of profound awe and respect. Because of His majesty and holiness, God arouses a feeling of reverence in those who worship and serve Him.”

The writer of Hebrews reminds us that there is a need for us to treat God with the respect that He deserves. “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” –Hebrews 12:28-29 (NIV)

One of the issues that God had with the people of Israel was the fact that they failed to show Him the respect and reverence that He was due. We can find evidence of this fact in Jeremiah. “To this day they have not humbled themselves or shown reverence, nor have they followed my law and the decrees I set before you and your fathers.” –Jeremiah 44:10 (NIV)

Much later in his life David would write about this need for respect and reverence to God in Psalm 5. “But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house; in reverence will I bow down toward your holy temple.” –Psalm 5:7 (NIV)

Let us be sure that we too are giving God the respect and honor that is due to Him.

My Prayer:
Lord, forgive me for not always being respectful to you. There are times that I do not show you the reverence and honor that you are due. Forgive me, Lord. I do not ever want to lose the respect for you that I know is yours exclusively. You are God, the Creator. I am man/woman, the created. You are the All-Knowing One, All-Powerful One, Ever-Present One; I am none of those things. Help me to keep my perspective of you in its proper view. You are God!

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