Lava in Paradise – Our Daily Bread Devotions 10 November 2019
Topic: Lava in Paradise
Bible in a Year:
- Jeremiah 48–49
- Hebrews 7
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Today’s Scripture & Insight: 2 Samuel 6:1–9
When Uzzah took hold of the ark to ensure it didn’t fall, the Scriptures say God became angry because of his “irreverent act” (2 Samuel 6:7). This seems harsh because it appears that Uzzah was trying to help. The Hebrew word hassal appears only in this passage and is translated as irreverent act, irreverence, or error. That it’s used only here suggests that what Uzzah did was a one of a kind event and therefore significant. God had given precise instructions regarding the handling of “holy things.” According to Numbers 4:15, “[the Kohathites] must not touch the holy things or they will die.” The holy things of God were to be treated according to His instruction. To do differently—even to “help”—indicated lack of reverence toward His command.
All is quiet, save for slowly stretching tentacles of hissing lava nipping at the edges of the tropical foliage. Residents stand grim-faced yet amazed. Most days they call this “paradise.” On this day, however, the fiery fissures in Hawaii’s Puna district reminded everyone that God forged these islands via untamable volcanic power.
The ancient Israelites encountered an untamable power too. When King David recaptured the ark of the covenant (2 Samuel 6:1–4), a celebration broke out (v. 5)—until a man died suddenly when he grabbed hold of the ark to steady it (vv. 6–7).
This may tempt us to think of God as being as unpredictable as a volcano, just as likely to create as He is to destroy. However, it helps to remember that God had given Israel specific instructions for how to handle the things set apart for worshiping Him (see Numbers 4). Israel had the privilege of drawing near to God, but His presence was too overwhelming for them to approach Him carelessly.
Hebrews 12 recalls a mountain “burning with fire,” where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. That mountain terrified everyone (vv. 18–21). But the writer contrasts that scene with this: “You have come to . . . Jesus the mediator of a new covenant” (vv. 22–24). Jesus—God’s very Son—made the way for us to draw near to His untamable yet loving Father.