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June 5, Day #157 – The Radioactivity of Holiness

In today’s readings, we see how fallen man easily and often misinterprets the beliefs, practices, and actions of others to the extreme (i.e., David’s dancing; Michal’s criticism; the day of Pentecost; etc.). As a result, people frequently respond with accusations; judgment; false expectations; and trying to hold others accountable to their own interpretations. We easily forget 1 Corinthians 8:9 - “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” We do not really know the thoughts or motives of others, so we need to be careful to avoid placing pharisaical criticisms and judgments on our fellow believers. On the other hand, no one may assume that his own conduct or manner of worship is the only right and proper form that universally applies to all other believers. Properly, biblical Christianity holds to one faith but allows a diversity of cultural practices. Today, in 2 Samuel 5:6-6:15, we see that David “marched on Jerusalem, captured the fortress, and took up residence there” (verses 6-10). David became “more powerful, and the LORD established and exalted his kingdom” (verse 12). We see that God promised to “hand the Philistines over to him” (verse 19), so “David did as the LORD commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines” (verse 25). Then, in chapter 6, we see that David “set out to bring up the ark of God” to Jerusalem (verse 2). Since the ark had been returned earlier by the Philistines, it had no proper resting place in Israel, and apparently, David – who desired to build a house for the Lord – also wished to establish a place for the ark. However, we do not see that David inquired of the LORD about this move. After setting the ark on a new cart, they began to transport it when Uzzah “reached out and took hold of it because the oxen stumbled” (verse 6). God struck down Uzzah. This response may seem harsh to us, but Uzzah’s sin – arrogance and irresponsibility before a Holy God - was very grievous to the Lord. Uzzah’s hands were dirtier (i.e., more impure and corrupted by sin) than the dirt of the ground – out of which mankind was created – before we became sinful. No one except the Levites was authorized to transport the ark. Although David was angered by this incident, now he was “not willing to take the ark with him,” so it remained in the house of Obed-Edom where it blessed him and his household for three months” (verse 11). We need properly to recognize the radioactivity and true purity of holiness.

We continue our reading in Psalm 69, with verses 29-36. The Psalm calls us to “sing praises to God and to glorify Him with thanksgiving” (verse 30) for such “pleases the LORD” (verse 31). I am especially thankful for verse 33: “The LORD hears the needy and does not despise His captive people.” Whether we know it or not – whether we believe it or not – whether we like it or not – we are needy people, but God reaches out to us to meet our needs - both small and great. David calls forth all “heaven and earth – the seas and all that move in them – to praise the Lord” (verse 34). Praising and honoring God should be as normal and natural an activity to us as breathing.

In Acts 1:23-2:21, we read about the selection by lot of Matthias over Justus to replace Judas as an apostle. Interestingly, after the choice is made (verse 26), the New Testament never mentions Matthias again. In chapter 2, we see that “the day of Pentecost came, the apostles were all together, and suddenly the sound of a blowing, violent wind came from heaven … with tongues of fire resting on each of them” (verses 1-3). They were “filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues” (verse 4). In the economy of God, this event was completely unique, and it served the purpose of reversing the confusion and misunderstanding that began at the tower of Babel (cf., Genesis 11) – where formerly a unity of language and culture produced a diversity of confusion and misunderstanding. Here in Acts 2, emerging from the diversity of all that confusion and misunderstanding, we see a supernatural restoration of unity – languages and cultures notwithstanding – in the beginning of the Church – the Body of Christ – that it might grow and expand into the whole world. The day of Pentecost fulfills the purposes for which the Feast of Weeks (i.e., Pentecost) was given back in Leviticus 23. This event was a miraculous, one-time experience exclusively for that purpose. It is not the norm for the Church today.

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