Slay Familiarity Now
by Ron Susek
©Golden Quill Publications
Familiarity may have led to Uzzah's poor judgment when King David was moving the Ark of the Covenant. He reached up to steady the Ark when one of the oxen stumbled, causing it to totter. He was instantly struck dead. (See 1 Chronicles 13).
David was stunned since both he and the people were properly motivated. David said, "Then let us bring again the Ark of our God to us, for we did not seek it in the days of Saul. All the assembly agreed to do so, for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people" (vs. 3-4). Praise filled hearts as the oxen inched the Ark closer to its destination.
Why, then, was Uzzah struck dead? David later explained: "Because you [Levites] did not carry it the first time, The Lord our God broke out against us, because we did not seek him according to the rule" (15:13). Only the Levites were to touch the Ark.
The real question, then, is this: Why did Uzzah, a non Levite, touch the Ark? Perhaps he became too familiar with this holy item as it sat in his home for many years (13:7). Surely he must have thought that he was doing the right thing by steadying the Ark, but his judgment was probably impaired by familiarity.
Familiarity somehow blurs the awe of splendid things causing us to reduce their value. We are no longer touched by the spectacular of the holy or the wonder of the sacred. This easily leads to misjudgment, which leads to misconduct, which leads to misfortune.
Somehow, King David never lost his sensitivity toward the grandeur of God. He saw divine majesty in all of life. He never tired of sacrificing unto God: praise, poetry, songs, offerings, places, people, money, events, ad infinitum. Liberated from familiarity, he was ever consumed with wonder toward God, so much so that he was named a man after God's own heart.
Apparently, he never allowed familiarity to dull his awareness of reality: who he was in the grand scheme of God. And for David this was an ever humbling experience.
It's time to slay this deceiving friend called familiarity if it breeds contempt and replace it with a healthy fear of the Almighty. Indeed, we are privileged to be in a Father/child relationship with God whereby we call Him Abba. That familiarity is eternally wonderful so long as we do not allow it to degenerate into disrespect. Slaying, then, the dangers of familiarity and protecting our sense of privileged familiarity enables us to experience an ever higher reach toward the heavenlies in all that we do.
Immanuel: God is with you.
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