Respecting God's Holiness Charlie Boyd - 2/11/2024 2 Samuel 6:1-15 Audio Sermon Notes (PDF) Ask a Question SERMON SUMMARYThe amazing revelation of Scripture is that the God of the Universe wants to live with us in an up-close, personal relationship. But that doesn’t mean we can treat Him any way we want. God is “Holy,” and that means we must never treat Him with anything less than the respect He rightly deserves. We must relate to Him as He instructs.SERMON SCREENSHOTS & KEY POINTSEver so often, as you’re reading the Bible, you come across a story that shocks you—a story that offends your modern sensibilities—a story that makes you wonder if God is actually the God you think He is—a story that just shakes you to the core. Today, we come to one of those stories. This is one of those “What-in-the-world-is-going-on-Bible-stories” that leaves you wondering if the God you’re reading about is the God you previously thought you knew.READ 2 Samuel 6:1-4—Background on the Ark of the Covenant. OT scholar John Goldingay describes the Ark this way—“The covenant chest stood for some realities at the heart of Israel’s faith. It stood for the reality and the power of YHWH, for YHWH’s distinctiveness as the God who could not be imaged, for YHWH’s entering into a special relationship with Israel, for YHWH’s acting as Israel’s deliverer from oppression, for YHWH’s presence, for the fact that YHWH had expectations of Israel.” (from his book, “Men Behaving Badly”). Yahweh (YHWH) gave specific, detailed instructions as to how the Ark was to be constructed and how the Ark should be treated and transported. Notice v2—“…the Ark of God, which bears the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, who is enthroned above the cherubim.” That means the Ark is not just a symbol of God’s presence among His people. Rather, in some mysterious way, the actual, manifest presence of God rested above the Ark (also see Exodus 25:22). The Ark was “holy” because the God who “was enthroned” above the Ark was “holy.” (There is a long history regarding the Ark found in 1 Samuel 4-7 that’s worth re-reading. It is discussed in the message today.)READ 2 Samuel 6:5 —Here’s’ an important principle: “You can be sincere, but sincerely wrong.” For all David’s heartfelt enthusiasm for bringing the Ark to Jerusalem, he went about it the wrong way. And, there were severe consequences. READ vv-6-11—This passage, which seems to be about a senseless death, is actually a case study of the holiness of God. And for David and the Israelites to treat the Ark as unholy was to treat God as unholy. “How did they treat the Ark as unholy?” by not treating it and transporting the Ark the way God has instructed them in the Law. They transported the Ark in a cart (like the Philistines had done). No priests were involved. Most likely, the Ark was not covered. Ordinary people were not to see or touch the Ark. Think about this. Uzzah was trying to do what he thought was right. David was trying to do what he thought was right. All those Israelites thought what they were doing was right. They all ‘sincerely’ believed they were doing what God wanted, but they were sincerely wrong.Here's the Big Idea: The amazing revelation of Scripture is that the God of the Universe wants to live with us in an up-close, personal relationship. [That’s the whole idea behind the Ark of God being in the midst of His people.] But that doesn’t mean we can treat Him any way we want. God is “Holy,” and that means we must never treat Him with anything less than the respect He rightly deserves. We must come to Him and relate to Him as He instructs us in His Word. And to refuse to do so or even to be ignorant of what His Word instructs is to treat Him as unholy.What does “holy” even mean? Great question. When we say that God is “holy,” we mean that there is no one or nothing in all heaven and earth like Him. He is like no other. He is “set apart” from everything created thing. He is in all, above all, and overall. It means His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts—as high as the heavens are above the earth, so are His ways and thoughts higher than ours. And that means—He and He alone has the right to define good and evil and right and wrong. “Holy” means, as the Almighty God, as our Creator and Redeemer, He and He alone has the right to define and determine how life in relationship with Him is to be lived. Again, the point is that our Holy God wants to live with us and among us. He wants to be up close and personal with us. But that doesn’t mean you can treat Him any way you want. You must come to Him and relate to Him according to His Word.But this moment of tragedy is also an awesome moment of grace. God’s uncompromising holiness opens the way for grace. His holiness is our hope. The truth is, you don’t want a God who will let you do anything you want. This story is not a moment of divine failure. This is a moment of God’s sweet, persevering, patient, divine grace. David comes to see this. READ 1 Chronicles 15:12-15, the parallel passage to 2 Samuel 6, and you’ll see how David comes to see how he got it all wrong. READ 2 Samuel 6:12-15.Now READ Jeremiah 3:16-18— A time when the Ark is no more? A time when a Holy God is up-close and personal with His people without the Ark? What changes all that? How is it possible that the times of rules and rituals and relics are no longer needed to sustain a relationship with God? It all changed when Jesus came! On the Cross, the holiness of God and the grace of God kiss. On the Cross, Jesus became the mercy seat of sacrifice for us. And now, Jesus has become the manifest presence of God living inside all who put their faith in Him. *We are a church located in Greenville, South Carolina. Our vision is to see God transform us into a community of grace passionately pursuing life and mission with Jesus.