ODJ: grace scare

March 30, 2015 

READ: 2 Samuel 6:1-23 

David was now afraid of the LORD, and he asked, “How can I ever bring the Ark of the LORD back into my care?” (v.9).

Ever wondered about this line from “Amazing Grace”? “’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed.” Grace teaches my heart to fear? What’s so scary about grace?

David found the answers to these questions when he brought the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem. It was a festive, noisy celebration, the kind that can fog a man’s mind (2 Samuel 6:5). When the oxen stumbled and the cart lurched, Uzzah reached out to steady the ark and died on the spot (vv.6-7).

David was angry and afraid. He realised the ark was dangerous because God was there (vv.8-9). But God, who gives life itself (John 17:3), chose to bring death to those who violated His glory. If God is the only source of life, then we must fear the thought of losing the privilege to love Him.

Theologian Karl Barth explained, “We must fear Him above all things because we may love Him above all things.” Barth reasoned that since loving God is life, then, “If we are not permitted to love Him and if we do not love Him, we can only expect the cessation of our existence at His hands.”

We’re not doing God a favour when we pray and dig into His Word. He’s doing us the favour, for He’s granting us access to the only path to life. God won’t keep the door open forever, but “he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed” (Acts 17:31). That day is not here yet, so there’s still time. Don’t ignore “this marvellous gift of God’s kindness . . . . Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2). If you love God, you’ll also reverently fear Him. Mike Wittmer

365-day plan: 1 Samuel 20:1-42

Read 1 John 4:7-21 to learn how God’s love for us calms our fears. 
Do you fear or love God more? How are these two emotions connected, so that one rises or falls with the other?