Expectations from Above

          When was the last time you wondered, “What does God want me to do?” The latter half of Ecclesiastes 12:13 says, “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Day to day the ethical choice will be a righteous one and it will often be the obvious choice. However, there are those days where our standard of good will blur our vision of what is righteous.

A biblical example of this takes place in 2 Samuel chapter 6 with the story of Uzzah the priest. At the beginning of the story, King David is trying to transfer the arc of the covenant from the city of Baalah to the City of David. The Israelites decide to transfer the arc of the covenant by an oxen cart instead of using the traditional posts to carry the arc by hand. Uzzah and his brother were walking with the cart when the oxen stumbled. Uzzah now has a decision to make, does he take control of the situation and keep the holy relic of the Jews from hitting the ground?[i] Or, leave the situation to God’s will? Have you ever felt like Uzzah?

Uzzah ultimately takes matters into his own hands and decides to defy God by letting his emotions, fears, and opinions cloud his judgement. He touches the arc and dies for it. No matter how we personally justify it, when we defy God we are leading ourselves and others to death (James 1:14-16). Colossians 3:12-15 says, “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”

Many times our emotions or own sense of justice will take over and we will lose sight of what God wants us to do. In 1985 a man named Anthony Ray Hinton was falsely convicted of murder and sentenced to death row. He was understandably angry and because of that he gave up on the world and stopped caring for others. Four years later, he heard a cellmate crying and his compassion eventually stirred in his heart. Anthony inquired what was wrong and the cellmate said that he had just received a letter telling him that his mother had passed. Anthony comforted his cellmate, made him laugh, and then vowed to live each day selflessly. He brought love and unity to a loveless place of death. After a Supreme court ruling freed him of all charges, Anthony was asked about why he forgave and was not angry at the people who put him in jail for thirty years. He replied by saying, “If I’m angry and unforgiving, they will have taken the rest of my life.” Spiritual death is the greatest danger that we can face and it can easily happen when we let circumstances, opinions, and emotions distract us from performing God’s will.

Jesus shows us the greatest example of living a righteous life by truly keeping God’s commandments and having compassion for others. He tells us in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” We abide with Jesus Christ when we get baptized and live out His loving example. Will you choose to follow into death like Uzzah? Or, will you choose to trust Jesus and fulfill the expectations God has for you by spreading His good truth?


[i] In Numbers 4:1-16, the Israelites are told the proper way of moving and carrying the arc of the covenant. In which they are told by God that they cannot touch any of the holy things, lest they die.