Saturday, October 06, 2007

God's Mercy in 2 Kings 6

1. Atheists, the champion critical thinkers? No. In AFTB.1996, Teddy Bear Drange says, “According to premise (8) of the argument, the Bible contains a perfect morality and no ethical defects. But that claim seems incompatible with the fact that God iss described in the Bible as killing people for no good reason. We have already mentioned the many children killed in the Great Flood, in Sodom and Gomorrah, and in the ten plagues on Egypt (especially the last). Here are some additional examples of people whom God killed: … 9. Another man who, with good intention, touched the box (2Sa 6:6-7).”
2. Let us read the passage in question, 2 Ki 6: “David again brought together out of Israel chosen men, thirty thousand in all. He and all his men set out from Baalah of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the LORD Almighty, Who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the ark. They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals ... When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD's anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.
3. God gave specific instructions for handling the Ark.{1} The atheists who claim ethical defects on God’s part in this passage are thoroughly wrong-headed. If they were critical thinkers they would see that 2 Ki 6 is a superb illustration of God’s mercy. God could have killed Uzzah at the start of his journey but gave him ample time to stop violating the laws He explicitly proclaimed. Uzzah did not have a high priest cover the Ark so that no one would die. Uzzah was not a Levite but only Levites could carry the ark. Men were supposed to carry the Ark on poles on their shoulders and not put the Ark on a cart/wagon; Uzzah violated God’s command in following the Philistine procedure and not the Levite method.{2} Even Kohathites who touched the Ark would die and Uzzah touched the Ark without being even a Kohathite. Most importantly, non-Levites were prohibited from even coming near the Ark lest they should die. God is just and cannot let sin go unpunished but He gave Uzzah maybe a couple of days to correct his blatant violation of God’s clearly defined and widely announced law.
4. 2 Ki 6 is a perfect historical demonstration of the veracity of myriad Scripture verses citing God’s mercy.{3} Likewise Lev 5; 10:16-18; Num 16; 2 Chr 30; 35, and many other Old Testament passages show that God is mercy.

5. In an upcoming post I will relate this to God’s impassibility and the mode of speaking used by the inspired saints who recorded God’s inerrant word.

Notes and References
{1} St. Moses says [Ex 25:14-15], “And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark with them. The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be removed from it.”
St. Moses says [Num 1:50-51], “But you shall appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the testimony, and over all its furnishings and over all that belongs to it. They shall carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings, and they shall take care of it; they shall also camp around the tabernacle. So when the tabernacle is to set out, the Levites shall take it down; and when the tabernacle encamps, the Levites shall set it up. But the layman who comes near shall be put to death.
St. Moses says [Num 4], “The LORD said to Moses and Aaron:"Take a census of the Kohathite branch of the Levites by their clans and families. Count all the men from thirty to fifty years of age who come to serve in the work in the Tent of Meeting … This is the work of the Kohathites in the Tent of Meeting: the care of the most holy things. When the camp is to move, Aaron and his sons are to go in and take down the shielding curtain and cover the ark of the Testimony with it. Then they are to cover this with hides of sea cows, spread a cloth of solid blue over that and put the poles in place... Over the table of the Presence they are to spread a blue cloth and put on it the plates, dishes and bowls, and the jars for drink offerings; the bread that is continually there is to remain on it. Over these they are to spread a scarlet cloth, cover that with hides of sea cows and put its poles in place...They are to take a blue cloth and cover the lampstand that is for light, together with its lamps, its wick trimmers and trays, and all its jars for the oil used to supply it. Then they are to wrap it and all its accessories in a covering of hides of sea cows and put it on a carrying frame …Over the gold altar they are to spread a blue cloth and cover that with hides of sea cows and put its poles in place … They are to take all the articles used for ministering in the sanctuary, wrap them in a blue cloth, cover that with hides of sea cows and put them on a carrying frame … They are to remove the ashes from the bronze altar and spread a purple cloth over it. Then they are to place on it all the utensils used for ministering at the altar, including the firepans, meat forks, shovels and sprinkling bowls. Over it they are to spread a covering of hides of sea cows and put its poles in place … After Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy furnishings and all the holy articles, and when the camp is ready to move, the Kohathites are to come to do the carrying. But they must not touch the holy things or they will die. The Kohathites are to carry those things that are in the Tent of Meeting...Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, is to have charge of the oil for the light, the fragrant incense, the regular grain offering and the anointing oil. He is to be in charge of the entire tabernacle and everything in it, including its holy furnishings and articles … The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "See that the Kohathite tribal clans are not cut off from the Levites. So that they may live and not die when they come near the most holy things, do this for them: Aaron and his sons are to go into the sanctuary and assign to each man his work and what he is to carry. But the Kohathites must not go in to look at the holy things, even for a moment, or they will die.”
St. Moses says [Num 7:9], “But to the Kohathites he gave none, because they were charged with the care of the holy things that had to be carried on the shoulders.”
{2} St. Moses says, quoting YHWH [Lev 20:23], “Moreover, you shall not follow the customs of the nation which I shall drive out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I have abhorred them.”
{3} St. Jeremiah says [Lam 3:32], “Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.”
St. Isaiah says, quoting YHWH [Is 65:2], “All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations – a people who continually provoke Me to My very face.”
St. Jeremiah adds, quoting YHWH, [Jer 42:10], “If you stay in this land, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you, for I am grieved over the disaster I have inflicted on you.”
St. John the Evangelist says [1 Jn 4:16], “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”
St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, says [2 Pt 3:9], “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

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