Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The burden of God

"Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God? To whom shall he go so that we may be rid of him?" 1 Samuel 6:20

The ark had been returned by the Philistines. They had realized that the God of Israel was not one to be toyed with. So they returned the ark to Israel and at first the people rejoiced...but then things did not go how they wanted.

Prayers unanswered.

Evil uninterrupted.

Death unabated.

Hope unimagined.

And the Israelites, who finally had the Ark back, the very presence of their Most High God, want Him out of their camp. The burden of His righteousness is too much. The burden of His standard is too hard. The burden of His holiness is too inconvenient. God is getting voted off the island.

You ever feel that burden of God? That His holiness is too heavy (the Hebrew word for holy actually has a strong connection to weightiness.) It is easier to shrug off his yoke and try it our way. Discipleship can seem at times to be burdensome can't it?

But there is a second notion of the burden of God...not that God is a burden to us

but that He is burdened by us.

He had just plagued the Philistines with tumors and disease to get back to his people. He used the test of the prophets and diviners of the Philistines to prove his sovereignty and to return to Israel, His People, His Beloved.

And they welcomed him with a slap in the face. No sooner did God return to the first Israelites, then they were trying to pawn Him off to other Israelites. God is burdened by our relentless resistance to Him. Are there areas in your life where you have sent God out of your camp because His standard seemed bothersome or incongruous with how you wanted to live?

It's not so much that we are burdened by God (though we are quick to claim the status of victim), but that we are burdensome to God and yet He loves us...oh how he loves us. Check out this newer song from David Crowder.

Our relentless resistance is met by a reckless reconciliation, a radical redemption.

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