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A Sense of the Holy

Daily Reading: 1 Samuel 6


Scripture Focus: And he struck some of the men of Beth-shemesh, because they looked upon the ark of the Lord... Then the men of Beth-shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God?” (1 Samuel 6.19-20)


Devotional Thought: Years ago, I had an "older pastor" (Yikes! I'm one of those now!) lament to me that the church lacked a sense of the holy. He wondered if it was because our people were coming into the sanctuary flippantly and irreverently. I think he was on to something.


The people of Beth-shemesh had a solution to their flippant inspection of the ark of the Lord: Send the ark away! I don’t like that solution. I want the presence of God in our midst! I think the better solution is to consider how we can reverence and worship a holy God, how we can invite his presence into our midst.


Perhaps, you recall the story about Uzzah, a seemingly innocent person, who was struck dead by the Lord when he reached up to steady the ark of the covenant while it was being transported (2 Samuel 6). Uzzah acted in an improper and irreverent way. What was the big deal? The big deal was that God had given very specific instructions about how to handle, how to transport, and who could see the ark of the covenant. This was done in order to instill reverence among the people of God, concerning the presence of God in their midst.


Do we take the presence of God lightly? In our enlightened and liberated day, are we approaching God too casually? In our "come as you are" approach to God, have we lost a sense of the holy? I am not opposed to making people feel welcome – Jesus himself teaches that. But, there is something to be said for the awesome presence of God to be real and reverenced in our midst. If we are not reverent before God, can we expect to be moved by his holy presence?


Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, for my casual approach to you. Though you are my Father, and you invite me to call you "Daddy," you also are my Creator, Redeemer, and Lord. I reverence you, O Lord. Help me to sense your holy presence in worship. Amen.


Psalm of the Day: Psalm 77.1-9

I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. 2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. 3 When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah

4 You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. 5 I consider the days of old, the years long ago. 6 I said, “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.” Then my spirit made a diligent search: 7 “Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? 8 Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah

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