Outstretched arm and outpoured wrath

"I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment." (Ex 6:6)

...with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out. (Eze 20:34)

And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God. And David was angry because the Lord had burst forth against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzzah, to this day. And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and he said, "How can the ark of the Lord come to me?" (2Sa 6:6-9)

This is one of those passages of the Old Testament that many people have a problem with. Those who create a false dichotomy between the wrathful vengeance of the Old Testament God, and the loving kindness and mercy of the God revealed in the New. But it is the same God! Absolutely 100% identical. His wrath against sin burns just as hot in the New Testament, and his mercy and forbearance are just as evident in the Old.

You see, when David brought the Ark of God up on a cart he violated the clear instructions of God as to how it should be transported. Under the Levitical law anyone who even saw the Ark should have been immediately stuck down dead. God however showed great mercy, and rather than striking down all of his people, chose instead to ourpour all of his wrath on one individual who stretched out his hands. The judgement on the one meant mercy for the many, and after three months the presence of God was restored to the heart of the people where it belonged.

This is another way that demonstrates that the God of Old and New are the same, because this is a prophetic picture of Christ. Uzzah acted in ignorance and irreverence, whereas Christ set his face with deliberation and out of submission to God, but both by their outstretched arms took upon themselves the wrath of God that would otherwise have come on the whole people, and so fulfilled the prophecy of Caiaphas: "It is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish." (Jn 11:50)

It is also a reminder for us to walk in the fear of the Lord, to do things his way and never assume that we can just do things our own way, and God will ride along with it. I'd rather train myself in the fear of the Lord than receive any reminders!

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