Swallowed up Alive

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
Isaiah 6:3

In the year that King Uzziah died, the prophet Isaiah saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.

Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

“Woe to me!” cried the Prophet. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

Isaiah knew what had happened to King Uzziah, who lost respect for the temple of God and the ordinances the Lord has established.

KING UZZIAH
Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. The Bible tells us that as long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.

He went to war and God helped him against several enemies, and his fame spread as far as the border of Egypt. Uzziah had a well-trained army, a powerful force of 307,500 men. He provided shields, spears, helmets, coats of armor, bows and slingstones for the entire army. In Jerusalem he made devices invented for use on the towers and on the corner defenses so that soldiers could shoot arrows and hurl large stones from the walls. His fame spread far and wide.

But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the Temple to burn incense on the altar of incense, something that only the priests had been consecrated to do. Azariah and other eighty courageous priests confronted King Uzziah and told him it was not right for him to do so. He became angry. While he was raging at the priests before the incense altar, leprosy broke out on his forehead.

Because of his pride and disobedience, King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in a separate house—leprous and banned from the temple of the Lord. He could no longer govern, so his son Jotham had charge of the palace and the government (see 2 Chronicles 26:1-21).

UZZAH
Years before, a man by a similar name—Uzzah—was struck down by God because of an irreverent act of disobedience.

King David brought together all the able young men of Israel; thirty thousand. He and all his men went to Baalah in Judah in order to bring the ark of God to Jerusalem. God had given specific instructions about how the ark and other furnishings were to be transported. Those who transported them were not to touch the holy things, or they would die (see Numbers 4:15). The ark was at the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. They set the ark of God on a new cart and Abinadab’s sons, Uzzah and Ahio, guided the cart with the ark of God on it.

David was very happy to be bringing the ark to Jerusalem, He and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with all kinds of instruments. At one point the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God. The instructions of God were that he was not to touch it. We read in the account that “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.”

This might be hard to understand, given the follow-up. David left the ark in the house of Obed-Edom, and God blessed this man and his entire household (read the complete account in 2 Samuel 6:1-23). The point of the matter is that God holds us accountable of how we obey his word.

The prophet Isaiah knew these accounts when he cried out, “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

 

Is 6_3 NIV

MIRIAM
Are we aware of the seriousness of God’s holiness and our imperfection? “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). I was made aware of the seriousness of the matter as I read the accounts in Numbers about that disobedient and grumbling assembly of Israel in the desert.

Miriam, Moses’ sister, was struck with leprosy because she complained against her brother.

“Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” asked Miriam and her brother Aaron. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?”

And the Lord heard this, and his anger burned against them (see Numbers 12:1-15).

GOD’S ANOINTED
David knew Saul had been anointed by God to be the King. Saul persecuted him, but even when he had opportunities to take revenge, he said, “The Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed” (1 Samuel 26:11).

Even when his enemy died, and a young man came to give him the report that he had killed Saul, David asked, “Were you not afraid to lift your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed” (2 Samuel 1:1-16).

KORAH, DATHAN & ABIRAM
Korah, Dathan and Abiram became insolent and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 well-known community leaders. They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them,

“You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?”

When Moses heard this, he fell facedown. Then he said to Korah and all his followers that the next morning the Lord would show who belonged to him and who was holy. Read this story in Numbers 16.

The next day, when everybody was gathered, Moses warned the assembly that they should move back from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. These men were standing with their wives, children and little ones at the entrances to their tents. Then Moses said,

“This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea: If these men die a natural death and suffer the fate of all mankind, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead, then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt.”

As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and they were swallowed up alive; all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. They went down alive, with everything they owned. The earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community.

Hearing their cries, the Israelites around them fled, shouting, “The earth is going to swallow us too!”

250 COMMUNITY LEADERS
What happened to the 250 well-known community leaders who had also complained about Moses and Aaron being the leaders? Fire from God consumed them all!

A PLAGUE KILLED 14,700
The next day, the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You have killed the Lord’s people.”

Once again God showed his power, and ratified those he had called to be leaders. A cloud covered the tent of meeting and the glory of the Lord appeared. God said to Moses, “Get away from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.”

Then Aaron took his censer and put incense in it, along with burning coals from the altar, and he hurried to the assembly to make atonement for them. A plague of God’s wrath had started. Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them. He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped. But 14,700 people died from the plague, in addition to those who had died because of Korah.

SEXUAL IMMORALITY
Once again the Lord’s anger burned against Israel, because the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods.

The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the Lord, so that the Lord’s fierce anger may turn away from Israel.”

Read in Numbers 25:1-18 about the plague that killed 24,000 people, because they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor.

VENOMOUS SNAKES
The people spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”

Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people recognized their sin and came to Moses and asked that he would pray that the Lord take the snakes away. So Moses prayed for the people and the Lord told him to make a snake and put it up on a pole. Anyone who was bitten and looked at it would live.

Jesus referred to this incident, which was a foreshadow of his sacrifice on the cross. “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him” (John 3:14,15).

A SABBATH-BREAKER
God is merciful and compassionate, but he expects obedience. While the Israelites were in the wilderness, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.” So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the Lord commanded Moses (Numbers 15:32-36).

We might consider this cruel, especially in this day and age when we don’t respect the Sabbath. Yes, we go to church; but we do many other things on the Lord’s Day, that would not have been acceptable in Israel.

I had an experience as a young traveling missionary candidate. I was sitting at a train station a Sunday afternoon waiting for the train that would take me to the next meeting. I took out my knitting. Two girls, probably not from any Christian environment, commented, “Are you knitting on a Sunday?” It pierced my heart. Even now, I’m writing this “sermon” on a Sunday. I studied it this morning, as I wasn’t in a condition to get out and drive to church. Now I’m passing it on.

God had given clear instructions that the Sabbath was to be upheld. How are we observing the Sabbath? Is it a day of rest? How do we honor The Lord’s Day?

MORE EXAMPLES

There are many more incidents that show how important it is that we respect God’s Commands and that we reverence him. Let me give you a list of passages if you would like to continue this study.  There are many more, but these give us a very clear picture of the consequences of our actions. I pray to God that he would help us to be holy, as He, our Lord, is holy.

  • The first disobedience, Genesis chapter 3.
    Adam and Eve are driven out of the Garden.
  • God destroys humankind with a flood, because of its sinfulness, but “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8).
  • God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire because of their sin (Genesis 19).
  • Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt because she looked back. The angels had given clear orders, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back!” (Genesis 19:17).
  • A plague because of the golden calf (Exodus 32:35).
  • Moses made the people drink water with grounded gold from the calf  they had worshiped (Exodus 32:20)
  • Israel had to wander in the desert for 40 years because of unbelief (Number 14:20-23).
  • Fire consumed the outskirts of the camp (Numbers 11:1).
  • Plague because they craved other food (Numbers 11:33,34).
  • Moses and Aaron were not allowed to enter the Promised Land because Moses disobeyed and struck the rock for water, instead of speaking to it (Numbers 20:8. 11,12; Deuteronomy 3:26).
  • Achan, stoned and buried with all his family because he took devoted things when they conquered Jericho (Joshua 7:11, 24-26).
  • King Saul was rejected by God as king because he disobeyed; to obey is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:1-29).
  • David and Bathsheba sinned, and lost their child (2 Samuel 12:11-14); but God is forgiving and full of grace. A future son, Solomon, became the next king.
  • King Ahab sold himself to the devil urged by his wife Jezebel. God forgives when we repent, but we pay the consequences (1 Kings 21: 25-29).
  • Jezebel’s fate (1 Kings 21:23; 2 Kings 9:30-37).
  • Gehazi was struck with Naaman’s leprosy for coveting and lying (2 Kings 5:20-27).
  • Hezekiah’s pride (2 Chronicles 32:24-26).
  • Israel was taken to captivity in Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:15-21).
  • King Nebuchadnezzar lives like a beast for 7 years, because he failed to give God the glory (Daniel 4:28-37).
  • King Belshazzar used the goblets from the temple in Jerusalem to drink wine at a banquet with a thousand of his nobles. God wrote his fate on the wall. That same night he was slain and the kingdom was taken from him (Daniel chapter 5).
  • Ananias and Sapphira died on the spot because they brought the sales of their property to the apostles and lied about the amount (Acts 5:1-11).

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
Isaiah 6:3

 

 

Advertisements

About kelund

My name is Kerstin Anderas-Lundquist. I was born in Sweden to Per & Brita Anderas, on March 6, 1946. In 1948 we left to begin a missionary life in Chile; in 1956 we moved on to Peru. On May 1, 1969 I married an all-Swedish guy from Karslkrona: Bengt Göran Emanuel Lundquist. God blessed us with two daughters: Eva-Marie Elizabeth and Ruth Carina. We served as missionaries in Peru and Bolivia. In 1988 we moved to the United States to work at Life Publishers in Miami, Florida. I was to assist in developing the line of Sunday School Curriculm in Spanish known as Vida Nueva. I live in Springfield, Missouri, and am retired from work at the Assemblies of God Headquarters. My husband and daughter Eva-Marie have been promoted to Heaven. Carina is married to Thom Cole and they have given me four gourgeous grandchildren, even five (teen-age John). I will be writing about my life, past and present, blended with visions for the future. My deepest desire is to spread the “seed of love”–inspiration to serve God and our neighbors with love and compassion.
This entry was posted in Holiness and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s