Thursday, March 18, 2010

"Hands On, Hands Off"

"Oh God, strengthen my hands" (Nehemiah 6:9).

"They shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die... They carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drove the cart... And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and He smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God" (Numbers 4:15; I Chronicles 13:9-10).

Much of life is hands on. God has given to us the human faculties that are meant to be used in a passionate and applied way that fulfills our responsibilities to Him and to others. We recognize always that He "giveth to us life and breath and all things," and all is done from the basis of "Without Me, ye can do nothing" (Acts 17:25; John 15:5). Nevertheless we go forth to meet life in the recognition that our heart, mind, and members must be engaged according to the dynamic so often affirmed in the New Testament: "Christ liveth in me... we live through Him" (Galatians 2:20; I John 4:9).

Conversely, some of life is hands off. Our Heavenly Father orchestrates or allows circumstances, situations, and conditions that clearly mandate the keeping of our hands off His ark, as it were. We will be tempted to manipulate, to coerce, and to finagle our own solutions and answers. Our intentions may be noble, well-meaning, and seemingly graced with the best intentions. However, deep within our hearts, we will know. We will know that if we could hear the voice of God audibly, it would sound and resound with the certain refrain, "Keep your hands off My ark."

This is a very personal matter, and we do well to often pray for wisdom to discern hands on, hands off. As of old, the issue can be one of life and death. Again, a great portion of our life requires active involvement and engagement whereby we do not wait for God to do for us that which He has empowered us to do for ourselves. Some things, however, are strictly reserved for His domain and dominion. May our Lord lead us to know the difference, driving the cart as required, but keeping our hands off its holy content, as commanded.

"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."
(Philippians 2:12-13)

"Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to Thy mercy: that they may know that this is Thy hand; that Thou, LORD, hast done it."
(Psalm 109:26-27)

"And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation."
(Numbers 4:15)

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