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How can a Loving God do that?

2 Kings 2:23-24
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“From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking up the path, some small boys came out of the city and harassed him, chanting, ‘Go up, baldy! Go up, baldy!’ [24] He turned around, looked at them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two female bears came out of the woods and mauled 42 of the youths.” (HCSB)

2 Samuel 6:1-7 says, “Now David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. [2] And David arose and went with all the people who were with him to Baale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God which is called by the Name, the very name of the LORD of hosts who is enthroned above the cherubim. [3] They placed the ark of God on a new cart that they might bring it from the house of Abinadab which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were leading the new cart. [4] So they brought it with the ark of God from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Ahio was walking ahead of the ark. [5] Meanwhile, David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the LORD with all kinds of instruments made of fir wood, and with lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets and cymbals. [6] But when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out toward the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen nearly upset it. [7] And the anger of the LORD burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down there for his irreverence; and he died there by the ark of God.” (NASB95)

These two passages of scripture provoke the question, “How can a loving God do that?”  We know that God is love, the scripture clearly teaches that truth in 1 John 4:16.  It says, “God is love,” (NASB95) In the first passage we have a prophet cursing 42 youths in the name of the Lord, resulting in their mauling by two bears and in the other, God strikes Uzzah dead just because he reached out to steady the ark when it appeared that it would fall.  Neither of these scripture passages exemplify the teaching of 1 John 4:16, do they?

Certainly, the Bible teaches that God is love, but it doesn’t say that He is only love and nothing else.  In our pop theology, we tend to over emphasize this one attribute while downplaying all the others. Today we begin a series of sermons that will help us better understand the nature and character of God.  We will look at some tough issues together.  It is not my intention to only explore soft themes; we’ll dig deep into the scriptures to learn more about God’s glory and grandeur.  In the weeks ahead we’ll discuss God’s goodness, faithfulness, immutability, love and power.  Today we focus on His holiness.

1 Samuel 2:2 says, “There is no one holy like the Lord. There is no one besides You! And there is no rock like our God.” (HCSB) 

Psalms 99:5 says, “Exalt the Lord our God; bow in worship at His footstool. He is holy.” (HCSB) 

Revelation 4:8 says, “Each of the four living creatures had six wings; they were covered with eyes around and inside. Day and night they never stop, saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty, who was, who is, and who is coming.” (HCSB) 

Revelation 15:4 says, “Lord, who will not fear and glorify Your name? Because You alone are holy, because all the nations will come and worship before You, because Your righteous acts have been revealed.” (HCSB)

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