I Samuel 4-8
Curiosity killed the cat.
The Philistines had sent the Ark of the Lord back to the children of Israel. What a surprise it must have been for the people of Beth-shemesh who were working in their fields to look up and see the Ark coming toward them on a cart, pulled by two young cows.
They rejoiced! The Ark was back after having been captured by the enemy.
For whatever reason, the men of Beth-shemesh took a peek inside the Ark. It was famous, and here it was right there in their own backyard.
Did they stand in line, like a crowd waiting for their turn on that death-defying roller coaster at an amusement park? Was there excitement as they stepped nearer and nearer to the place where God was? Was it an adrenaline rush as they were about to do something they knew they probably shouldn’t, but just had to see inside?
Was there a bit of fear as they approached God in such a manner?
I don’t know what they were thinking. But I know what God thought about the matter. 50,070 men died because they had disrespected the Ark of the Lord, they had disobeyed God.
I can’t help but think of the contemporary approach to worship we see today. It’s casual. Bring a cup of coffee and enjoy the show. Let’s sing songs about how loving God is, and repeat the words over and over until we feel that worship experience everyone is talking about. Let’s watch the preacher perform his comedy act, complete with special effects, and go away feeling good about ourselves.
Sadly, too many churches provide an opportunity for people to get a glimpse of God. They get just close enough to God, hear just enough Bible, that they consider themselves children of God. But they don’t deal with their sin problem, they pride themselves in their tolerance, and they don’t humble themselves before a Holy God.
Is it possible to get just close enough to God to be fatal? Ask the people of Beth-shemesh.