Familiarity can breed apathy

“I used to be really thoughtful of your feelings, trying to be careful not to hurt you with my words…What happened?”

His expression was a mixture of conviction and surprise, as he spoke in a tone of apology to his wife.

Her response was lovingly kind as she casually admitted things can happen due to time and busyness.

It’s not uncommon for one or both people in a couple to begin to treat the other with less sensitivity than when they first joined their lives together at the altar.

Sometimes a sense of security in the relationship leads to the attention being drawn elsewhere.

Familiarity can breed apathy.

But it’s not only in marriage that this can occur.

A child defending their poor behavior to a sibling with words such as “it’s only my sister” or “it’s no big deal, he’s my brother” reveals an almost cold-heartedness towards their sibling.

Somewhere, in the child’s heart, they assumed being born into the same family meant nullification of proper behavior towards them.

When, in truth, those born into the same family should love, support, and protect one another.

This apathy; the lack of sincere care, concern, and respect, can also found in one’s relationship with God.

We must be on guard against growing callous to God’s holiness.

Uzza is a startling example of this.

His father’s house was where the ark of the LORD was sent after it was returned by the Philistines.

1 Samuel 7:1-2 KJV — And the men of Kirjathjearim came, and fetched up the ark of the LORD, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD. 2 And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjathjearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.

The ark of God had been captured by the Philistines and after being plagued for some time by tumors and rats, the Philistines sent it back to Israel on a new cart drawn by two oxen.

The oxen took the ark of God back without any person guiding them and the children of Israel rejoiced, but it was not taken to where they had kept it previously, instead it went to the house of Abinadab.

Twenty years later and King David decided it should be brought to Jerusalem.

Instead of consulting God’s Word as to how to move the ark of the LORD, they transported it the same way it was returned; on a cart drawn by oxen.

2 Samuel 6:3 KJV — And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart.

The ark of the LORD was in the house of Uzza’s father.

His familiarity to this holy item God had told Moses to build, brought about a terrifying consequence.

1 Chronicles 13:9-10 KJV — And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. 10 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.

Uzza should never have been the person to escort the ark of the Lord anywhere, but scripture doesn’t record Uzza being punished for his ignorance.

Rather, the punishment came from his putting his hand on the ark of the LORD.

Did Uzza really think God couldn’t keep His ark on the cart without his help?

Or was it simply the lack of reverence due God’s ark that caused him to reach out and touch it.

Whatever was happening in Uzza’s heart at that moment, God judged him for it.

Twenty years of having the ark of God in his father’s house should have brought a great deal of respect and reverence due to the ark of the Lord, for he would have known what happened to the men who looked in the ark when it was returned.

1 Samuel 6:19 NKJV — Then He struck the men of Beth Shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD. He struck fifty thousand and seventy men of the people, and the people lamented because the LORD had struck the people with a great slaughter.

Yet, Uzza allowed his familiarity with this holy ark of God to dampen his fear of Almighty God.

We must not follow in his example, but instead be purposeful about our relationship with God and humble in our hearts before Him.

Psalm 89:7 KJV — God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the warning we see in the story of Uzza. Lord, please help me to be mindful of all my relationships, not allowing apathy to grow my heart cold towards anyone, but especially not towards You. For it is from my religion with You that I am given the ability to love others well. Lord Jesus, thank You for never growing apathetic towards me nor to anyone. Thank You for being so full of genuine concern that You freely sacrificed Yourself for us. Thank You! How great You are and Your wonders are beyond my comprehension. Lord, thank You that You are holy and just, loving and merciful. Your name is great and greatly to be praised! Amen.


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