The principle between the created and the creator is that of a possession and its owner. That which we own is ours to do with what we will. God gives life and so he is free to take it away how and when he sees fit.
God made man with freewill. Freewill comes at a price – we are required to make a choice. God requires obedience – but we can choose not to obey.
God makes the rules for his creation. The pre-eminent rule is that disobedience is punished by death. Adam was given one rule.
Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Adam disobeyed God; bringing sin and death upon all his offspring. We all sin and we are all condemned to death.
Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die...
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
We cannot demand a change in the rules neither can we expect longevity or quality of life.
If we consider God to be unjust, we are free to hold that opinion but it won’t alter the fact that God has condemned us to death and we will certainly die. God is not to be trifled with, he is to be obeyed with respect. When he gives specific instructions he expects them to be obeyed to the letter. In this he is perfectly justified. The man of God lied to by the 'old prophet' is a lesson for those who would believe man rather than God.
Jeroboam had lied to the people in making gods for them to worship and they believed him.
1 Kings 12:28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 29 And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. 31 And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi. 32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. 33 So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.
The prophet had been sent to warn Israel that worshipping God in the way devised by Jeroboam would end in disaster. Israel were listening to a man (who was lying to them) and not to God. In doing so they were ignoring God’s prior instructions specified in the Law of Moses. The prophet then proceeded to listen to a man (the old prophet) rather than following God’s clear instructions. Eating and drinking was an act of fellowship. We might reasonably suppose that God’s instruction to the prophet not to eat or drink in Israel was intended to be a living testimony to show Israel that in following Jeroboam they were out of fellowship with God.
As a prophet he had the option of enquiring of God to verify the old prophet’s words, but he failed to do so. The prophet believed man rather than God. As a result he did exactly what he was told not to do and his life ended in disaster. His death (killed by a lion but not eaten) was a figure of Israel’s captivity by the Assyrian lion which would bring to an end the idolatry begun by Jeroboam.
The lesson – God is no respecter of persons – if we believe the lies of men which contradict the commandments of God, it will result in death and we have only ourselves to blame.
1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Galatians 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
God’s instructions concerning the Ark of the Covenant were very specific. It was not to be put on a wagon or cart, it was to be carried on the shoulders of the sons of Kohath using the staves.
Numbers 7:9 But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none (wagons): because the service of the sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders.
They were not to touch the ark on pain of death.
Numbers 4:15 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.
Uzzah failed to follow God’s instructions on both counts and suffered the consequences.
The lesson – God must be worshipped in the way he has commanded – not in a way of our own devising. Two of the sons of Aaron died (immediately after consecration) because they failed in this respect.
Leviticus 10:3 Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.
God is Holy and must be worshipped with due respect in accordance with his commandments.
Are these two incidents unjustified homicide?
Homicide is defined as the killing of one human being by another.
No judicial act of God can be described as homicide. No act of God can be unjust.
God is the only arbiter of what is just.
Deuteronomy 32:4... all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
Man who receives life and all that he possesses from the hand of his creator is not in a position to pass judgment upon him and if he does so it is judgment from a position of ignorance and to no profit.
Romans 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
The words of Elihu are still true today:
Job 34:10 Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity. 11 For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways. 12 Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment. 13 Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world? 14 If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; 15 All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.
The answer of God to Job still applies:
Job 40:7 Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. 8 Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous? 9 Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him? 10 Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty. 11 Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him. 12 Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place. 13 Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret. 14 Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee.
God is a God of justice but he is also a God of mercy. In his mercy he has provided a way of escape from sin and death through his son Jesus Christ. This is an act of mercy that we do not deserve; but it is freely offered by God.
If we believe and obey the gospel we can be raised from the dead to eternal life in the kingdom of God on earth when Christ returns. God is prepared to forgive all our sins and impute the righteousness of Christ to us.
All men are judged on the life they have led; we cannot escape judgment.
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
God’s promises through his son are the only hope that we have. If we consider ourselves more righteous than our creator and choose not to believe him then we will die without hope.
The choice is ours – no one else can make it for us – self-justification won’t give us eternal life..
I hope you have found this helpful.
God bless you,