The ark had made its way to Beth-shemesh, or rather, the Lord had brought it there. New location; same result. When seventy Israelite men failed to treat the ark with its requisite holiness, God struck them down. In some way, these men had treated that which was holy as if it were profane. They failed to treat the ark of the Lord with reverence. Just as it was a mistake to view the ark as a superstitious talisman, viewing it as a normal everyday item was just as much of a mistake, and seventy men paid for their irreverence with their lives. Then the rest of the town, just like the Philistines before them, hurried to rid themselves of the ark and send it on its way.
God is holy, and His holiness is not diminished in the slightest for His children—those who have trusted in Christ. Yes, our sins are forgiven. Yes, we have received Christ’s imputed righteousness. And yes, we are welcome to approach God as our loving Father. But even still, we should never forget that we always come before a holy God. Let us be careful never to treat He who is holy as if He were profane.
How might you tend to approach God irreverently: too casually, forgetting He is holy, or too cautiously, forgetting He is your Father?