Archive for March 27th, 2008

Right Thing Done the Wrong Way

Today’s story found in 2 Samuel 6 revolves around the Ark of God represented the immediate presence and glory of God. David considered it a top priority to bring the Ark out of obscurity and back into prominence. He just wanted Israel to be alive with a sense of the presence and glory of God.

Seventy years before the Philistines transported the Ark on a cart in that moving story found in 1 Samuel 6. And they got away with it without any consequences. But for the Israelites to borrow man’s ways instead of going to God’s Word for directions was (and is) costly.

Transporting the ark on a cart was against God’s specific command. The ark was designed to be carried (Exodus 25:12-15) and was only to be carried by Levites of the family of Koath (Numbers 4:15).

I’m sure in David’s zeal to return the Ark to prominence that he prayed for God’s blessing on this major undertaking. It was a very important occasion, the atmosphere was joyful, exciting and engaging. But did he neglect to inquire of God regarding the production itself? Could it be that none of the whole procession pleased God because it was all in disobedience to His revealed Word?

This was a good thing done the wrong way. Though they experienced dire consequences and pain from their first attempt done in the arm of flesh, God still gave them a second chance at bringing His presence and glory near to them. It wasn’t like David and his men got one chance, and one chance only, to draw near to God.

God met with David in 1 Chronicles 15 to discuss what transpired. After meeting with God and listening to His word, David tried again to bring the Ark to Jerusalem.

It was still with a big production – bigger than the first attempt. Because David was wise enough to know that the problem with the first attempt wasn’t that it was a big production, but that it was a big production that came from man and not God.

David was able to navigate the waters of emotions in this event. The two great errors in regards to Christianity and emotions are –

  • the error of making emotions the center of our Christian life and
  • the error of an emotionally detached Christian life.

In the Christian life emotions must not be manipulated and they must not be repressed. David is a good example of how this might look like in our lives!

And what of Uzzah? He made a decision in a split second to disregard God’s command and do what seemed, and perhaps felt, right to him. But God fulfilled the ominous promise of Numbers 4:15 and struck Uzzah.

David desired Israel to know the presence of the Lord, and sure enough, God showed up at Nachon’s threshing floor – but not in the way anyone wanted.

What was the error of Uzzah? It was more than just a reflex action or instinct. God struck Uzzah because his action was based upon a critical error in thinking.

  • Uzzah erred in thinking it didn’t matter who transported the ark
  • Uzzah erred in thinking it didn’t matter how the ark was transported
  • Uzzah erred in thinking he knew all about the ark because it was in his father’s house for so long
  • Uzzah erred in thinking that God couldn’t take care of the ark of Himself
  • Uzzah erred in thinking that the ground of Nachon’s threshing floor was less holy than his own hand

“His intention to help was right enough; but there was a profound insensibility to the awful sacredness of the ark, on which even its Levitical bearers were forbidden to lay hands.” (Spurgeon)

David became angry at God in his confusion. And in his anger directed towards the Lord, He sought God! Anger can drive us to God, even anger directed towards Him in our confusion.

David simply didn’t understand why his good intentions weren’t enough. God is concerned with both our intentions and our actions.

So the Lord deals with David, and causes him to fulfill His word by housing the Ark with Obed-Edom who was a Levite of the family of Koath (1 Chronicles 26:4). This was the family within the tribe of Levi that God commanded to transport and take care of the ark (Numbers 4:15).

When God’s Word was obeyed and His holiness was respected, blessing followed for Obed-Edom and his household. God wanted the ark to be a blessing for Israel, not a curse. We might say that the curse didn’t come from God’s heart but from man’s disobedience. That which God intended for our good can feel bad if we walk in disobedience regarding it.

I think it is a mistake to think that David was immodest in his dancing as 1 Chronicles 15:27 indicates that David set aside his royal robes and simply dressed just like everyone else in the procession. But Michal felt it wasn’t dignified for the King of Israel to express his emotions before God. But as she casts judgement on David’s lack of royal behavior, she chides him with biting sarcasm (which is very unbecoming for royalty!).

But David was in a good and healthy place. He didn’t let Michal’s sarcastic criticism ruin his day. He simply explained the truth: “I did it for God, not for you.” David was in touch with God and so he was not offended (Psalm 119:165).

Michal was barren, proving that a critical spirit stifles fruitfulness.

Creator of Emotions and Truth, may You align my thinking and feelings to Your will and ways. I do not want a big production if it is not done according to Your Word. Nor do I want to be stifled and repressed when indeed something as glorious as Your presence is marching forward for the healing of people. May I love Thy Word that I shall have great peace nor be offended.

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