Praise the Lord, Grace & Peace great people of our “Great God” JESUS!
For this Golden Nugget I want to provoke thought how we can Desire to do the right thing but in the wrong way, and in the wrong spirit. Unfortunately God will not approve! We will see in this Golden Nugget that it was right for David to desire to bring up the ark as referenced in 1 Chron 13 for my premise thought; but it was wrong to put it on an ox-cart. I’m sure the Lord was impressed with his desire, but disapproved the methodology in the way he went about it.
Saints when we look at David we see he never showed anger or retaliated towards King Saul, because he viewed him as the Lord’s anointed until God said otherwise; nor did he manifest any spirit of exultation when he was informed about his death; but cried when he heard of it.
My brothers and sisters also note that David does not make haste to ascend to the throne once it was vacant, even though he knew he was anointed for it, but instead he waited on the Lord. The word of God expresses that “David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the Lord said unto him, Go up. And David said, Whither shall I go up? And He said, Unto Hebron.” This was real dependence. The flesh would have been eager to rush into this place of honor, but David waited on the Lord, and only moved as directed by Him. This showed David’s confidence and dependence in God as he delighted in Christ Jesus!
After David’s accession to the throne over all Israel, David had an urgent desire to have the ark of the Lord in the city of Jerusalem, but we see, and we all know by our own experiences that our zeal without knowledge for something can sometimes lead to great error. David’s desire was most commendable; the only question was, how was it to be done? The Word of God was exceedingly plain and distinct in reference to this essential matter; it pointed out a very simple and definite way of carrying the ark of the Lord of Hosts, even upon the shoulders of living men, who had been taken up and set aside for that purpose. I ask that you refer to the book of Numbers chapters 3& 8 to validate my reference.
When the Philistines sent the ark of God back to its own land and people, they knew nothing about these prerequisites, and therefore devised a way of their own, just like the world does even today, which oppose God’s way, for the word of God states in 1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Saints please understand, though the plan adopted by the Philistines was very decent and orderly, as men would say, yet it was not of God because they were not of God. The ministers of the house of Dagon were poorly qualified to arrange the order of the divine service. They thought a wooden cart would do as well as anything else; it might have answered for the service of their false god Dagon, and therefore they knew no difference. Please note my brothers and sisters that they had once trembled at the sight of the ark of God, but, through the unfaithfulness of Israel, it had lost its solemnity in their eyes; and though it had been the most serious formality and impressively vindicated in their own eyes, by the destruction of their god, they did not understood its deep divine significance, because they knew nothing about its wondrous contents. The Ark was beyond their comprehension, and therefore they did not know the proper methodology how to transport it to another place.
David by now should have known Gods thoughts, and should have acted upon them according to the traditions directed in the word of God; he should not have followed the thoughts and traditions of men with fleshly minds working in the service of God; he should have drawn his directions from the lucid and powerful lines that was in the book of the law. Saints it is a terrible thing when we the children of the Kingdom of God replicate ourselves after the model of the men of the world, and tread in their footsteps. It has been proven when we do this we bring serious damage to our own soul at the sacrifice of God’s perfect truth and testimony. GOLDEN NUGGET!
The Philistines might construct a cart to carry the ark, and nothing whatever could show them the error of doing so; but God would not allow David to follow their pattern. And even now; the men of this world may put forth their weapons, enact their laws, and decree their ceremonies in religion; but will the chosen children of God come down from their high position and privileges, those who are guided by the Holy Spirit and the blessed Word of God, and permit themselves to be guided and influenced by such things? You can foolishly test the waters if you want, but I guarantee you will suffer loss.
David encountered a bitter experience from his mistake, for in 1Ch 13:8-10 And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets. And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. 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.
The weakness and inconsistency of how to transport and handle the ark was manifested. The Levites, the ministers of God, prior to this experience had borne the ark from Horeb to Jordan, and yet we have no record of any stumble. The shoulders of His servants was God’s way; but the cart and oxen were man’s way. And who would have thought that an Israelite would have deposited the ark of the God of Israel upon a wooden cart, to be drawn by oxen? Yet this is the sad effect of departing from the written Word to follow Socratic human traditions (As a pastor in this 21 century I hear it all the time “It don’t take all of that“) but we see because Gods people deviated from the instructions of God “The oxen stumbled.” The arrangement was “weak and beggarly,” in the judgment of the Holy Spirit; Hence the Lord had to make this fully manifest. The ark should have never been in such a dishonorable position; oxen should never have been the bearers of such a burden, for that job could only be fulfilled by Jesus Christ! For the gospel of Mark portrays Jesus Christ as that ox, that bears our burdens!
Saints the word expresses “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.” Truly, “judgment must begin at the house of God.” The Lord judged David for doing what the Philistines had done without notice. The nearer a man or woman is to God, the more solemnly and speedily will he be judged for any evil because of the revelation the Lord gives him. for, as the apostle Paul says, “If judgment first begin at us, what shall the end be of those that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” If God judges His own people, what shall become of those with worldly mindsets! Though the Philistines escaped the judgment of God in the matter of the cart, they had to meet it in another way. God deals with all according to His own holy principles, and the breach upon Uzza was designed to restore David to a right apprehension of the mind concerning Gods presence with the ark.
My brothers and sisters at first this tragic incident did not appear to render the proper effect, for the word records “David was displeased because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzza: wherefore the name of the place is called Perez Uzza to this day. And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God home to me?”
Saints I want you to get this Golden Nugget!, David desired to do the right thing but in the wrong way, and when God executed judgment upon the method he used, he became discouraged and did not want to do it at all. This is a very common error!
God will never permit His children to persist in carrying on His work upon wrong principles. They may go on for a time with much apparent success, as “David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbre’s, and with cymbals, and with trumpets.” This was very imposing. It would have been a difficult case for anyone to raise an objection to David’s zeal concerning his efforts. The king and all his captains were engaged in it; and the burst of music would have drowned out any objection. But this exultation was checked by God! “The oxen stumbled” …”Uzza put forth his hand,” vainly imagining that God would permit the ark of His presence to fall to the ground. He who had maintained the dignity of that ark, even the dark solitude while in the house of Dagon, would surely preserve it from dishonor amid the mistakes and confusion of His own people. It was a solemn thing to come near the ark of God …a solemn thing to approach that which was the special symbol of Gods divine presence in the midst of His congregation.
It is a serious formality to be the bearer of the name of Jesus, and the depositories of the truth connected with His holy presence. We should all feel more serious and deeply about this formality than we do. We are to apt to regard it as a light thing to put our hand to the ark when not instructed; and those who attempt it will suffer for their error!
My brothers and sisters you may ask, but how does this apply to the Church? Has anything been entrusted to the care and keeping of the church of the living God answering to the ark? Yes!; Jesus Christ the Son of God answers to the ark of old. His divine and human nature answers to the gold and shittim wood of the ark. The materials of the ark typified His Person as the God man; while the purposes of the ark and mercy seat typified His work, whether in life or in death. The ark enclosed the tables of testimony; and the Son of God could say, in connection with the body prepared of God for Him, “Thy law is within My heart.” as referenced in Psalm 40. Again, the mercy seat spoke of peace and pardon, of mercy rejoicing against judgment, where the poor sinner meets God in peace; as the apostle says, “He [Christ] is a mercy seat for our sins.” And again, “Whom God hath set forth to be a mercy seat.” Etymology speaking, the word used in Romans 3 is precisely the same as that used in Exodus 25, propitiation. Glory!; GOLDEN NUGGET!
Hence we perceive what a type the ark of the covenant was of Him who magnified the law and made it honorable … even Jesus our Lord, whose glorious person should be the special object of the saint’s reverent and affectionate guardianship. And, just as Israel’s was connected with the right acknowledgment and preservation of the ark among them, so is the power of the Church as we render our perpetual maintenance as we apply the doctrine of Jesus Christ!
Anything other than the doctrine of Christ is in vain, it is totally worthless! We would be merely walking in the sparks of our own kindling, sparks that will so quickly extinguish. “David was displeased” at the breach. It was a grievous check to all the joy and gladness of the occasion; but it was needful. The breach upon Uzza was designed as a corrective action; and it proved to be a very effective one.
“David brought not the ark of God home to himself to the city of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom, the Gittite.”This was David’s loss; he forfeited many blessings and privileges by stopping short, for the ark of God could do nothing but bless all who were rightly connected with it, though it was judgment to some, as proven by the examples in the men of Bethshemesh, and Uzza. It was a happy time for Obed-edom while the ark was in his house, for “the Lord blessed his house and all that he had.” Wow Saints! All the time that David was “afraid” and without the ark, Obed-edom was blessed” with the ark. True, in our mistakes things might not just look so joyful; that being the blessing, instead of being diffused through the whole nation, as it would have been if it was done according to the word of God, it was confined to Obed-edom’s house. Still the blessing, though contracted, was as real, positive, pure, and truthful, as if the whole nation had been enjoying it. It could not be otherwise, inasmuch as it was the result of the presence of the ark, for wherever the presence of the Lord is has to be a blessing!
God will always be true to His own principles, and will always make those happy who walk in obedience; and as He blessed Obed-edom during the three months that the ark was in his house, even though king David was “afraid,” so will He now bless those who seek to meet Him in truth and simplicity, in the name of Jesus. For the word states “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I.” This is the great charter of us meeting together. Where the presence of Christ is, there has to be a blessing. We may experience weakness and paucity no doubt, but we can still receive blessings and comfort because Jesus is there. The more we feel our own weakness, emptiness, and nothingness, the more we will enjoy His presence and his love.
There is a considerable difference in the way in which the return of the ark is recorded in Samuel and in Chronicles; in the one we have the simple statement of the facts; in the other, we have the moral training through which the soul of David passed during the time that he was afraid of God, or, in other words, during the time that he was laboring under the effects of his own mistake. In Samuel we read, “And it was told king David, saying, The Lord hath blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom, into the city of David with gladness.” David learned this from standing aloof from the ark through fear, and hence learned it was a privilege and blessing to be near it.
And David did learn from his mistake, for in 1 Sam 15 we read, “And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent. Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites; for them hath the Lord chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto Him forever.” And again, addressing the chief of the fathers of the Levites, he says, “Sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel unto the place that I have prepared for it. For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought Him not after the due order.”
My brothers and sisters David learned by the “breach” upon Uzza. He was brought to see that to follow in the ways of man’s thoughts was contrary to “the due order.” None can teach like God! When David was wrong, God made a breach upon him by His own hand. He would not allow the Philistines to do this: on the contrary, He allows David to see them in a place of breaches, and enables him to smite them; to break in upon them, like the breaking forth of waters. Therefore God taught, and hence David learned, what was “the due order.” Hence he learned, as it were, to remove the ark from the new cart, and place it upon the shoulders of the Levites, whom the Lord had chosen to minister unto Him forever, he was taught to cast aside human traditions, and follow in simplicity the written Word of God, which prove there was not a word about using a cart and oxen to carry the ark. “None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites.” This was very distinct. The entire mistake had risen from the forgetfulness of the Word of God, and by following the example of the uncircumcised, who had no capacity to understand the mind of God, nor the designated spiritual capacity to carrying the ark.
Saints what a wonderfully gracious way the Lord taught His servant! He taught him by victory over His enemies! The Lord frequently requires His children to be cautious of His mind, especially when we vainly seek to follow in the tracks of the men of this world. He shows us that we should not adopt to their models. The breach taught David his mistake; the place of breaches taught him Gods’ due order: by the former he learnt the foolishness of the cart and oxen; by the latter he learnt the value of the Levites, and the place which they held in the service of God. He would not allow His people to depart from His prescribed order with exemption from punishment. The ark might have remained to the end in the house of Obed-edom, but David learned to lay aside his own way of bringing it up, and take up God’s way.
The word of God declared “So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel. And the children of the Levites bare the ark upon their shoulders, with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded, according to the word of the Lord.” The Lord was glorified in all this, and He could therefore give real joy and gladness, strength and power. There was no more stumbling of oxen, no more human effort to keep the ark from falling; the truth of God was dominant, and the power of God prevailed! Let us continue to Desire to do the right things the right way, having the right desires in the right spirit, while utilizing God’s Word to do it the correct way!
Have a JESUS DAY!