2 Samuel 6:2 – And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the Lord of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims.
2 Samuel 6:3 – 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.
Hello readers, firstly happy new year, first blog of 2017! Today’s blog is from both 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 13. They are the same story recorded in two different parts of Scripture, and when read together help to develop a deeper understanding of what exactly was going on. The story is unusual, it is easy to think and ask why and how did what happened… happen? To set the scene, King David had just come to power following the demise of king Saul, and he wanted to bring the ark of God back home to him, back to Israel. He wanted to see revival towards God in Israel, he wanted to get God back to being the center of lives and worship in Israel, he recognized the importance of putting God first. He wanted to restore the ark of God, which was a great symbol of God’s presence, glory, and deliverance, and the ark itself is one of the greatest pictures of the Lord Jesus Christ. Under king Saul’s reign the ark had become lost, discarded, irrelevant, and abandoned. This is true of today, Jesus has been pushed to the back burner even in “Christian” homes, churches and lives today. So what David wanted to do was very noble and very right… so what was so wrong in this story?
David asked after the initial failure of his mission (which we will be looking at in this blog), How shall I bring the ark of God home to me? You, like David, might be seeking to bring God into your life, into your worship, into your church, you may be trying to bring the ark of God home to you, you may be trying to bring the ark of God to others. But we see in this story a serious warning to Christians and churchgoers alike, in fact it is a warning to everyone, to all of us, as we see the Holy God who will only accept obedience to his word, who demands that we come to him and worship him and praise him HIS way, according to HIS word, by HIS Son. Bringing the ark back was and is a great idea, that was not the problem. In this story though, we see that something went badly wrong, and this story is a very true picture of contemporary Christianity today, Christianity today which is “new cart” Christianity. Christianity done a different way. No according to the Bible, but instead in a non-offensive gospel, which caters to everyone, which won’t rub anyone the wrong way, a sanitized gospel with no traces of things like sin, judgement, repentance, mercy, wrath, hell. Leaders and followers want to have God, but also have the world and the flesh at the same time, and a compromise is struck, a deal with the devil, and thus we have a new Jesus, Jesus in a new cart, not the Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible who everyone can like, who won’t alienate anybody, who will get people back in churches, who will get money back in the coffers, who will make church popular, successful and cool.
We see first of all that King David consulted the people, this was his first mistake. Instead of going to the word of God, he enquired of the people to form a consensus. Truth has never been established by consensus, or to be determined by the people. The Bible says let God be true and every man a liar. It is God’s word alone that is the sole authority, what David should have done was looked in the scripture at how the ark was to be brought back. Because God had detailed very clearly how to move the ark around, who was to to do what, and how it was to be done. But this is what church is doing today, instead of being subject to God’s word, God’s word has become subject to us. A people’s religion, instead of a Bible authorized by a king, they now have a “people’s” Bible, a “critical” Bible. In the book of Judges, a few books previous to 2 Samuel, we see a time marked by people doing that which was right in their own eyes. And we see that here, the Bible says the thing seemed good in the people’s eyes. David and the people formed a consensus about how to bring the ark back. Bringing the ark back was a good idea, but HOW they set about doing it was already doomed from the start… because scripture had been put aside, and David and Israel were going to get this done in their own effort, in their own way, by their own means.
They got the ark, and they placed the ark in a new cart. When the ark had first been captured by the Philistines, the Philistines had moved the ark around in a cart, and here we see Israel COPYING!!! the Philistines. The Philistines were Israel’s mortal enemy, whom God wanted them to destroy, yet David and Israel were copying the Philistines in how they were dealing with the ark. And how true is this today? We see Christians copying the world, they try to make Jesus “world” friendly, world compatible, to compromise between both. To strike concord between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness, which cannot be done, because God divided the light from the darkness, and it was and is so. No one wants the God of judgement, who hates sin, who warns of wrath and hell, but they don’t mind the new cart God who just loves everyone, who winks at sin, who doesn’t judge you, who makes you feel fuzzy and warm and comfortable in your sin. We see disobedience to God’s word in how they were bringing the ark back , and we see them instead attempting bring the ark to them in a worldly manner. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy of people who have a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Israel had the ark there, they were doing it in the “right name”, under the banner of righteousness, but when we look a little deeper, we see that there were serious problems here.
The next thing we see is music. Lots of music. And they played their music with all their might. There was a great commotion. The sound of shouting, of praise, it must’ve sounded so… right. But it wasn’t. Before the ark was taken back in 1 Samuel, when Israel brought the ark up in the hope that God would deliver them despite their wickedness and unrepentant hearts, they were shouting so loudly that even the Philistines were afraid and said surely God is with them! But what followed was an abject slaughter and defeat as Israel was destroyed and the ark captured by the Philistines. Israel was in an “Ichabod” state, the glory had departed, they had the Philistines fooled temporarily (and themselves!). There was a big show going on here, enough to fool everyone. But the reality was missing, God wasn’t in it. That’s why we should never be fooled by performance, by a commotion, by the outward. God looks on the inside. We could have easily been impressed by this performance as the ark was being brought back, we could say God is really in this thing, and this is great, but disaster was about to happen. Many churches today proclaim their attendances, great movements of God, great zeal and enthusiasm for worship, but it is all meaningless and empty without reality, without the true Holy Spirit (who is also called the Spirit of truth) present. If you don’t worship God according to God’s word, your worship is rejected. Look at Saul’s worship, he was rejected because he disobeyed God in 1 Samuel 15, look at the prophets of Baal, they cut themselves, they did not lack for enthusiasm, but Baal did not answer them or honor them, because he was not God.
And back to the music… music is worship, music is entertainment, and we see churches today marked by music, and very entertaining, they keep their audiences coming back by putting on a show…. rather than by the preaching and declaration of the truth of God’s word. We see truly dead Ichabod churches who in order to make up for the lack of spiritual reality, instead whip up a substitute, they put on a show to keep people coming, to keep them entertained, to en-trance them. Counterfeiting is Satan’s business, Pharaoh’s magicians counterfeited Moses’ miracles with their magic for a while, but at the end of the day they were just counterfeits, and their foolishness and folly was quickly manifested. Music is just one of many things that has been substituted for God’s word, and obedience to God’s word today… music definitely has it’s place, but music should be done God’s way, which is another area in which David went wrong. David made it all up himself, he didn’t do it God’s way. There was a lot of worship going on, but the worship was rejected. Jesus said they that worship God must worship him in spirit and in truth. Instead David and Israel were trying to work it up themselves. They had to make it alive, they had to drive it all along, and in fact the ark had to be pulled along.
We see new cart Christianity today that is being pulled along, and trying to be made alive by adding the world, by adding music … none of which can substitute for the real thing. What we see so far is a manufactured worship service, in disobedience to God, and God is not going to be brought home to any of us in such a way. We have noted that the ark was pulled along. And who is ultimately pulling new cart Christianity along? What was wrong with the oxen pulling the cart? Well, the ark was actually meant to be carried by the Levites, but instead they had the ark in a new cart being pulled by oxen. And this shows us who exactly was in charge of what was going on here. The devil. It is the devil who is pulling new cart Christianity along! The devil authors new Bibles, he sows corrupt seed, he ceaselessly seeks to pervert the gospel, to cast doubt, to deceive, entice, steal, destroy, the devil tirelessly sows tares amongst the wheat while the men sleep as Jesus said. The oxen are a picture of the devil, when Moses was away the people made a golden calf and started worshipping it. And people prefer to worship the creature rather than the Creator just as Paul said. The devil is a creature, the Lord Jesus Christ is the Creator.
So the ark was going along successfully, and so can false religion, false beliefs, false works, things and lives built upon the sand … for a time… but the storm, the test of reality is coming. Things built by God last, things built by man, things propelled along by man’s efforts do not. And this whole thing came tumbling down. The ark came to the threshingfloor of Nachon and the oxen stumbled, the ark began to fall, Uzzah was struck dead for attempting to steady the ark, and the whole thing ground to a halt. The fact is, new cart Christianity does not pass the threshingfloor of Christ. The threshingfloor test. In 2 Samuel we are told it was the threshingfloor of Nachon, which means “prepared”. And these guys were not prepared, or ready at all for the threshingfloor test. It was unprepared service, unprepared worship, because it was not done according to God’s word, and the parable of the ten virgins is all about preparedness, or lack thereof, it is a warning to us to be prepared for when Jesus comes, to be prepared to have the reality of our lives, our worship tested by Jesus Christ. Oil is representative of the Holy Spirit in the Bible, and the foolish virgins were unprepared, they did not have oil. Do you have the Holy Spirit or a substitute? Are you living your life in the energy of your flesh? At the start of Jesus’ ministry, when John the Baptist was preaching, John talked about the threshing floor of Christ, that Jesus gathers the wheat into his garner but the chaff is burnt up with unquenchable fire. Are you wheat or chaff? Does your life consist of wheat or chaff? Are your works wheat or chaff? Because your worship will be found out, your contemporary church service will be found out, it won’t pass the litmus test, as God’s two edged sword of his word perfectly judges your life. Dead works or live works, which are yours? You can dedicate your whole life to worthless religion, and be rejected. All your works will be burnt up. God judged this situation, and the whole thing ground to a halt.
And what all this hullabaloo produces is people such as Uzzah, who are not afraid to put their hand to the ark. Uzzahs of today, who have no fear of God, who live and walk contrary to God’s word, who make up their own “god”, who practice their own “religion”. The Bible says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, it is the fear of the Lord that causes men to depart from evil, fearing God is what will save you from hell. Is there fear of God in you? Uzzah was struck dead for his error in a flash. Man has nothing to do with what Jesus did. We cannot add or take away to what Jesus did, what Jesus says, who Jesus is, what Jesus does. When we will learn it is all about him, we must decrease, he must increase. Jesus said he will build his church. Who is building your church? Your life? What is your life based upon? Is your house built upon the sand or upon the rock of Christ? It is all about him start to finish, and him alone. It was Jesus alone who lived a sinless life who died on the cross and arose from the dead… the same Jesus whom the Bible says did not commit himself unto man for he knew what was in man. David said that there was a breach upon Uzzah, and today we see “breached” Christianity. Ruptured, split, fractured, cracked Christianity, whose members are separated from Christ by their unbelief, their sin, their disobedience, who violate his word. Because that is what the word “breach” refers to, and the breach was upon Uzzah, is there a breach upon you? Will God break forth upon you in his wrath because you do not trust in his Son Jesus Christ, because you have no substitute in your place who pays for your sins, who forgives you freely, who intercedes for you, who gives eternal life? Christianity today has largely separated from Jesus Christ, and Jesus said in the the final letter to the church (Laodieca) that he stands at the door and knocks. Jesus has been kicked out of church, and replaced by false substitutues, false messiahs, false Christs. The solution for the breach of our lives is Jesus Christ, he is the healer of the breach!
At the end of all this we see a man, Obededom. The ark of God didn’t come home that day to David and Israel. It would later on, when David read the Bible, and brought the ark back God’s way. But it found a place at Obededom’s house. Does the ark have a place for you as it did for Obededom? He was blessed because he had the ark. We are blessed when we are saved, because when are saved, we are in the ark, we have the ark, because the ark of God is the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the reason we can be and are blessed by God. God is well pleased in his Son, and when you have the Son, you have life, you have the blessing. All you need to do to have the Son is believe. Receive his forgiveness for your sins, receive eternal life. It is a free gift. In the midst of all this carnage, a man simply received the ark into his home. He was blessed because of it. David and Israel in violation of God’s word were unable to bring it home to them, but it found a home, a lodging in the house of Obededom. It is a good thing to have the ark at your home, in your life, but we must get God in our lives his way. Obey his word, the Bible says his sheep hear his voice. If you are his sheep you will hear his voice, his unmistakable voice, let him lead you to the green pastures, let him restore your soul. You will know your master’s crib, you will only find rest in the truth, in doing things the right way, God’s way. Bring the ark of God home to you God’s way.