Saturday, July 16, 2011

Moving the Ark    1 Chronicles 13 & 15

On two occasions the newly-crowned King David attempted to move the Ark of the Covenant from a neighboring town in Judah to the “City of David.” The first attempt ended in failure, the second was a resounding success. David, who was loved by God, was in charge both times—so what made the difference?
On both occasions David’s heartfelt desire was to bring the Ark of the Covenant home . This was not a selfish desire, for David was well aware that the Ark represented the “Presence” of God among the people of Israel. He also knew that God’s blessings accompanied the Ark as long as the required conditions were met. It seems that David sincerely wanted God’s blessings on the nation as well as on himself. However, he made some serious mistakes which resulted in tragedy. Let us note the following:

1. David failed to consult God.

The first attempt was made after consulting with the military leaders and the “congregation of Israel (1 Chron. 13:1, 2). God was mentioned but not consulted. The people thought it was the right thing to do (v. 4), so David went ahead without asking God for guidance. There are many things that may be “right” for the Christian to do, but how many times do we fail simply because we do not consult God’s Word.

2. David failed to meet God’s conditions.

The Levites were to purify themselves in preparation to move the Ark, but on the first attempt they did not do so. Because this was not done, God brought things to a halt. The Presence of God was so awesome and holy, that no one except those with clean hands and hearts were to be involved. God still requires “holy hands” to carry His gospel message to a lost world today.

3. David failed to use the proper mode of transportation.

The Ark was to be carried on human shoulders. Instead, David had it moved “in a new cart” pulled by oxen (vv. 7,9). The work of God has been assigned to humans. God wants it that way. When the human factor is removed, the Great Commission given to the disciples by Jesus is seriously compromised. The gospel message can be effective only when we “shoulder” the responsibilities given us.
How many "new cart's" has the church instituted through the centuries?

4. David failed to instruct the people.

The Ark was not to be touched. Poles for carrying were placed through rings which had been attached to the Ark. However, when they came to the threshing floor of Chidon,” the oxen shook the Ark, and Uzza reached out to keep it from tipping. He died instantly (v. 10). Uzza’s motive may have been sincere, but he was sincerely wrong. His human solution to correct an incident brought on by wrong-doing could not be justified in the eyes of a Holy God.
David was so shocked by God’s judgment that he was afraid to continue the journey. The Ark was placed in the house of Obed-edom where it remained for three months (v. 14). But that is not the end of the story. A second attempt was made which did end successfully.

To be continued.

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