Summary: David decided to bring the ark to Jerusalem. The Philistines had captured it during the last sad days of Eli. It caused them so much trouble they put it on a cart and returned it, and for awhile it stayed at the house of Abinadab (1 Samuel 7:1).
DOING RIGHT THE WRONG WAY
Scripture: 2 Samuel 6
David decided to bring the ark to Jerusalem. The Philistines had captured it during the last sad days of Eli. It caused them so much trouble they put it on a cart and returned it, and for awhile it stayed at the house of Abinadab (1 Samuel
David undertook to bring the ark to Jerusalem. His motive was good, but his method was wrong. He was right in his intentions, but wrong in the implementation. God had ordered that the ark should be carried only on the shoulders of the Levites. David loaded it on a new cart to be drawn by oxen. He probably got the idea from the Philistines, so it was an expedient borrowed from the enemies of Israel. On the way the oxen stumbled; Uzzah put forth his hand to steady the ark, and God struck him dead (2 Samuel 6:2-8). This strange tragedy has some serious lessons for us.
BORROWING FROM THE ENEMY
David borrowed his idea from the Philistines. The Philistines were not familiar with God’s instructions for handling the ark. God did not punish them for transporting the ark on a cart. God was merciful to them because of their ignorance.
To the Philistines the ark of the covenant was only part of the bounty they had captured. They had no cherished memories of the ark. To them the ark meant very little. They had defeated the Israelites and captured their god.
The church today has borrowed from the world the vehicles of her ministry. We study the techniques of this age- the gadgetry of the business, social, and entertainment world-looking for new carts on which to carry the ark of our testimony. Instead of asking, "How does God do it?" we ask, "How does the world do it?" Vance Havner says, "We are religious copycats; we mimic the manikins of this ’Punch and Judy’ show we call progress. We have called Hollywood to our aid as though the gospel were a form of entertainment. Our worship is streamlined, our preaching slanted to tickle the ears of a generation that cannot endure sound doctrine."
David’s whole procedure was wrong. He had heard of the new cart made by the Philistines. They had experienced no difficulty. They had moved the ark successfully. Now David presumes to move the ark, adopting the methods of the Philistines. Many in the church today want to adopt the methods and standards of the world to do the work of God. It simply will not work.
BECOMING TOO FAMILIAR WITH THE THINGS OF GOD
Too many people today are like Uzzah. Uzzah had no regard for the sanctity of the ark. He was the son of Abinadab and had seen the ark all his life. The ark was a familiar piece of furniture and had become to him just a box. Some in the church have grown so familiar with the gospel, with the worship, and with the ordinances of the church they have lost their reverence and respect for the things of God.
Uzzah had lost his regard for the sacredness of the ark as the symbol of God’s presence among His people. Matthew Henry says, "Perhaps he had affected to show before this great assembly how bold he could make with the ark, having been so long acquainted with it. Familiarity, even with that which is most awful, is apt to breed contempt."
There are those who have grown up in Pentecostalism as Uzzah grew up around the ark. Somehow these folks have become too familiar with the moving of the Spirit. They Just assume everything will continue as they have always known, but they do very little to ensure the abiding presence of God. Others have become so familiar that they ignore the moving of the Spirit. They can be in a service where the Holy Spirit is moving and ministering in a dynamic manner but still be unaffected. Yet others resist the Spirit’s move as unnecessary or unrefined.
BEARING THE ARK
God had instructed that bearing the ark of the covenant would be a personal thing. The Philistines had devised the plan to put the ark on the cart. Carrying it on the shoulders of the priests represented a personal commitment and a sharing of responsibility.
One of the greatest needs of the church today is personal commitment-a commitment to pray, to fast, and to get involved in the work of God. Our modern society lacks commitment. You can see this lack of commitment in the home -between husbands and wives, with parents and children; in companies-between employer and employee; and even in the church-between brothers and sisters.
There was much fanfare for David’s new cart. The Bible says, "The thing was right in the eyes of all the people" (1 Chronicles 13:4). This was the voice of the people, not of God.