Wednesday, February 8, 2012

1 Chronicles 13 & 14 - Uzzah and Me

LINKS:
1 Chronicles 13 (Parallel Chapter: 2 Samuel 6)
1 Chronicles 14 (Parallel Chapter: 2 Samuel 5)

BACKGROUND

Always keep in mind that the two books of Chronicles are priestly reflections and interpretations, not those of the palace dwellers. Consequently, the temple and temple worship are the central themes. Since the Ark of the Covenant was central to the temple, it should not be surprising that returning the Ark is listed as David's first order of business as the new king!

1 Chronicles 13

The Ark of the Covenant needed to be brought back from Kiriath Jearim to Jerusalem. The Ark had been separated from the tabernacle and other places of worship for 100 long years (1104-1003 B.C.)! More recently, it had been captured by the Philistines at Aphek (1 Samuel 4:11). Remember that the Ark of the Covenant bore the name of God and represented the presence of God who dwelt among His people (Exodus 25:22). It was to be handled with great care and reverence (Exodus 25:14; Numbers 4:15, 20). Putting the Ark in an ox cart was not the way God commanded for it to be transported, and Uzza(h) knew that he could not touch the Ark because no one could touch the Ark and live. It seems like a harsh punishment for someone who was just trying to help, but it has to be seen in light of God absolute holiness.

David named this spot Perez which means "outbreak against" because of God's wrath. The Ark remained and blessed the house of Obed-Edom for three months until the Lord gave David instruction.

1 Chronicles 14

The Chronicler writes about David's regal reign by explaining details about his palace, family, and victories over the Philistines resulting in all other nations hearing of it and fearing him.

REFLECTION

Poor Uzzah! One little touch and he was out. David had a very good goal of bringing the Ark back to its rightful place; but in his zeal, things were not handled properly. Uzzah was the victim of David's enthusiasm.

After trying "too" hard in a discipling relationship that was going south, I cried out to my good friend and counselor, Tom, about my frustration with things. He looked at me, and in his gentle but firm way, he said, "Carol, sometimes you let your zeal get in the way of the Spirit's leading." It has taken me many years and hard knocks to realize that he was right. Sometimes, my "enthusiasm" gets in God's way.

My "getting ahead of the Spirit" and Uzzah touching that Ark are really not that different: We are both trying to do things OUR way rather than GOD'S way. Yes, we both only want to help out, but God has a way and a plan, and sometimes we get in the way of that.

Thankfully, God does not zap me like Uzzah. He just kindly speaks to me through people like Tom, and I learn to listen to His voice and obey.

It is really that simple, and I think I finally understand that.

APPLICATION

What are you doing that isn't of Him? Take your hand away, and let Him steady the cargo. Don't worry about the fallout. Just listen and obey.

The book, God Guides, is very helpful when learning the simple practice of listening and obeying.

PRAYER

Lord, teach us to listen to You and not try to do things out of our own enthusiastic zeal or even godly ambition but do them because You are directing us. We love You and thank You for being our guide in all things. We can trust You to lead, and we will obey. Amen.
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, 
What a glory He sheds on our way! 
While we do His good will, 
He abides with us still, 
And with all who will trust and obey. 
Refrain 
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way 
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
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