For Lord’s Day, October 12, 2014
Something stood out to me recently in the following verse:
And it came to pass, when God helped the Levites that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, that they offered seven bullocks and seven rams. (1 Chronicles 15:26)
The bolded, underscored is a striking juxtaposition with what happened earlier in the story in chapter 13:
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. (1 Chronicles 13:10)
In one place, God seriously helped His people. In the other, God severely hindered them. What was the difference? David knew. The first time, he got Uzza killed by not carrying the Ark in the reverent way God had commanded in Numbers 4:15 and 7:9 (here is the Regulative Principle of Worship illustrated). David admits this sinful transgression (breaking God’s Law, 1 John 3:4) when he directs them now in the right way to carry the Ark according to the Lord (see 1 Chronicles 15:2 and 12-15).
Notice that once they did it right there was much rejoicing as they brought the Ark of the Covenant into the Temple. Notice also that their rejoicing was delayed due to rushing it the wrong way earlier. The whole reason they wanted the Ark back was that (as you know from our study in Exodus) it represented the manifestation of God’s special presence with His people, and they had seen it bless the people (other than the Philistines) who had it before they retrieved it. But we see here that we cannot have God’s blessing if we try and steal it.
The lesson is clear in the juxtaposition of what God did to Uzza (and thus David and the rest of the people) with what God did for the Levites (and thus David and the rest of the people). When we disobey God, He will hinder us in our sin. But when we obey God, He will help us in His righteousness. Beloved, let us always take the blessing of obedience (1 Samuel 15:22).
Keep this lesson in mind when we practice “Semper Reformanda” in the Church, that is, to get back to doing things the way the Bible says to (often lost in a history of sinful neglect by God’s people). And keep the same lesson in mind as we support you in practicing “always reforming” in your own life according to God’s rule over you by His Word. God will hurt you when you fight Him. But He will help you when you obey Him. Or, as James says it (for it is always a matter of the heart): ... God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble … Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (James 4:10)