Moving The Ark: Lessons Learned
- Numbers 4:4 (NASB)
- Numbers 4:5 (NASB)
- Numbers 4:6 (NASB)
- Numbers 4:7 (NASB)
- Numbers 4:8 (NASB)
- Numbers 4:9 (NASB)
- Numbers 4:10 (NASB)
- Numbers 4:11 (NASB)
- Numbers 4:12 (NASB)
- Numbers 4:13 (NASB)
- Numbers 4:14 (NASB)
- Numbers 4:15 (NASB)
- 1 Samuel 5:7 (NASB)
- 1 Samuel 7:1 (NASB)
- 2 Samuel 2:2 (NASB)
- 2 Samuel 6:3 (NASB)
- 2 Samuel 6:5 (NASB)
- 2 Samuel 6:6 (NASB)
- 2 Samuel 6:7 (NASB)
- 2 Samuel 6:8 (NASB)
- 2 Samuel 6:9 (NASB)
- 2 Samuel 6:10 (NASB)
- 2 Samuel 6:11 (NASB)
- 2 Samuel 6:12 (NASB)
- 1 Chronicles 15:2 (NASB)
- 1 Chronicles 15:12 (NASB)
- 1 Chronicles 15:13 (NASB)
- Matthew 7:21 (NASB)
- Matthew 19:9 (NASB)
- Acts 2:38 (NASB)
- Acts 8:36 (NASB)
- Acts 8:37 (NASB)
- Acts 8:38 (NASB)
- Acts 20:7 (NASB)
- Ephesians 5:19 (NASB)
- 1 Timothy 3:1 (NASB)
Second Samuel chapter six opens with David undertaking the important task of moving the ark of the covenant into the city of Jerusalem. In the previous chapter, we are told of David's capture of that city (1 Samuel 5:7), and seeing that it would serve as both the political and religious capital of the nation, it was where the ark belonged. If one has been reading the Bible up to this point, then the last time you read about the ark was in 1 Samuel chapter 7. For more than sixty years the ark had resided in the residence of Abinadab, and it looks like King Saul had basically ignored it for most of his reign. The distance between this location and Jerusalem was about 10 miles. In verse 2 two details about given about the ark. First, it was called by "the Name". That is, the ark represented the glorious reputation of the true God, and secondly, the ark represented the very throne of God.
Moving To Jerusalem:
• Jerusalem has been captured: 2 Samuel 5
• It will be the political and religious capital of the nation
• This was where the ark truly belonged
• The ark had remained in Abinadab for more than 60 years
• The distance between Abinadab and Jerusalem was about 10 miles
Their Actions Looked Respectful:
For someone unaware of what God had previously said about the ark, things look okay during the first part of the move. The ark is placed on a "new cart" which appears to be a respectful way of handling it (2 Samuel 6:3). In addition, the procession is very zealous, joyful and enthusiastic (2 Samuel 6:5). Again, someone unfamiliar with the Bible would have looked upon such a scene as one that God must be pleased with, for look at all the excited people! Today many people feel the same way. They go to some religious service and it is filled with music and a lot of zealous people and they conclude that it must have met with God's approval.
• The ark was placed on a new cart
• There was a lot of music
• The streets were wide with people excited about the moving of the ark
• The people were enthusiastic about what they were observing
A Natural Reaction:
It would have been very natural and easy to reach out like Uzzah and with good intentions steady the ark while the oxen were moving over the threshing floor (2 Samuel 6:6). At this moment the entire account shifts and the reader who is not familiar with what God had previously said in Scripture will be surprised like David was. Uzzah, with all his good intentions, is instantly struck dead, and he drops dead right beside the ark. The Holy Spirit says that the issue is a lack of respect for God (2 Samuel 6:7). It even says that God's anger burned against him for such a deed.
• 2 Samuel 6:6
• If you were unfamiliar with God's law this was a natural reaction to try and save the ark
• This was done with good intentions, not an intentional act of rebellion
• But even disobedience with good intentions can have devastating results
King David's initial reaction is a typical one for many people. He was both afraid of God (2 Samuel 6:9), and angry at Him (2 Samuel 6:8). Many people since have reacted in a similar fashion. David's basic complaint was, "How can the ark of God come to me?" (2 Samuel 6:9) Or, "it is impossible to serve such a God". Today you will hear people say things like:
• "God's standards are too strict, He expects too much of us".
• "No one can really live the Christian life".
• "It is impossible to resist that particular temptation".
• "People just cannot understand the Bible alike".
• "It is impossible to have unity based on following the Bible".
• Uzzah instantly drops dead
• God was very angry at the actions of Uzzah–– God has feelings and emotions
• He struck Uzzah down for his lack respect towards God–– This is what the text says
For the moment David "looks" justified, after all what fault could God have found with the preceding events? They are bringing up the ark to the right city. They had it on a new cart. They were all excited and joyfully. The music was great! There was lot of celebrating! A lot of people were present, and Uzzah was just trying to be helpful! Yet as we will see, God only appears to be unreasonable when we do not have all the facts.
The Rest of the Story:
Before we move from this chapter, do not skip the section on what happens when the ark is temporarily moved in to the house of Obed-edom (2 Samuel 6:10-11). Good things happened, this family was blessed, and everyone could see it (2 Samuel 6:12). So God is making the point that He is not unreasonable, and serving Him acceptably is not impossible.
David's First Response:
• David is angry at God's response
• David was then afraid of God
• David believes that it is now impossible to move the ark
• God is unreasonable and impossible to please
• Yet this reaction is all rooted in ignorance
• God's standards are too strict
• God expects too much of us
• The Christian life is too challenging
• People cannot understand the Bible
What Went Wrong?:
• The addition of the new cart
• The ark was to be carried by a certain group of men–– Not a cart!
• There is an entire chapter speaking of how the ark is to be moved after the ark is torn down
• Only the Levites were to move the ark
• They did not take into consideration that God is detail oriented
• They thought they knew the best way to transport the ark–– They ignored the methods God had instructed them to use
• They believed their actions were acceptable because David did not object to them
• God is not unreasonable–– The Lord blessed the family that held the ark
• The ark is not naturally dangerous–– It is only dangerous if it is not tested with respect!
Upset With The Right People:
1 Chronicles chapter 15 gives us additional information that follows the previous event. In verse 2 David says, "No one is to carry the ark of God but the Levites; for the Lord chose them to carry the ark of God, and to minister to Him forever". Then later in the chapter David addresses the various priests and Levites and tells them, "You are the heads of the fathers' households of the Levites; consecrate yourselves both you and your relatives, that you may bring up the ark of the Lord god of Israel, because you did not carry it at the first, the Lord our God made an outburst on us, for we did not seek Him according to the ordinance" (1 Chronicles 15:12-13).
• David realizes that they did not follow scripture
-"Then David said, "No one is to carry the ark of God but the Levites; for the Lord chose them to carry the ark of God and to minister to Him forever." (1 Chronicles 15:2 NASB)
• David realizes his anger was misplaced
-"And David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the Lord to its place which he had prepared for it." (1 Chronicles 15:3 NASB)
• David should have made his own copies of the scriptures–– Not just rely on what his priests told him
• We are responsible for knowing and holding God's laws–– We cannot assume that others are always right concerning God's laws
How One Seeks God:
In Second Samuel chapter six people were seeking God, but they left Scripture and God's law out of the seeking and disaster resulted. One can seek God in an unprofitable manner. The only seeking that really counts is when we pick up the Bible and find out how He wants to be served. The same principle is true in the New Testament (Matthew 7:21).
• Fan fare?
• By my own beliefs?
• Or by paying attention to His ordinances?
• Scripture was written for a purpose–– We are not born knowing how to perfectly serve God
How Long Would Research Have Taken?:
Now we learn that when David had first prepared to move the ark, he had not took the time to find out if God had a preference on how the ark was to be handled. In addition, none of the priests had stepped forward to help him in this area. No one took the five or ten minutes needed to go back to the Law of God, find the section on how the tabernacle and its furniture was to be moved,and make sure they were doing it right. God had been very specific. When the ark was to be moved. it was first to be covered by the priests (Numbers 4:5-15), then it was to be carried by a specific tribe within the Levite community (Numbers 4:15). None of this information was mysteriously hidden, in fact the ark itself had poles that went with it that would have be a head's up to anyone thinking about moving it. A little time spent in Bible study-and a man would not have died. Yet, Uzzah was not without excuse, the same Law that David had his own personal copy of, and was read publicly to the people, was also available to Uzzah.
• 5 or 10 minutes?
• It would not have taken long to research using God's word to find where the ordinance was at
• What would have been prevented if they had done their research before Uzzah touched the ark?
• 5 or 10 minutes would've saved a Nan's life
• Uzzah would've saved his own life by being prepared!
• Uzzah lived several years with the ark–– He should've known everything their is to know about how it was to be respected!
• Numbers 4:4-15
Applications for God's Will:
Discovering God's will on a matter is not something that takes decades or a lifetime. It would have taken only a few minutes to read Numbers chapter 4 and find out how God wanted the ark moved. In like manner, how much time does it really take to understand.
• That baptism is for the forgiveness of sins? Acts 2:38
• That baptism is immersion in water? Acts 8:36-38
• That the day for observing the Lord's Supper is Sunday? Acts 20:7
• That singing is the music commanded in worship? Ephesians 5:19
• That a bishop must be married? 1 Timothy 3:1ff
• That there is only one Scriptural cause for divorce and remarriage? Matthew 19:9
• Good intentions do not make up for ignoring a Bible command.
• Good intentions do not make something that is wrong—right.
• Good music, lots of people, and people being zealous does not turn unscriptural worship into worship that pleases God.
• The end did not justify the means. The end was a good end, getting the ark to Jerusalem, but the means were unlawful-and God expressed His anger over those means and failing to respect His will on the matter.
• All of God's laws matter, and are equally important to Him, even the ones that give certain details about worship. Uzzah was struck dead just like an adulterer or murderer was to be put to death. The details do matter to God!
• When God is specific about how something is to be done, that rules out all other options. You will not find a verse that says, "Thou shaft not use a new cart when transporting the ark of the covenant", but it was forbidden because God has specified how the ark was to be carried.
Lesson Notes from Sunday January 13th, 2013. This lesson was preached at the Beaverton Church of Christ, in Beaverton OR. Please use the links below to visit our Facebook page and website for videos, class materials, studies, and past lessons!
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