Thursday, September 15, 2011

Six Steps or a Free Ride?

What would you do if you possessed something that had proved fatal to anyone who touched it?

King David is faced with this pressing situation as he is seeking to bring the Ark of God back to it's rightful place in Jerusalem. 

David, after seeing Uzzah struck dead upon touching the ark, gives the ark to one of his faithful servants. When David finds himself stuck in bit of a difficult situation, between a "rock and a hard place" if you will, David decides he is willing to sacrifice others for his own benefit. 

Can you imagine the fear of those who escorted the ark on the rest of the journey after Uzzah's untimely death? They surely must have been terrified that the same fate was awaiting them!

Three months pass, and David begins to have second thoughts about his placement decision as he hears reports that his servant, Obed Edom is being abundantly blessed rather than struck dead while the ark is in his possession. 

After much thought and consideration, David orders that they attempt again to bring the ark back to its rightful place, but this time, David decides to read the manual!

Sure enough, right there in plain black and white, the clear instructions are given, to "keep your hands off the ark!"

David has the sacrificial offerings prepared in abundance and then watches from a short distance. The Levites take their first step, then the next step, and the next. After six steps, no one has died!

"That's far enough" David exclaims, "It's time to stop and worship and exalt in God our Savior."

Six short steps! Six steps that led to sacrifice and joy. 

When God's people tried to enter his presence the easy way (carrying the ark on an oxen cart), their uninformed method brought death, fear, and anger.

When they chose instead to follow God's clearly written method (carrying the ark on their shoulders), they were blessed and flooded with joy as they entered the presence of God.

Enjoying the presence of God requires knowing the guidelines and following his ways with a willingness to go the extra mile!

Sometimes all that requires is six short steps!

As always, thanks for reading the ramblings of a pair of Cheeks! :-)

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Talented Crown

Have you ever noticed and wondered why God dealt so aggressively with David after he numbered Israel in the book of 1st Chronicles 21?

The scripture records that 70,000 men were killed by God as a result of David's sin in this passage. I don't know about you, but when I come across this kind of story, it bothers me greatly. As I ask a loving, perfect, honest God to help me understand, I am compelled to seek the answers with an open mind until I find the message that God was trying to convey.

A look at the text reveals that Satan enticed David to number Israel; David's pride was his downfall here. Left unchecked and unpunished, pride will always eventually spread like cancer and lead to rejection by God.

David's sin has already begun to threaten his kingdom; the leader has neglected spiritual battles for a lifestyle of indulgence and ease. David's commander Joab and his nephew Jonathan are fighting while David is committing adultery. They are the ones conducting the battle, while David is "overseeing" from afar. But yet another situation in David's life continues to demonstrate his arrogant attitude.

In I Chronicles 20, Joab brings David the crown of the Ammonite king he had just conquered. This crown, the scripture says, weighed one talent, or 75 pounds!

Can you imagine wearing a 75 pound crown on your head? What was David thinking? He had become far too consumed with his own position and authority.

David had forgotten what made him great. Do you remember what he said just prior to killing Goliath? First "You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts . . . ."

But now, in his pride, David believes that his outward appearance, the wearing of a great crown, signifying his great authority, will give him honor in the sight of God and his people. God--in his severe judgment--cuts David back down to size. Only then can he be fitted with the humility and the courageous faith that once made him great. God trying to cut him back down to size was really an act of mercy.

God help us to remember, we are but vessels in the hands of the master potter. HE is the one that deserves the glory, not us! Anything we are, is the result of HIS grace!

Just some rambling thoughts on a beautiful Labor Day morning!

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