Today’s passage is 1 Chronicles 13:1-14. Let’s go!
1 Chronicles 13:1-4 (NIV) 1 David conferred with each of his officers, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. 2 He then said to the whole assembly of Israel, “If it seems good to you and if it is the will of the LORD our God, let us send word far and wide to the rest of our brothers throughout the territories of Israel, and also to the priests and Levites who are with them in their towns and pasturelands, to come and join us. 3 Let us bring the ark of our God back to us, for we did not inquire of it during the reign of Saul.” 4 The whole assembly agreed to do this, because it seemed right to all the people.
On verses 1-4: When considering whether or not to bring the ark back to Jerusalem, David confers with his leaders to determine the best course of action. What can we learn from this? When making an important decision, get good advice. As Proverbs19:20 (MSG) says, “Take good counsel and accept correction— that’s the way to live wisely and well.” Is there a decision you are in the process of making where you would benefit from consulting others?
1 Chronicles 13:5-6 (NIV) 5 So David assembled all the Israelites, from the Shihor River in Egypt to Lebo Hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath Jearim. 6 David and all the Israelites with him went to Baalah of Judah (Kiriath Jearim) to bring up from there the ark of God the LORD, who is enthroned between the cherubim–the ark that is called by the Name.
On verses 5-6: What is this ark that David is trying to bring to Jerusalem? The ark was a gold covered box that measured 2.5 feet wide, 2.5 feet high, and 4 feet long. Centuries before Moses would meet with God at the ark on behalf of the people (Exodus 25:22).
Why did David want to bring the ark of God to Jerusalem? It’s because the ark of God represented the presence of God. David longed for God’s presence to fill the capital of city of Israel, Jerusalem. Like David, may our greatest longing be for God’s presence and glory to fill our homes, relationships, churches, and cities.
1 Chronicles 13:7-10 (NIV) 7 They moved the ark of God from Abinadab’s house on a new cart, with Uzzah and Ahio guiding it. 8 David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, cymbals and trumpets. 9 When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. 10 The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God.
On verses 7-10: Why did God strike Uzzah down for trying to stabilize the ark of God with his hand (6-7)? It’s because centuries ago God had commanded in His Word that the ark was not to be touched and that anyone who touched the ark would die (Numbers 4:15). What can we learn from this?
First, God is holy. No one can touch God’s presence and survive if they are stained by sin. The only reason we can enter the presence of God today and live is because Jesus Christ the Son of God has washed our sins with His blood.
Second, David consulted people about his decision, but he failed to consult God. Don’t we often make that same mistake? We talk to everyone except God about the decision we plan to make, when in fact it is God we should be going to first. Sometimes our failure to consult God about our decisions can be fatal.
If you want to truly live, you need to know what God’s Word says and obey it. Sometimes you hear people say, “ignorance is bliss”. Yet in Uzzah’s case, his ignorance of God’s commands, or his failure to obey God’s commands, led to his death. God gives us His commands so that we may live and not die. That’s one reason why it’s so important to study God’s Word so that we know what God expects of us and so that we can have life to the full.
1 Chronicles 13:11-14 (NIV) 11 Then David was angry because the LORD’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah. 12 David was afraid of God that day and asked, “How can I ever bring the ark of God to me?” 13 He did not take the ark to be with him in the City of David. Instead, he took it aside to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. 14 The ark of God remained with the family of Obed-Edom in his house for three months, and the LORD blessed his household and everything he had.
On verses 11-14: Afraid of God, David stayed away from the ark and left it at the home of Obed-Edom. For those three months that the ark stayed in Obed-Edom’s house, his household and everything he had was blessed. What can we learn from this?
The presence of God brings the blessing of God. The most blessed place you can be is in God’s presence.
Don’t let fear keep you from experiencing God’s presence. Because David was afraid, he stayed far away from God, and in so doing also stayed far away from God’s blessing. Praise God that we do not need to be terrified of God anymore because Christ has paid for our sins on the cross. God’s perfect love drives out all fear so that we can enter God’s presence with confidence. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
The Holy Spirit is greater than the ark. During the time of the ark, God’s presence seemed to be confined to one place only. But now, after Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension to heaven, He has made His Holy Spirit available to all of us. That means that now we have something far greater than the ark: we have His Holy Spirit, given to every believer in Christ without limit so that every believer can experience much of God’s presence wherever they are. Since we have the Holy Spirit, make it a point to welcome the Holy Spirit and draw near to His presence every day. The more you do, the more you and your household will be blessed.
Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus Christ has paid for all of my sins and that Your perfect love drives out all fear. Thank You that through Jesus Christ I can enter Your holy presence and that in Your presence there is tremendous blessing. Holy Spirit, thank You that I have You in my life and thank You for allowing me to access the presence of God. I welcome You today. Please fill my life and be glorified in me. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!