Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 2 October 2022:
2 Samuel 6:6, 7 – And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God.
Uzzah assumed that his sinful hand was cleaner than the ground. He had no business being anywhere near the Ark, and he died “because of his error.”
2 Samuel 6:8 — And David was angry because the LORD had broken out against Uzzah.
David was angry at God because God killed Uzzah, but ultimately it was David’s fault as the leader. In His rush to use God’s power for His benefit, He treated God irreverently and led his followers to do the same. David led his men in flagrant violation of God’s laws concerning the handling of the ark and set Uzzah up for failure by neglecting to model and demand obedience and respect for God’s holiness and God’s word. We all play a role in some way as both a leader and follower, and this account should convict us to follow Christ alone and to make disciples (followers) who observe all that He has commanded, being careful not to be led astray or lead others astray. David should have taken responsibility for leading Uzzah astray, humbled himself and repented before the Lord, confessed his sins to the people, and led the people to follow God’s commands. Anytime you are not honoring, obeying and following God, you are likely leading someone else astray, and God takes this very seriously. “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)
The Ark of the Covenant was most Holy, symbolizing God’s throne — God was “above it” (Leviticus 16:2). The Ark was kept in the Most Holy Place in the temple where only the High Priest could enter, and only after much ceremonial cleansing. God gave very strict regulations for transporting the Ark. When the ark was to be moved, it was to be covered with at least three layers of cloth by the priests to protect others from seeing it (Numbers 4:5-6, 15, 18-20); the priests/Levites carried it, and everyone else had to stay about a thousand yards away (Joshua 3:4). These laws enforced the reality of the holiness of God, the sinfulness (unworthiness) of people, and, ultimately, pointed to the Gospel of Jesus who would cleanse us of our unrighteousness, give us access to His holiness, and make us “worthy” in Him.
“And David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals.” (2 Samuel 6:5) David led the people in great religious celebration, right up to the point where The Lord’s anger kindled and He struck down Uzzah. True worship is not about emotional songs and much display; it is about a reverent, obedient heart and living lives holy and pleasing to God – “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1) “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22) David should have led in true worship as a living sacrifice before the Lord, wholly obedient to Him, seeking only to please Him.
In his rush to receive the Ark, perhaps to reinforce his own power, David broke all of God’s regulations. Following David’s lead, Uzzah died from carelessly handling the Ark (1 Samuel 6:19). When God held Uzzah accountable for his complacency, David became angry with God rather than taking responsibility for his poor leadership. Perhaps, David did not know he was breaking God’s commands concerning the Ark, but ignorance is no excuse for a leader. Bad leadership hurts others.
“How can the ark of the LORD come to me?” (2 Samuel 6:9) “…come to me…” Me, me, me. When we lose perspective on God’s holiness, we begin to place ourselves ahead of God and make ourselves the priority. We pursue, “My will be done,” rather than “Thy will be done,” and we expect God to serve us rather than the other way around. David failed Uzzah because David was too focused on getting what he wanted rather than simply honoring God. Again, God had provided clear, easily understandable instructions on how to transport the Ark, but apparently, no one bothered to review them. How a person treats God’s word reflects how that person truly feels about God. If the Bible is interesting but not compelling, the reader has minimalized God, which by definition is the same as saying God isn’t God.
“And when those who bore the ark of the LORD had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal. And David danced before the LORD with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod.” (2 Samuel 6:13, 14) All of this was unnecessary and, to some observers, foolishness. All they had to do was obey the laws of Exodus 25. God desires obedience, not extravagant religious ceremony and sacrifice. “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14) “For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:16, 17)
- Matthew 18:6 — But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
- Jeremiah 50:6 — “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their fold.
- 1 John 4:1 — Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
- 1 John 3:7 — Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.
- John 8:12 — Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Again, we all play a role in some way as a leader and a follower. We must be very careful not to be led astray or lead others astray. Leaders know the way, go the way, and show the way. Jesus is the way – the only way! (John 14:6) True leaders humbly and obediently follow Jesus and lead people to Him. If you are not following Jesus and guiding others to Him, you are not fit to lead. In fact, anyone who isn’t following Jesus is ultimately leading others astray, despite the temporal rewards they might seem to offer.
- 2 Corinthians 11:3 — But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
- Mark 13:5 — And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray.
- Luke 9:23 — And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
- Matthew 10:38 — And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
- John 10:27 — My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
- John 12:26 — If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
2 Samuel 6:16-23 — The marriage between Michal and David was never based on love and devotion. Michal had love for another and despised David. David’s pride caused great pain. The relationship was never right.
2 Samuel 6:20 — How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants’ female servants, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!
Michal knew David’s prideful heart.
2 Samuel 6:23 — And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.
Deep seated resentment destroys marriages.
Psalm 113:3 – From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!
You should be praising God all day long, from the time you get up until the time you go to bed.
Psalm 113:4 — The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens!
What happens when a nation declares God’s laws unconstitutional?
Proverbs 2 — The preconditions for finding “the knowledge of God” are to treasure God’s commands more than anything else on earth and to understand them and apply them with a genuine heart. If you accept God’s word and store it in your heart (v1), and if you apply it diligently and prayerfully as your highest priority (vs3-4), then you will learn to fear the Lord. All wisdom comes from God, and He rewards those who seek Him and His wisdom wholeheartedly. You cannot know right or do right without a love for God and His commands. Your relationship with God is what gives you hope for life on earth. Walk with Him and in His ways.
Proverbs 2:6, 7 — For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity….
Wisdom is learned from God’s word.
Proverbs 2:7, 8 – …he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.
For whom is God a shield?
Proverbs 2:9, 10 — Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart.
How do you gain wisdom, and how do you understand the purpose of your life and your direction in life? Proverbs says, “if” you receive God’s word and truly “treasure up” His commandments within you, truly inclining your heart to understand them; “if” you cry out to God Himself from your heart to understand them, “then” you will “understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” It won’t be a set of rules or a doctrine that you find, it will be a relationship with God Himself. The word of God will point you to the Word of God, Jesus Christ. “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6) The Holy Spirit will speak personally to you through Scripture to reveal the truth of God that cannot be understood solely through human reasoning or intellect. But it is critical to our understanding and to our relationship with God that we “walk in integrity.” (Proverbs 2:7) Jesus said it like this: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) You can’t get to know someone simply by reading about them. To know God you must walk with God, live life with God. You cannot just step out each day on your own course, living your own life, accomplishing your personal goals, living the best life you know how; you must wait on God, let Him show you where He is going, and then follow. (Psalm 52:9) It is important to remember that the Bible is not a holy self-help book, a super-powered book on ethics or a guide to living a “successful life.” The Bible is a guide to a relationship with Jesus. If your goal in Bible study is to merely receive blessings from God, you are missing the mark. The goal is to know Jesus personally, to experience Him day-by-day. How will you experience God today?
Proverbs 2:13-17 — God’s word causes you to separate from those who have forsaken the paths of uprightness.
Proverbs 2:20 – So you will walk in the way of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous.
God’s word will take you down a different path in life than the way the majority are travelling.
- Joshua 1:8 — This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. [God’s success formula: Talk about God’s word all the time; think deeply about God’s word all the time; be careful to do God’s word all the time]
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 2 October 2022: Focus on simple, loving obedience to the Lord today as an act of worship to Him. Lead others in loving obedience to God.