Doing The Right Thing In A Wrong Way
2 Samuel 6:1-15 (Please Read)
Does it matter how we serve and worship God? We'll see from our text that it does.
Is God only concerned with sincerity, or is He also concerned with obedience to His commands and the truth of His Word? These men in our text were sincere, but they weren't obedient to God's Word.
Does it matter to the Lord if we serve and worship Him in accordance with His Word; or can we just worship Him any way we want to? God hasn't changed. The prescribed way of worship has changed from the Old Testament to the New, but as we will see, the Lord expects His people to follow the pattern given in His Word.
1. The Ark of God
What was the Ark of God?
It was a wooden box that was 2 ˝ cubits long x 1 ˝ cubits wide x 1 ˝ cubits high (or 45" x 27" x 27"), that was overlade with gold and had a crown of gold around the top.
It was covered with a solid gold mercy seat, upon which sat two golden cherubim that covered the mercy seat with their wings.
The ark had four gold rings in the corners and two wooden staves that were overlade with gold that went through the gold rings, and were used to bare the ark upon the shoulders when it had to be moved.
The ark contained the 2 stone tables of the law, Aaron's rod that budded, and a golden pot of manna.
What did the Ark Represent?
-The presence of God.
-God's throne in Heaven.
Wood- Christ's humanity
Gold- His deity
The tables of the law-Christ's perfect, sinless life of obedience to His Father
Gold pot of manna-Jesus the bread of life
Aaron's rod the budded-The resurrection
The crown of gold-Jesus the King of Kings and Lord of Lords
The mercy seat-Christ's atoning sacrifice
Some Prohibitions Concerning the Ark:
-It was to be carried on the shoulders of the Kohathites. It was not to be moved by just anyone or in just any manner. The Kohathites were not even allowed to have wagons (Numbers 7:6-9) because of this.
-It was not to be touched or looked into because God is Holy and man is sinful!
2. What was the right thing that they were attempting to do?
They were attempting to be bring the ark of God to Jerusalem (or Zion), which was to be the new designated place of worshipping God in national Israel.
This earthly Zion represented the heavenly dwelling place of God, thus it was only right and fitting to bring the ark, which represented God's throne and the Lord Jesus Christ God's Son, into the symbolic dwelling place of God.
By moving the ark to Jerusalem, God would be worshipped in the right place, by the right people, and with all the necessary furnishings and instruments to best represent and typify the true worship of God in Heaven.
This was all ordained and purposed of God for the way of worship in that dispensation. Later, in Solomon's time, Jerusalem was the place where the temple was built, which was to be the permanent resting place of the ark of God. This was where God received glory in Old Testament times under His theocratic reign in Israel.
Today there is also a prescribed place of worship, which is the local New Testament Church; the kind that Jesus built during His earthly ministry. Building the Lord's churches is a good and a right thing to do today, because it is in His churches that He receives glory today (Eph. 3:21).
But just like in the days of king David, building the Lord’s Churches must be done in the right way; which is God's prescribed way given in His Word. Not just any way will do. Man's way isn't God's way.
3. What were the wrong things that they did?
1. First, they set the Ark of God on a new cart (verse 3).
This seemed like a good idea. It would be easier. It might have even seemed better than the old fashioned way. This, beloved, is the logic of modernism in churches today! Oh, this new way seems like a good thing. This new method of evangelism will really bring people in to church. It will really fill up the pughs. But is God in it?
* We might note that back in 1 Samuel chapter 7 that the Philistines got by with putting the Ark of God on a cart. But where there is light and knowledge there is responsibility. What God may allow the ignorant heathen to get by with, He will most likely chasten His people for doing the same thing. His churches, which know better; who understand His Word, will be chastened for using unbiblical methods.
The ark was only to be carried by wooden staves upon the shoulders.
We might ask, why? Why does it matter how the Ark is carried?
There may be others reasons, but I will give just one. Because it was God's sanctified and prescribed way. That was the way God wanted it to be done! That reason alone was sufficient! God doesn’t always tell us why something must be done a certain way, but His commandments are good enough reason for us to obey them as best and as precisely as we know how.
2. The second wrong thing they did was, Uzzah touched the Ark (verse 6)
What was wrong with touching the Ark? Wasn't Uzzah doing a good thing by protecting the Ark from possibly falling to the ground?
- It was a violation of God's Word. No one was allowed to touch the Ark of God.
- It was a violation of God's Holiness for sinful man to touch the ark under any circumstances.
Again, obedience to God’s commands is more important than doing what seems right in our minds. God doesn’t need puny man’s human reasoning to help Him out; but what God wants and expects is our obedience.
Of course if the Ark hadn’t been placed on the cart in the first place, the oxen wouldn’t have stumbled with it, and Uzzah wouldn’t have touched it, and God wouldn’t have killed him. So we see that one act of disobedience leads to only more disobedience. Once we depart from God’s ways and God’s pattern, we get into more and more trouble.
3. The third thing they did wrong was, the entire event was done in haste and without considering God's way that was given in His Word.
David should have prayed about the matter more. He should have studied the Scriptures out thoroughly before attempting to bring up the Ark. He should have selected all the right men and equipment for the job, and made sure God’s Word was followed, and that he had the assurance from God that God was pleased, before he attempted to move the Ark.
We always must stay with Scriptural methods, and proven and tried methods for serving and worshipping the Lord. We are not in bondage- we have liberty to serve the Lord and to use our God given minds, and skills, and talents; but let us make sure that what we do is in accordance with the Word of God and not in direct violation of it. Let us not in our zeal and haste do what otherwise would be a good thing, and the right thing, and do it in a wrong way, and thereby bring God's judgment upon us rather than His blessings- which leads us to our last point…
4. Fourthly and finally we see the goodness and the severity of God displayed in this event.
In this event we see the severity of God displayed. God killed a man for doing the wrong thing in His service (verse 7). It is of extreme importance that we worship God and serve Him, not just any way, but according to His Word. If we don't, we can bring His severe judgment upon us, rather than His blessings. This caused David and the people of God great sorrow and fear (verses 8-10).
We also see that the same Ark of God brought blessing to the house of Obed-edom where David left it (verse 11). The same God Who killed Uzzah for mishandling the Ark, blessed Obed-edom by its presence. If we worship God amiss, He will judge us. If we worship Him aright, He will bless us.
After this David did the right thing, and brought up the Ark of God the right way, and as a result the children of Israel greatly rejoiced in the Lord (verses 12-15).
May we learn from this story that God takes His service and worship very seriously; thus we should take it seriously.
God expects His people and His churches to worship and to serve Him according to His Word, not according to human wisdom and reasoning.
May we remember that God never changes, and His Word never changes. He gave us His Word, and that is what we have for our pattern of worship today.
It doesn't matter what other religions and churches are doing, and what it seems that God is allowing them to get by with- we're not to copy after them, but rather to stay true to the Word of God no matter what.
May we remember that God will judge presumption and disobedience, but that He also will bless us when we serve and worship Him in obedience to His Word.
Finally, the center of true worship in Old Testament times was the Ark of God, which as we saw pictured Christ and His atoning sacrifice for the sins of His people. The center of worship in New Testament times is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Everything else about our worship and service to Christ is centered around the gospel.
Explain the gospel…
Preached by Pastor Burke at the Calvary Baptist Church