Today: [1 Chronicles Thirteen] Uzzah Steadies the Ark. In this chapter David attempts to bring the ark of God’s presence to Mount Zion. He fails miserably because he transported the ark on a cart with an ox instead of on the shoulders of the Levites. Man’s artifice and religious infrastructure cannot move God’s purposes forward. As a result the ark is put in the home of Obed-Edom whose name means “servant of Adam”. Obed-Edom is greatly blessed, provoking David to jealousy.
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[1Ch 13:1-14 KJV] 1 And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, [and] with every leader. 2 And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If [it seem] good unto you, and [that it be] of the LORD our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren every where, [that are] left in all the land of Israel, and with them [also] to the priests and Levites [which are] in their cities [and] suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us: 3 And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we enquired not at it in the days of Saul.
In previous chapters the people have resorted to David at Hebron (association) and Ziklag (place of pressure, wringing out). In this chapter David attempts to bring the ark to the City of David and runs into a problem at the threshingfloor of Chidon. We will remember that David is a type of Christ. For us the ark is not a golden box but our own human heart. David desires to bring the ark from Kirjathjearim to Zion. Kirjathjearim means “forest of trees”. There are scriptures in both the old and new testaments that refer to men as the trees of God. So David is desiring to bring the ark from Kirjathjearim is a type of Christ bringing the ark of God’s presence out from within us. Jesus said in Matt. 5:15 that you are the light of the world and you are not to put that light under a bushel. In other words Jesus wants to bring that portion of God that is in you out into the open. David’s purpose was to bring the ark to Zion which means “sunlit place”. God wants the glory of God that is in you to be made openly manifest.
David begins by consulting the people. The word there is that he counseled with the people – specifically the captains of the people. Are you a captain of the people? You are if you hear God’s voice and understand what He is wanting to bring forth from you out into the open.
Why does David want to bring the ark from Kirjathjearim? For the purpose of inquiry. He says “let us bring the ark for we inquired not of it in the days of Saul…” When God’s people are operating under a Saul mentality – or Saul leadership the voice of God is de-emphasised. When you have a Church Culture that rejects the prophets – you are under a Saul mentality. When you have a Church Culture that rolls it’s eyes in skepticism when someone claims to have heard from heaven – you are under a Saul mentality. God wants to bring us out from under the Saul mentality and bring His glory in us out into the open.
4 And all the congregation said that they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people. 5 So David gathered all Israel together, from Shihor of Egypt even unto the entering of Hemath, to bring the ark of God from Kirjathjearim. 6 And David went up, and all Israel, to Baalah, [that is], to Kirjathjearim, which [belonged] to Judah, to bring up thence the ark of God the LORD, that dwelleth [between] the cherubims, whose name is called [on it]. 7 And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drave the cart. 8 And David and all Israel played before God with all [their] might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets. 9 And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. 10 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God.
The people agree to bring the ark up out of Kirjathjearim. All the congregation said that they would do so. Do what? Bring the ark out of Kirjathjearim. Out of themselves. They were saying they no longer wanted to be mere observers to the process of hearing God’s voice – the wanted to be carriers of the glory and see the kingdom Jesus said was within them to be made manifest. If the people aren’t cooperating the the Saul mentality will continue to hold sway. Recently we went to two churches on the east coast and did prophetic activations. The point was to help the people hear from God. One congregation was open and willing and God showed up in a powerful way as the people allowed God not only to speak through the platform leadership but through them as well. The next group – who claimed to have a pedigree in the things of God – were unwilling and resistant because they were operating under a Saul leadership. Jesus said in Luke 17:20 that the kingdom is in you – not in the religious infrastructure of a people with a dead testimony. You must be willing and your leaders must be willing for who Jesus is on the inside of you to be made manifest.
The people along with king David in leadership begin to bring the ark up. There is great rejoicing and celebration. There are also major problems that at first are not made manifest. There is a way to do things in God and we should consult his word for direction. They brought the ark out on a cart with two men Ahio and Uzzah driving the ox. The ox stumbled and Uzzah reached out to steady the ark and was struck dead. God never intended to transport the ark on a cart. A cart is a man made structure in the case which was intended to contain and transport what God was doing. This is religious infrastructure at it’s worst. The ox the carries the cart represents the leadership of the church. Uzzah means “strength” and Ahio means “fraternity”. They are driving the oxen (representing the leadership). These are the two principles that drive the leaders who are trying to contain what God is doing within a construct of man, within religious infrastructure. The highest ethic of this kind of leader is seen in Uzzah (a leader must be strong) and Ahio (we must keep the people together and maintain our numbers). What happens? The oxen stumble. What is our response when our leaders stumble? It is no wonder that they do stumble because God never intended that His glory be drawn forward on the shoulders of the shoulders of a heavily yoked leader.
What do you do when the pastor who is supposed to be the key to the success of the church fails? Or the worship leader who is to bring the ark of God’s presence out to us falls into sin? The outcry is always “we must bring stability to the church! We must steady the ark!” Some one is always reaching out from an uninformed perspective to bring stability to what they think God is doing. The result is always impediment and death.
11 And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzza: wherefore that place is called Perezuzza to this day. 12 And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God [home] to me? 13 So David brought not the ark [home] to himself to the city of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite. 14 And the ark of God remained with the family of Obededom in his house three months. And the LORD blessed the house of Obededom, and all that he had.
David is displeased. He is displeased not because things weren’t done correctly but rather he is mad at God. This is what happens when a leader is more invested in the people than he is in God’s purposes. When a leader panders to the people’s ideas about how things get done in the church or the group you are a part of this is a recipe for disaster. David should have consulted the scriptures for they plainly dictated that the ark was not to be transported on a cart but on the shoulders of the Levites from place to place. Who are the Levites? The scriptures tell us that we as believers are kings and preists unto God. The glory of God is not found in an upward focus driven by the cult of celebrity and platform performance but be looking inwardly to the kingdom that is on the inside of each and every one of us.
David laments – “how shall I bring the ark of God home to me?” Finally he asks the right question. He should have asked this question before he got into trouble. David vers 12 says was afraid of God – but God was not the problem. This is what Adam said when God called out “where are you?” Adam replied that he was afraid and hid himself … in other words Adam was blaming God for what happened in the fall in effect saying “if you weren’t so scary I wouldn’t have to hide back here sewing fig leaves together…” David likewise has to work out the problem of blaming God for the problem David himself created by relying on man’s ways instead of God’s guidance.
[Pro 3:5 KJV] 5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Initially David doesn’t come up with any answers so he puts the ark at the house of Obed-edom. Obed-edom receives the ark and regards and cares for it in a manner pleasing to the Lord and all his house and everyone in it became tremendously blessed. Obed-Edom means “servant of Adam”. Jesus said in Matt. 23:11 “he that is greatest among you shall be your servant…” The presence of God abides were a heart of love and service exists. Now bear in mind that this is not loving people on their own terms. You love and serve people on God’s terms and not theirs. Many times people bound in self referral will dictate to you their expectations with the threat of considering you a bad witness or not loving them if you don’t do what they say. This is an illegitimate authority. You cannot love people on their terms. When the Syro-Phonecian woman cried out to Jesus “heal my daughter!” He replied “do I take the children’s bread and give it to dogs?” He immediately put her in check. You can’t move in pity. There is a difference between godly compassion and soulish pity. Pity produces demonic manifestation and will bring a performing spirit out in needy people. When a needy person makes themselves the center of attention – holding court as it were as they demonstrate their victimhood – then something needs to be done in the area of standing up in your authority to take the attention away from man and putting it back on the ark of God’s presence in our midst.
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