I have given a lot of thought to the utilization of the “Pastor’s Blog” for Hillsdale’s website in recent weeks. My neglect of the blog and the opportunity it presents me to stay in touch with our church family and friends has been impressed upon me of late. After a lot of thought, I have decided to use the blog as a means to state in writing the principles I am teaching in church Sunday mornings and evenings. I hope this will prove to be a worthwhile investment of my time and yours.
I am currently teaching two different sermon series. “Still Church”
is the title of my Sunday morning series. An affirmation of our commitment to see Hillsdale continue as an authentic, biblically fundamental New Testament Church…traditional in our worship and dedicated to the use of historical and modern hymns and songs of the faith that are timeless, not trendy. “Still Preaching; Still Passionate; Still Reverent; Still Hymns” are qualities we want to be true of our worship services.
I have returned to a biographical study of the Life of David on Sunday nights, a series from which I took a year hiatus, but that has covered all of I Samuel and, beginning this January 2013, II Samuel chapters 1-6 so far. This past Sunday night we focused on David’s first failed attempt to move the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:1-10 and 1 Chronicles 13:1-14). Those passages record the death of Uzzah who, in an attempt to steady the Ark of the Covenant, stretched forth his hand and touched the Ark to keep it from toppling off the cart. God immediately struck Uzzah dead for his irreverence towards that which God had called Holy.
The golden gilded Ark of God represented the presence of God among His people, while the lid, which was called the Mercy Seat, represented the throne of God. The Ark was the most sacred object in the Tabernacle and, except for when two golden gilded rods on the shoulders of the priest transported it, it was not to be seen or touched. It was kept in the inner most room of the Tabernacle known as the Holy of Holies.
There are too many lessons to be learned and too many applications to be made in this blog concerning God’s immediate judgment of death upon Uzzah [I invite you to hear the sermon in its entirety by clicking here; however, I would like to make a few observations:
1) Treating as common what God has declared holy invites His severest judgment. Uzzah had lived in the home where the Ark was stored and would have known the reverence the Ark of God not only deserved, but also demanded (1 Chron. 13:3).
2) Violating God’s precepts [laws; guidelines], regardless of one’s motive, is never acceptable to God! The Law of God was clear—the Ark was never to be touched (Numbers 4:15).
3) The hazard of using worldly methods–“And they carried the ark of God in a new cart” (1 Chron. 13:7). There is no question that David had the right motive and the Bible states it was “right in the eyes of all the people” (13:4). The problem was that David employed the wrong method—“they carried the ark of God in a new cart” (13:7a). David had followed the pattern of the Philistines who had returned the Ark of God on a new cart; however, that was not God’s will or way for His people. God’s work must be done God’s way to enjoy His blessing.
It is my observation that a lot of churches, pastors and Christian leaders are employing a lot of new carts in our day. A “new cart” looks attractive, draws a crowd that applauds the motive and gives an appearance of success. However, the test of a “new cart” is not how successful it looks or how attractive it appears; but is it God’s way to do His will. Having right motives and the affirmation of a crowd does not justify ministry methodologies that detract from God’s holiness and depart from His instructions.
I close with a quote I often heard in college:
“It is never right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right!”
-Evangelist Dr. Bob Jones, Sr.