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Here Comes the Ark—2015 (Part 2)

EXCERPT FROM PART 2:

         “At present, God is still waiting for us to get our act together. He is waiting for a full expression of honor toward Him. Traditional American Christianity may have credentialed clergy, many schools and seminaries, about a million church buildings (some incredibly state of the art), television studios, stations, and networks, a powerful radio presence, hundreds of billions of dollars in net worth, and the vast majority who profess Christianity.

         But all we do has made little difference in the overall scheme of things. The only hope for America is the Lord Jesus. Because we still lack the desired presence of God, it proves our collective irreverence and lack of respect for Him. We are content without Him in His full strength and power. This proves an absence of general servanthood and proper worship…”

Link to Part 2:

Here Comes the Ark (Part 2)

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Here Comes the Ark—2015 (Part 1)

         In May of 2011, about two weeks after I started this site, I wrote a 4-part series entitled “Here Comes the Ark.” It was written in part to both prepare for the coming Great Awakening in America and become knowledgeable of it.

         Before the Lord can bring someone to full salvation there must be repentance. And before that He must prepare a person’s heart.

         It is no different when He desires to bring an awakening. All great movements of God include a preparation time before the outer movement is seen. Sometimes the time of preparation takes decades or more. It is no different at present.

         Though several great movements of God have taken place in America, the first was the Great Awakening of the 1730s-40s. It helped prepare the nation for the American Revolution, which led to the creation of a country with the greatest spiritual freedom in history.

         As you read the following article, which remains just as topical and relevant, consider what must be achieved, how long the Lord has been working on it, and your own personal role.

         Please feel free to add to the discussion.

         Here’s the link to Part 1:

         Here Comes the Ark (Part 1) 

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Here Comes the Ark (Part 2)

        

The Chastisement of Uzzah

         In the last post we learned that David was afraid after Uzzah was killed. The presence of God had not been paid the proper respect. If we think this is a tad arrogant of God, there are things we need to learn.

         Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. [Galatians 6:7-8]

         Though the procession began as a joyous celebration, Jerusalem was not ready. Though David perceived he was doing a great thing, he was not ready. There remained far too much irreverence and dishonor of God, as characterized in part by the practical insolence of Uzzah, regardless of his intentions. One may dishonor the Lord all day long without immediate recompense, but barring repentance, the tables will turn. Payment will be made. A person will eventually reap some really bad stuff. Those who cloak themselves with a bullet-proof attitude, especially a religious one, will one day learn they have no armor at all.

         Dishonoring God comes in many different forms.

         “And David was unwilling to move the ark of the LORD into the city of David with him; but David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. Thus the ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the LORD blessed Obed-edom and all his household. Now it was told King David, saying, “The LORD has blessed the house of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, on account of the ark of God.” [2 Samuel 6:10-12] [1]

         Here was a man who understood reverence for God and why it is so vitally important. But guess what? He was not a native Levite. He was not a native priest. He was not a native Israelite.

         He was a Philistine, a convert from Gath, the same city as the slain giant Goliath. [2]

         What’s up with that? Where were the descendants of Levi? Where were those natural descendants entrusted with the duties of caring for and bearing the Ark of God? There is even doubt that Abinadab was a true Levite. Like so many Christians and ministers in America today, were they off somewhere padding their own nest, raising their own stature, and completely dishonoring God in the process? Institutional American Christianity has largely gone off the deep end, as characterized in this Old Testament account. Wherever the powerful, loving, and glorified presence of the Lord Jesus dwells, real believers know it. Dead churches have no clue.

         The Lord would spend 90 days with a Philistine who apparently reverenced Him more than anyone else in all of Israel. The meaning of his name gives a perfect clue. Obed means “servant,” or “worshipper.” Despite his lack of pedigree, he was a true servant and worshipper of YHWH. Notice that the Lord not only allowed His Ark to dwell in the house of Obed-edom, the man was blessed. Because of this converted Gentile Philistine, Jerusalem was allowed 90 days to get its act together, and instead of an end to the celebratory procession, it was merely put on hold.

         At present, God is still waiting for us to get our act together. He is waiting for a full expression of honor toward Him. Traditional American Christianity may have credentialed clergy, many schools and seminaries, about a million church buildings (some incredibly state of the art), television studios, stations, and networks, a powerful radio presence, hundreds of billions of dollars in net worth, and the vast majority who profess Christianity. But all we do has made little difference in the overall scheme of things. The only hope for America is the Lord Jesus. Because we still lack the desired presence of God, it proves our collective irreverence and lack of respect for Him. We are content without Him in His full strength and power. This proves an absence of general servanthood and proper worship.

         Until we get there (or back there), the Ark will be elsewhere. [Part 2 of 4]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

[2] It is possible that Obed-edom hailed from Gath-rimmon, a Levitical city, yet there are ten references in the OT to the word Gittite. Three of them refer to Obed-edom. The other seven all refer to Philistine inhabitants of Gath. Also, this name is interpreted to mean “servant of Edom (Esau),” not likely the name a Levite (descendant of Jacob) would give his son. The name Gath means “winepress.” Edom means “red.” These are apparent references to repentance and sacrifice (blood), and the three months as a time of repentance and getting right with God.

Here Comes the Ark (Part 1)

The Ark of the Covenant

         It was quite an occasion. One of the greatest of occasions. The Ark was coming home! David had recently captured the city of Jerusalem and made it his headquarters and capital city after becoming king of all Israel.

         The Ark of the Covenant was located at the city of Kiriath-jearim, a town also known as Baale-judah. This location was none other than the center of Baal worship in the tribal land of Judah. During all the battle and confusion of the Saul-David transition period the Ark had resided on a hill here in the home of Abinadab for twenty years. David had decided he must unify Israel and bring the Ark to Jerusalem. He had never used the Ark in his battles with Saul, but now it was time to bring everything and everyone together. Though David was king, he knew the real King was the Lord God and that He must reign from Jerusalem.

         Meanwhile, David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the LORD with all kinds of instruments made of fir wood, and with lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets and cymbals. [2 Samuel 6:5]   

         It was quite a scene! A great celebration of national unity, a new beginning, and worship of the Lord who made it all happen. But there was a later mishap along the way. Aminadab’s second and third sons, Uzzah and Ahio, were chosen to assist in the passage, and were driving the new cart holding the Ark on the journey. When the procession arrived at the uneven rock surface of a threshing floor, the oxen had nearly tipped the cart over, and Uzzah reflexively reached out to the Ark to steady it, apparently thinking it was part of his responsibility to protect the Ark. As soon as he made contact he died. The record states:

         But when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out toward the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen nearly upset it. And the anger of the LORD burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down there for his irreverence; and he died there by the ark of God. [2 Samuel 6:6-7]

         Uzzah miscued big time. He was killed for his lack of proper reverence, though most Bible versions called it his error. Well, YEAH. He obviously wasn’t properly prepped, or was and messed up anyway. No one had taken up the Ark in many years, and it is understandable that mistakes were made regarding proper procedures and protocol. Had Uzzah grown too familiar with the Ark since it had resided at his father’s house all those years? Uzzah’s name means “strength,” and he obviously was leaning on his own understanding and human ability during the incident. One can hear the words of the apostle Peter echoing in from the distant future, when the Lord had just told him the Son of Man must go to Jerusalem and die:

         Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” [Matthew 16:22]

         Tipping oxen or not, it was not the place of Uzzah to take hold of the Ark to protect it, or whatever he thought he was doing. Only the Kohathite branch of the Levites could carry the Ark, upon their shoulders by way of poles through rings on either side, and not on an ox cart. They were the only ones vested by God with the sacredness and reverence for the privilege, and were never to touch it.

         But David didn’t see it that way. He immediately grew very angry for what had happened then grew disillusioned, and as he realized he was the actual party at fault he got scared. He had just been worshipping God with the entire Israel woodwind, stringed instrument, and percussion section, happy as a clam and on a spiritual high, and looking forward to the great entry into Jerusalem. The “Breach of Uzzah,” as the place became known, was such that the procession had to stop. The celebration was cut short. The Lord would not be going to the City of the King any time soon.

         So David was afraid of the LORD that day; and he said, “How can the ark of the LORD come to me?” [2 Samuel 6:9] [1]

            When the presence of the Lord is on the way to our country, our city, our house, or our very heart, we must pay attention. It would be good to get on our face, show the proper reverence and respect, be thankful and appreciative for the great privilege, and follow the Lord’s protocol. Whatever we do, we must make sure we do nothing to stop or impede the process. He may never pass our way again. [Part 1 of 4]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.