David was the king of all Israel and he had a desire to bring the ark of God into the city of Jerusalem. The ark was holy to the nation and symbolized the presence of God with His people. He was so excited to have it returned to the city that he made a new cart to have it transported. The account in 2 Samuel 6 tells us that when the oxen stumbled Uzzah put out his hand to steady the ark and God killed him instantly. In David’s haste to return the ark he failed to remember God’s specific commands regarding the ark. They were forbidden to touch the ark and it was supposed to be transported on the shoulders of the priest not on a cart. I don’t know if David was unaware or he just thought it didn’t matter how it got there.
As I think of the incident with David and the ark there are three principles I think we can learn. The first principle that I see here is: God means what He says. When we are given specific commands in the Bible we need to understand it as the revealed will of God for our lives not just some helpful hints for a better life.
Another principle we can learn from the passage is: Disobedience brings consequences. Uzzah was killed because he touched the ark. So many people think that they can sail through life doing their own thing and going their own way and escape without consequences. Even believers are told that God will chasten His own children for disobedience (Heb. 12:6).
A third principle that I see from the story in 2 Samuel is: Our individual responsibility to carry the good news. David was so excited about the good news that the ark of God was coming into town. He built a cart to carry it. God doesn’t do carts. In Numbers 7:9 the priests were to carry the ark on their shoulders. Did you know that God has given each believer the responsibility to share the good news? May we pick it up and carry God’s truth on our own shoulders.
Perhaps you are one of those people who are fans of the series of movies called “Jaws”. In the first movie that came out in 1975 the crew is out looking for the shark that had killed some people on Amity Island. One of the main characters in the movie was played by actor Roy Scheider. He utters a line when he gets a good look at the size of the shark that is circling the small fishing boat he is on. The famous line is: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”.
There is a new shark in the waters. It is much bigger and more dangerous than Jaws. It is the shark of political correctness and religious intolerance. Have you got a glimpse of these sharks that are swimming freely and boldly in our beloved country? It seems that anyone who expresses sincerely held religious beliefs is in danger of being sued or losing their jobs and being escorted to the back doors of society. People who oppose homosexuality and hold to the sanctity of marriage for one man and one woman are being called haters. Those who hold to the sanctity of human life and oppose abortion are suddenly a part of the war on women. The people of God who are not ashamed to express their beliefs are being told to keep their faith in the four walls of their own church or in the corridors of their own mind. The sharks are circling and are threatening to devour any opposition.
What should God’s people do? I think we are gonna need a bigger boat. We are going to need a much bolder stand for the principles of the Word of God. We are going to need a much stronger attachment with our fellow believers. And we are going to need a much deeper dependence on God in prayer. Perhaps God’s people will need to have the kind of commitment that the early church had when the sharks approached them. When arrested for daring to preach the gospel Peter and the other apostles told the Jewish officials: "We ought to obey God rather than men”. I think it’s time that God’s people get a bigger boat.
It has happened to me, has it happened to you? I was in a hurry to make my flight for our family vacation. I was trying to merge into heavy traffic to get to the airport and I just didn’t see the other vehicle coming. Before I knew it we crashed. Pieces of metal and plastic flew everywhere. Thankfully no one was hurt. However my car was undriveable. After the police did their job I called a wrecker service to tow my car back home. I watched as the driver hooked up my mangled Buick and towed it away.
Life is cruel as we encounter various crashes along the road that take a toll on our physical bodies. Injuries, diseases, disabilities and just the ravages of age plague us. Some of us no longer resemble the new model that rolled off the assembly line. Pieces may be missing and other parts droop and drag and our bodies may resemble a wrecked Buick. However, I am so glad that our God informs us that when we leave this world we will not be a piece of junk towed by a wrecker to our final resting place. We will be transformed, made like new, even better than new. When our Lord returns for us our bodies will be suddenly transformed like His glorious body. Romans 8:22,23 tells us: “For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body”. We will be changed in an instant and our physical bodies will be perfected with every defect removed and every limitation made whole. Our minds will be transformed and our limited thinking will be made new. Even our tendency to swerve off the path will be corrected as we will never sin again in Heaven.
If you know Jesus as your Savior, one day He will come for you and take you to the Father’s House. We are not looking to be towed by the wrecker we are looking to be transformed by the Savior.
His name was Harry Truman. Not the Harry Truman who served as president of the United States, but a cantankerous old man who lived on the south side of Spirit Lake. Harry had a cabin on the side of a mountain in Washington State. There began to be volcanic rumblings on the mountain so mandatory evacuations were executed. Federal agents approached Harry several times and warned him that the mountain was going to explode. He ignored their warnings. Harry laughed at the news of danger and refused to evacuate even though warned repeatedly. Truman was alone at his lodge with his 16 cats on May 18, 1980 when Mt. St. Helens blew and Harry was buried under 150 feet of volcanic debris. His stubbornness cost him his very life.
I have met a few stubborn Harrys in my life. They trample under their feet the message of God’s amazing love for them. They laugh at the Bible’s warning of hell and eternal punishment. They scoff at the reality of a Holy God who must judge them for their sin. When they are presented with a clear gospel message of salvation only through Christ they simply ignore it. Some don’t believe judgment will happen at all. Others think that they have plenty of time. Hebrews 2:1-3 warns us: “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation…” “How shall we escape” are serious words that need to be obeyed.
All through the Bible God tells us to flee from the mountain of judgment into the safety of faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Death is a certainty that every person needs to prepare for. We never know how long we may have to live in this world. God tells us that it is appointed unto man once to die but after this the judgment (Heb. 9:27). Listen to the loving warnings of our Lord and don’t be a Stubborn Harry.
Ashley Madison is a website that was launched in 2001 as a place for people who may want to cheat on their spouse or significant other. The advertising boldly says: “Life Is Short, Have an Affair”. Ashley Madison’s website that only existed because of the secrecy promised to their customers was recently compromised by a hacker group. The website was shut down but not before the greatest fears of millions became public knowledge as people’s affairs or their intentions were found out. For many, their secret sins are now public information.
The slogan, “life is short, have an affair” is just like other lies from the devil it doesn’t tell the whole story. Perhaps we should add other phrases that describe the consequences of an affair such as: “get caught, lose your reputation, embarrass your children, and kill your marriage”. The Bible tells us in Gal. 6:7: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap”. Another verse warns us: “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23). We need to realize that life is eternal and we shouldn’t have an affair because faithfulness matters. Faithfulness in marriage is being attacked on all sides in our current culture. The sexual revolution has hastened the unraveling of basic morality. I think we kid ourselves if we think what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
No matter what opinion poll we take or what survey on American values we look at God holds us responsible for our actions. Heb. 13:4 admonishes us: “Marriage is honorable among all, but fornicators and adulterers God will judge”. Of course we should be faithful to our spouses not just because a fear of getting caught or an aversion to the consequences. Faithfulness in marriage is the secret to a lasting satisfaction and a wonderful relationship. Let’s never forget that life is eternal, affairs are devastating, and faithfulness in marriage matters.
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation