Robert Wurtz II

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: (Matthew 3:11)

In our previous study entitled, THE THRONE IN THE MIDST we discussed the symbolism of the Ark of the Covenant. We stated that the Ark was a symbol of the presence of God; but more pointedly it represented the very throne of God. When the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies they were figuratively walking into the throne room of God. The Jews will sometimes say that the High Priest had a sense that he was ascending up to God as he walked forward. In other words, He was ascending up to God’s throne room where his will is carried out in an absolute sense. The Tabernacle was like a ladder reaching up into Heaven. 

Israel was a theocracy wherein the priests were to communicate God’s will to the people. They were called to be a kingdom under God’s authority. YHWH (Jehovah) was the King and He ruled from the Mercy Seat in the Holiest of All. It was not until Israel had backslidden far from God that He would accept their request for a “king”, so they could live like the rest of the nations. The sobering response of God is recorded in 1 Samuel 8:7f; And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” They wanted a king that would fight their battles and in whom they could place their trust. This is why God wanted a king after His own heart. He still wanted to rule the people, but He would have to do this through a man. You will note that from this point forward Israel will have her ups and downs; but the trajectory of the nation was downward until finally they were led into captivity. Some kings hearkened to God and others did not. The king over the people was “the Lord’s anointed”. The people were warned not to “touch this king”. Today the Lord’s Anointed is Jesus Christ. He is the King over His people the Church. Man may call themselves, “the Lord’s anointed” and expect to speak for Him and be protected as Him, but there is only one king among God’s people; that king is Christ.

Why the Fire went out

Eli’s sons made the cardinal error of thinking that the Ark of God could be used in some superstitious way to scare the enemy or bring good luck in the battle. Imagine a group of infidels trying to carry the Ark into battle. The Ark of God represents God’s authority. When that authority is being abused and the people are living in rife disobedience, God had already said that He will not drive their enemies out (Judges 2:2-3). They should have known this. They were living in compromise and sin and trying to operate in the supernatural. Keep this fact in mind. Priests are called to be wholly sanctified unto the Lord. To whom much is given, much is required. Otherwise, the enemy will have a platform to use a compromiser to influence His people. They may not even know it is happening. Eli’s sons should have recused themselves knowing they were living in sin. They did not. How could they have not viewed everything they thought they heard from God with suspicion, knowing they were living in disobedience? But, they kept on ministering in this pivotal role. This is a very dangerous situation.   

Eli’s sons were trusted with being obedient to God’s precepts and order while doing service inside the Tabernacle, where none of the people could come and see. If they decided not to keep the charge, that is to say, to carry out their responsibility to change out the shewbread daily or if they only lit one instead of all seven of the lamps on the lamp stand, the only ones that would know would be them and God. These things were all symbolic of true realities that would one day exist in the churches of God. The bread was “The bread of the presence” (לחם הפנים lechem haPānīm). It symbolized the fact that priests are to labor together with God daily, to set before the Lord and the people the fresh bread of God’s word. Man cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that is proceeding from the mouth of God. It is the job of the priests to be the living link between God and man. They were to receive from the Lord directives that He had for the people. This is how He ruled. But Eli’s sons did whatever they wanted to. The people were trusting them to be obeying God in the secret place, but they refused to keep the charge. The results? The Fire of God went out, the Ark was lost and Eli and his sons were dead.

Regaining the Fire    

Nothing can be done in the service of God without the Fire of God. You can’t just strike a match, that would be strange fire (common fire). The only way the Fire of God could return was for the AUTHORITY of God to return. The people, beginning with the High Priest and the Levites, had to get their houses in order. They had to repent and determine to come under God’s authority in an absolute sense) and keep His charge. To initiate this process David sent for the Ark to be brought up to the city. They brought it in on a new cart (the machinery of man’s devices). The Philistines had the Ark sent back on a new cart and the people continued with it. The Ark was as an empty throne. It belonged to God, but He had departed from it because of Israel’s sin. As the throne was returning back in Israel, God was drawing near to it again and preparing to exercise His authority. Uzzah was killed as a first sign that God was coming back to rule and things would not be as they were before. 

The lesson here is that God’s presence, authority, glory and Fire cannot be mechanized by men. In Africa witch doctors use drum beats to drum up spirits. God cannot be ushered in this way. It has to come about as the result of the priests carrying the burden of God’s directive leading. When the Egyptians carried Pharaoh on their shoulders, Pharaoh was giving the commands that set the direction for the processions. Likewise, the priests (the sons of God) are to hearken to the voice of God as He leads them (and subsequently this present evil world) in the direction He wants them to go. The churches of God should be filled with a Royal Priesthood that follows God in such a way that the world can have a sense of God’s direction. Man cannot manufacture this with his equipment. 

When Uzzah reached up to steady the Ark He was touching God’s throne. Think about the awesomeness of that. He put His hand to God’s prerogative. They were manufacturing the process of moving God around as if He could be drug around on a trailer any ole’ way by man’s whims. “We’ll just drag God along with us where ever we want Him to go.” God forbid! He became an accessory to what the people wanted to do. They wanted a song, dance and a shout, but were not willing to do things God’s way. This whole story is exemplary and we do well to give heed. David got very angry because Uzzah was killed (2 Samuel 6:8). In the next verse he feared the Lord. It was a serious attitude adjustment. Likewise, people today get very angry when they are told that God cannot be ushered in with man’s machinery; the same machinery used by the world to drum up demon spirits or work up a crowd in a concert. It is a new cart. God simply cannot be trailered around like that. People try it, but it always ends up in something false; sooner or later. 

If you think about it, what David had done was little different than what Eli’s sons had done, though it was well intended. They were dragging God around where they wanted Him to be, not bothering to inquire as to the right way. A whole generation was in place that had no idea the way it was supposed to be done. So, they get angry when they are challenged. They believed they were right and had God not slew a man they probably would have never put the Ark back on the shoulders of the priests. They would have always transported the Ark on the new cart. Someone may have jumped in front of the procession and said, “Stop! this is all wrong! This is not the way it is supposed to be done!” And rather than listen, they would have viewed the man as an obstructionist and a bad spirit. Some may have went as far as to discern he had a demon spirit. So God had to kill a man. As sad as it is that is probably the greatest lesson of all in the story. The people were so hard headed in thinking they were right that God had to strike a man dead to sober their minds. David got hostile at first, but then he feared the Lord. Maybe it will have to happen in our times?

The Danger of the New (novel)

The Philistines provided Israel with a ‘new’ (novel) way of handling the Ark. But decades of passing time did not change God’s instructions as to how things are to be done. In modern times the ‘Philistines’ do the same thing and few people even notice it. The world offers the churches of God a means of carrying God’s authority with a worldly means. I say authority because God’s Shekinah presence and His Fire would not be manifest until the Temple was completed and Solomon had dedicated it. Keep this clear. We are talking about God’s Throne and how it is being carried. When man reaches up and touches God’s authority in a person’s life, as they wrongly attempt to lead them along with the machinery of this world, they are committing a sin that is worthy of death (please read that sentence a second time). This is God’s prerogative authority in a person’s life and people are not to be manipulated on that deep level. This is God’s domain, not man’s. The danger we have in this evil generation is that men would manufacture a sense of God’s presence and then start touching the Ark in peoples lives by purporting to be speaking to them prophetically to direct their decisions. God never works this way. He always deals with the person Himself; any other word they may be given of Him by other individuals will simply be to confirm what God has already said to them. Keep that clear. 

Forcing God’s hand

A lot of messages have been preached over the years on “touching the Ark.” They are a dime a dozen. The problem is that the messages are obscure and in the abstract and have no real meaning. They never really touch upon the real issues. For example; people are told that God is calling them to the Mission field and God has not really spoken. A story is commonly told of a man that was called to one country and his wife to another country by the same prophet! It is madness. God does not call people this way. He speaks to them in the secret place of the sanctuary of their own heart where only He is in authority. To intrude into this place is to touch the throne in their life. To do so could destroy the person and bring upon the offender a remedial judgment of God like unto what Uzzah received. Over the last 20 years I have known on more than one occasion for a person to be given a so-called “word from the Lord” in an attempt to steer them out of an intimate relationship. It usually goes something like this, “thus says the Lord, that person you are dating is not for you.” Putting words in God’s mouth, for any reason, is a serious offense. Some people think they know God’s will for other peoples lives and it is the epitome of pride and arrogance. They are so sure that they will do a “thus saith the Lord…” when God is not saying anything. I have seen this type thing destroy people. God’s hand cannot be forced in this way. They who practice such things are in desperate need of repentance. 

Long term consequences 

About 20 years ago I had a front row seat to a terrible situation where the Ark was touched” in a man and woman’s life. Early one year there was a move of God and a great excitement. This sometimes gives rise to a host of people wanting to “prophesy” and “give folks a word” (as if prophesying were a normal thing to do). A family had been struggling, so an individual gave the wife a word that she needed to pray for her husband. Upon hearing this the wife became distraught. It happens that she had been praying and interceding for her husband on a daily basis for some time. After the meeting the family went to the man and asked what was meant. He simply replied to the effect, “I’m sorry. I’m new at this.” It was evidence of the error of giving people directive instructions as if it is God speaking. Later in the year a popular TV evangelist came to town that this family attended. During the offering he gave a general word to the effect that God will multiply your offering if you will be obedient. This family gave a certain amount and waited. They were struggling financially and rested hope on the evangelists words. When they returned home from the meeting their car had been broken into and thieves stole several hundred dollars in merchandise. The “multiplied blessing” word never came to pass either. Not surprisingly, every person in this story suffered long term. The family viewed the evangelist as a false prophet from then on. The evangelist some years later was caught in scandal. The other person left the ministry. Solution? Thus says the Lord GOD, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! (Ezekiel 13:3) Our Hebrew word for “foolish” here is nabal that means “to wilt”. It’s the sons of Sceva all over again with a different twist. They had the bizarre notion that they could move in the power of God, speaking for God, not realizing that what they were doing was a solemn business. They follow their own spirit and not the Holy Spirit. That is, they rely on their own reasoning to speak for God. They have knowledge of a situation and pretty soon a concoction of words comes into their mind and they speak it with a “thus saith the Lord” in front. it is a prophet with a recklessness of the sons of Eli; they went running into battle with God’s authority. God’s authority and glory departed.

The Ark in Place      

When God is ruling within man as He desires to, it is akin to the Ark being moved into the Holy of Holies. The High Priest alone was allowed in this place (Hebrews 9:7). Our Great High Priest is Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14). It is up to the individual to have an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying to them. Once the temple (person) is cleansed by the Blood of Christ and God’s authority is established (the Great High Priest is living within); then the person is a candidate for the Fire and Glory of God. Solomon dedicated the Temple by bringing a tremendous sacrifice. The people sang and the glory filled the house; having totally filled the altar he prayed and the Fire fell. It was this very Fire that the priests were to use, under the guidance of the High Priest to do the service of God. So far we have learned two great things: 1. We must have the Fire of God to do His service 2. God alone has the prerogative to lead a person in His perfect will. Disobedience in either area has shown to result inn God’s remedial judgment, both with Nadab and Abihu and later Uzzah. 

Replacing the Fire

We cannot with our machinery drum something up; God has to send something down. This is utterly important. We cannot manufacture a move of God; He has to come in His very presence. Not in a feeling, but in a life altering presence that transports a person from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of His dear Son. When we fill the altar God will send the Fire. This is what Romans 12:1ff is about. 

Losing the Ark

Obviously by the time of Jesus this Fire had gone out and the Ark was gone again. The priests must have tossed the blood on the floor behind the veil in Herod’s Temple and performed the services with common fire. What a reckless mess. God was not there. God was in Christ. For He said, destroy this Temple (speaking of His own body) and I will raise it again in 3 days. He called the place the Father’s house and His house (Matthew 21:13John 2:16), but at last He revealed to them that it was ‘their house’ that had been left unto them desolate. (Luke 13:35) Why? No Fire. No Ark. God’s authority was gone. No way to do the service of God and no desire to have it. When the Fire came in Christ; they didn’t want it or Him. They and no desire to burn for God or to be temples of the Living God. (See Isaiah 66:1ff) They wanted to keep God under control in the temples made with hands. They wanted to lead Him around on a cart and dictate in peoples lives. Today the Rabbi’s usurp God’s authority in the lives of the people. They reserve the right to give the people direction in the place of God. For almost 2000 years they have had their hands on the Ark. 

Keeping the charge   

And they burn unto the LORD every morning and every evening burnt sacrifices and sweet incense: the shewbread also [set they in order] upon the pure table; and the candlestick of gold with the lamps thereof, to burn every evening: for we keep the charge of the LORD our God; but ye have forsaken him. (2 Chronicles 13:11)

It is unfortunate that many today in the churches of God believe that we can lower the standard and get by on some lesser thing than the authority and Fire of God. How can priests unto God do the service of God unless they are under His authority. When a priest got under the stave to lift the ark they were coming under God’s authority. How could they see clearly with no Fire? Yet substitutes are put in place that spread death and wreak of unconsumed flesh. Jesus said, I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49We are responsible to keep the Fire stoked in our lives as surely as were the Levites. We are to keep presenting ourselves to God holy and acceptable. What is acceptable? Simply put- And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. (Acts 5:32) Do you have a desire to obey God? Do you want God to rule and reign in you? Have you filled the altar? Those that have been baptized in the Holy Spirit and Fire- is the Fire still burning? Are you keeping the charge as did Abijah and his priests? This was the basis on which Abijah knew he would win the battle. “If you keep the charge of God you will be the devil’s master.” (GWN) 

The Sin of Uzzah

The Sin of Uzzah 
Robert Wurtz II

And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God. (2 Samuel 6:6, 7)

We have in our text a demonstration of God’s estimate of presumption in the things of God. What is presumption biblically? It is a blatant disregard of God’s clearly defined protocol or rules. This disregard could range anywhere from willful ignorance to highhanded rebellion. In the Kingdom of God, as the name suggests, God is the king. This seems simple enough, but we must understand that the word kingdom implies subservience. We are told in scripture that we are servants to whatever we yield our members to. This tells us what kingdom we are in. What king are we following? That’s the kingdom we have chosen to be subservient to. So we see then that a kingdom is defined by those that are in submission to their king. There is the Kingdom of God and all other kingdoms.

What is in your censor? 

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1 Cor. 14:33) There are times when man gets in the way of God and tremendous confusion is the result. When it happens we know that God is not the author of it, as He is the author of peace. We have an example of how this can play out during the children of Israel’s wandering in the wilderness. We read in Numbers 16:1–35 about an insurrection against Moses in the wilderness that is described as ‘the gainsaying of Korah.’ (Jude 11) These renowned men along with Korah took 250 censers, and at Moses instruction filled them with fire. He then told them to assemble with their censers with fire in them. These men suggested that they could put their own fire to the Lord without regard for God’s instructions. They acted as if they were above even bothering to ask what God’s word teaches about offerings to the Lord. This was Nadab and Abihu on a grand scale. They were trying to take over what God was doing and institute their own new mode of worship that the Lord had not commanded. What followed is one of the most dramatic sequences of events in all the Bible. 

 And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also. And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.
(Numbers 16:31-35)

These men were utterly destroyed and consumed by the fire of the Lord. The message here is this, you and I are responsible for what is in our censer. That is to say, you and I are responsible for the spirit in which we approach God. This is effectively what we have said in the previous entries on ‘Obstacles to the Outpouring’ {Obstacle to the Outpouring (Part 1) and Obstacle to the Outpouring (Part-2)}. This story is exemplary. It shows forever God’s estimate of approaching God with a bad spirit, recklessly and flippantly in order to take control of what He is doing in the earth. He has already said He expects unity and love among the brethren. God does not accept people that approach Him in a way that He has not prescribed. If we are moving in the earthly, soulish and demonic- even unawares, we are still responsible for how we approach God. Like dot-to-dot as a child in the coloring book, we have to go step by step doing what God has asked of us before lining up by our 250’s to move on to something else.

Prepared to submit

To function in the Kingdom of God we must be surrendered to His lordship. This means we are prepared to know God’s will and perform it.  What does this look like? We read in Matthew 6:10, Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. The implication of this passage is that God wants the people of the earth to obey Him as do the angels. He wants His will carried out ‘as in heaven’. This is man willing to forsake their own agenda and follow God’s; knowing that His way, as Divine Creator, is the best way. There is simply no way to improve on God’s will and God’s ways. God’s will is perfection; anything else is imperfection. That is to say, everyone has their own ideas as to how things should be done. These ‘ideas’, if not born in heaven, will have disastrous results on earth. To place ones own will in front of God’s will is not only sin, it is the upsetting of a carefully designed creation. Sin always causes some kind of suffering. As surely as putting water in your fuel (petrol) tank, sin corrupts the machine. 

Innocent Suggestions?

Everyone has suggestions. this is common in life; but the important thing for God’s people to know is that they must receive their direction from God’s Holy Word and His Holy Spirit. We cannot presume to do anything before the Lord, we must study and pray. 

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. (Psalm 119:9)

The FIRST thing any believer should ask about any subject is, “what does God’s word teach?” It is not sufficient to dream up our own will and plans and then look for proof-texts. That is to say, we must ask what God says first and then come to our conclusions; if we start with our conclusions we will twist God’s word to fit those conclusions. This is not walking in truth. The SECOND thing a believer must do is consciously submit to what God has already said before daring to ask what He is saying. Many people want a ‘Word from God’ but don’t spend time in the word. This is not how the prophets of the Old Testament operated. We need to know this or we will presumptuously dare to speak when He has not spoken. 

The school of the prophets

 The ‘sons of the prophets’ were not biological sons of prophets, but students in the schools of the prophets, well-established institutions in Israel designed to perpetuate the Law of Moses and the Word of the Lord. (BK) We may refer to these sons of the prophets as a band or guild of prophets. The most extensive use of the expression occurs in the Elisha stories where the prophet is portrayed as the leader of the prophetic guild. In that capacity Elisha cared for the needs of a prophet’s widow (2 Kings 4:1-7), agreed to the building of a common dwelling (2 Kings 6:1-7), and presided at a common meal (2 Kings 4:38-44). The sons of the prophets functioned either as witnesses (2 Kings 2:3,5,7,15) or as agents of Elisha’s ministry (2 Kings 9:1-3). (Holman’s ‘sons of the prophets’) Amos’s famous declaration, “I am not a prophet, nor am I the son of a prophet” (2 Kings 7:14 NASB), is probably a declaration of independence from the prophetic guilds of his day. Similarly, Jeremiah’s claim that God made him a prophet even before conception (Jeremiah 1:5) may obliquely represent a rejection of association with the prophetic schools of Judah.  (Ibid) This point is made to demonstrate that the prophets did not just speak from their own mind; but rather, the prophesy was grounded in a thorough understanding of God’s word. This minimized the possibility for deception and falsehood. The Spirit of God and the Word of God agree. The prophets were expected to know what was of God and what was not through a clear grasp of the Law. This is how the prophets, by and large, kept themselves from presumptuous error. 

Error among the priestly function 

And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God. (2 Samuel 6:6-7)

Uzzah’s second sin is the consequence of his first sin. Error always begets error. This is insightful. God spent the entire Old Testament teaching us about the importance of following His directions. At the first it seems like such an innocent thing for Uzzah to do; to reach up and try to steady the Ark of God. After all, it was about to fall over. He was doing what comes natural. Yet, this seems to make sense only because of our distance in time and space from the Throne of God. For example, there is a way in which God’s will is carried out in Heaven and it is our responsibility to pray that God’s will will be done likewise in the earth. In Heaven there is no reckless attitude towards the Creator. God is obeyed. God’s wisdom is revered. The creatures understand the wisdom of God’s commandments. they do not believe they know better. Period. There is a reverential fear of God that sobers the minds to whom they have to do. In other words, they know who the sovereign God is. Even the devils believe and tremble. But men often move in a slapdash way towards God without even the good sense to tremble. This is a troubling reality.

The Ark of God

The Ark of God is symbolic of the Throne of God. The Wilderness Tabernacle was effectively a mobile palace that was set up in the midst of the children of Israel. In that palace was a throne; the Ark of God. The Throne of God is the place from which God reigns. To touch the Ark of God was expressly forbidden, because to touch the Ark was to touch upon God’s Divine prerogative; His sovereign authority. Men must not intrude into this area that is expressly God’s. This needs to be understood ecclesiastically and practically. This is one truth that we dare not know merely academically. An electrician had best know that safety measures are there for a reason and he had best respect them. He rebels against the fundamentals of electricity at his own peril. So it is with the sovereignty of God. Man must not touch the Divine prerogatives. When we consider the governance of the churches of God and related subjects we ought to do so with great fear and trepidation and move only after tremendous consultation with God’s word in prayer and fasting. Why fasting? Because when we approach the prerogatives of God we need to have our own flesh in subjection. We must have our own will completely on the altar. 

A Good Idea?

Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD. (1 Samuel 2:12)

It was a reckless and sinful attitude among the priesthood in Israel that caused the Ark to be stolen away in the days of Eli. (1 Samuel 4:1ff) They were supposed to be the guardians of the holy things of God, but sin entered and compromise ruled the day. At once, Eli’s evil sons took the Ark of God and ran into battle with it only to have it captured. (1 Samuel 4:11) This was one of the saddest and most terrifying days in the history of Israel; the day the Glory departed. It is hard to imagine how heart wrenching this event would have been. The situation would have seemed utterly hopeless even to the vilest of sinners. 

Setting the stage for Disaster

These sons of Eli were fornicators and yet tried to use the authority of God to win a battle. They behaved in such a way that the worship of God was hated. (1 Samuel 2:17) In more modern times these type things have happened on a different, but similar level, and been recognized. Matt Redman of Soul Survivor church in Watford, England stated: 

“There was a dynamic missing, so the pastor did a pretty brave thing,” he recalls. “He decided to get rid of the sound system and band for a season, and we gathered together with just our voices. His point was that we’d lost our way in worship, and the way to get back to the heart would be to strip everything away.” 

The sons of Eli never came back to the heart of worship, it was all about them even unto the end. Flagrant sin in the camp, coupled with men usurping God’s authority in refusing to deal with it, set the stage for Eli being fired (sacked) and Samuel being raised up to take his place. We should always remember that God has a replacement in the wings for anyone that thinks they can do as Eli and his wretched sons. Even as the priests of God, how could these men escape the damnation of Hell? 

Years of Reckless Presumption

I sometimes wonder how long it would have been since anything was done right in Israel by the time Uzzah was struck dead? It seemed like everyone was getting by with it and suddenly in a moment the man is struck dead. This tells me that it was never ‘OK’ to do what they had been doing. At best, God was giving them opportunity to repent of their presumption. But they carried on. In fact, although the Ark was supposed to be placed on the shoulders of the priests, the people decided to put it on a new cart and tow it exactly as the Philistines did at the counsel of their pagan diviners and priests. The Philistines believed they were doing God a favor and being respectful by making sure the cart was new, but God gave Israel specific instruction on dealing with the Ark. For them not to consult God’s word was presumption. How often do similar things happen today and because no one is struck dead it continues. Yet, we must remember that Uzzah’s death is exemplary. It shows forever God’s estimate of presumptuously moving in the things of God in disregard and neglect of His patterns and designs. 

Uzzah Dead- David Angry? 

The burning of David’s anger was not directed against God, but referred to the calamity which had befallen Uzzah, or speaking more correctly, to the cause of this calamity, which David attributed to himself or to his undertaking. As he had not only resolved upon the removal of the ark, but had also planned the way in which it should be taken to Jerusalem; he could not trace the occasion of Uzzah’s death to any other cause than his own plans. Uzzah’s offence consisted in the fact that he had touched the ark with profane feelings, although with good intentions, namely to prevent its rolling over and falling from the cart. Touching the ark, the throne of the divine glory and visible pledge of the invisible presence of the Lord, was a violation of the majesty of the holy God. “Uzzah was therefore a type of all who with good intentions, humanly speaking, yet with unsanctified minds, interfere in the affairs of the kingdom of God, from the notion that they are in danger, and with the hope of saving them” (O. V. Gerlach). On further reflection, David could not fail to discover where the cause of Uzzah’s offence, which he had atoned for with his life, really had lain, and that it had actually arisen from the fact that he (David) and those about him had decided to disregard the distinct instructions of the law with regard to the handling of the ark. 

God’s Instruction

According to Numbers 4:1ff the Ark was not only to be moved by none but Levites, but it was to be carried on their shoulders, not in a carriage; and in v. 15, even the Levites were expressly forbidden to touch it on pain of death. But instead of taking these instructions as their rule, they had followed the example of the Philistines when they sent back the Ark (1 Sam. 6:7ff.), and had placed it upon a new cart, and directed Uzzah to drive it, whilst, as his conduct on the occasion clearly shows, he had no idea of the unapproachable holiness of the Ark of God, and had to expiate his offence with his life, as a warning to all the Israelites. (Keil & Delitzsch)     

A Generation of Uzzah’s?

Ignorance was no excuse for Uzzah, because he could have known that they were doing wrong. Many do likewise and never fall dead, but this is no excuse either. God has already demonstrated His estimate of such behavior even as He smote down Adab and Abihu. No need to kill the masses, one example is sufficient to make the point. So why don’t some men that pretend to do the works of God consult with God’s instruction? Why do they consult, as it were, with the Philistine new-cart makers? Why do they look to the world to learn how to conduct the affairs of God? In part, it is because no one has been struck dead yet, at least, that we can verify. Is there a consequence for not discerning the Lord’s Body? Is there a consequence for failing to acknowledge and hold the Head? (Colossians 2:19)

Some Modern Examples 

Innovations are often nothing more than a hand to steady the Ark. We live in a generation that thinks nothing of doing their own thing wether it is approved of God’s word or not. Pragmatism rules the day and men are embolden to continue doing the service of God as if He had not spoken. It gained great momentum with Charles Finney and has continued on today. Reckless evangelism that don’t see folk truly prayed through; false synthetic feelings of the presence of God created by an ‘atmosphere’; fruitless ministry that sees almost none saved or called to service. When will we see the Ark on the Cart and come to our senses? Will God long bless rebellion? While the lamp of God goes out the arrogance just keeps rolling on. Men are here and God is in heaven. What preventeth us? 

Are we better than they?

Will God tolerate the inconsistencies such as these? Does anyone really believe they will answer to God for the madness? It’s a wonder God has not struck some people dead for such high-handed rebellion and hypocrisy. They think they are about to get a great crown and all the while they have read passages and skipped over them as if God were not talking to them; as if they had a line-item-veto on God’s Holy Word. Shadows are gathering and death beds are coming. Would it not be wise to stop handling God’s word in such a flippant way? Why not sanctify the Lord in the eyes of the people and do what He has told us to do? Why not quit acting like we have a better way than God’s way? Its not working anyhow.  

Modern Uzzah-ism 

The modern sin of Uzzah is being exposed for what it is; a new-cart methodology with no regard for God’s word. They cannot be improved upon. They are designed to accomplish God’s will. When men devise manmade formulas to do supernatural things failure is assured. God has given us patterns and instructions. They are timeless. God’s word has no expiration date. There is no need to upgrade from version 10.1 to version 10.2 and so on- every few months to keep step with the world. Uzzah’s sin was that he did not consult God’s word, perhaps because he didn’t think it important. 

God’s Word Obsolete?

Many today don’t consult God’s word because they think it irrelevant or obsolete. This is insanity. For example, modern day sports games have lived through tremendous popular cultural shifts.  Teams have gotten better stadiums, equipment, etc. Games are now televised in various ways. These are all innovations. What has not changed are the basic rules of the game. A football game in 1950 could easily be identified for what it was, and so also today a game would be known for what it is if it were seen in 1950. But this is not what has happened in main stream Christianity. The rules have changed as have the emphasis, standards and mode of the game. It is sadly akin to how the Superbowl Halftime Show and all the commercials try to overshadow the Superbowl Game itself. The ‘big event’ seems to always be the craziest and most unlike the whole rest of the season. This makes the game more palatable for those that don’t like football. Is that what we have done in our gatherings? the higher the profile the higher the halftime show-ism? Is this done for those that don’t really want God? At any rate, for whatever reason, it is placing the Ark on, not just a cart, but the very newest and ‘hippest’ cart. If ever there were a bible story that speaks directly to our times, it is this one; forever wanting to carry the Gospel on some ‘new’ thing. God help us.  

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