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Bible Commentaries

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

1 Chronicles 13

 

 

Verses 1-14

Chapter13

Now in chapter thirteen, David said, "Look, if it"s your purpose to make me your king and all, if it seems good to you, and if it"s of the Lord, then let us bring back the ark of the covenant that we might put it here at the tabernacle in Jerusalem." And so they came to Kirjathjearim, where the ark of the covenant had been placed.

And they carried the ark of God on a new cart that they had made: and Uzza and Ahio were driving the cart. And David and all of Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets ( 1 Chronicles 13:7-8 ).

So here, if you can now get in your mind the picture: they"ve gone down to Kirjathjearim to bring the ark of the covenant and all of the celebration, the bands, the music, and out there dancing with all their might before the Lord and singing with the psalteries and the harps and this great time of rejoicing. We"re bringing the sign of God"s covenant with Israel back to dwell with us there in Jerusalem. And suddenly, the cart began to wobble and it looked like the ark was going to fall off the cart. And Uzza, one of the drivers, put his hand up to steady it so it wouldn"t fall, and the wrath of God was kindled against Uzza because they were strictly forbidden not to touch the ark, and Uzza died.

And suddenly all of the mirth ceased. The songs. I mean, it was serious. It was sober. God moved on the scene, and it brought a real note of sobriety to the whole thing. And David said, "Hey, I can"t dwell with anything that is that holy. Leave it here. I"m going home." And so they just left the ark of the covenant there in the house of Obededom, and he called the name of the place Perezuzza. Now Perez means a breach. God made a breach against Uzza. And so the ark there was placed in the house of Obededom, and David went back to Jerusalem. He was angry at God. Angry because God stopped this glorious celebration and stopped David"s intent of bringing the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem.

Now in this we find a right thing being done in a wrong way. Now it is not only important that we do right things, but it"s important that we do right things in right ways. When the Philistines captured the ark of the covenant, when they were in battle against Saul, you remember the story how that everywhere the ark of the covenant went, boils would break out on the Philistines? And so finally, in every city the men would get boils all over them where the ark of the covenant was brought. And so finally, as they started to take it to another city, the men in the city came out and said, "Oh no, you"re not bringing that thing here. We don"t want it in our city."

And so the Philistines then went to their prophets and they said, "What shall we do?" And they said, "Send the thing back. Take an ox and make a cart and put it on the cart and just turn the cows." Actually, not an ox, but turn the cows loose. And if the cows go right back to the camp of Israel, you know the thing is of God and let the thing go. Don"t touch it.

If the cows just sort of roam around like they"re lost, then you know that it was just all coincidental that boils happen to break out. And so they took these cows and they made this ark and they put the... they made the cart. They put the ark on it, and they turned the cows loose. And they started just mooing and going straight towards the camp of Israel. The Philistines followed and watched them go right on into the camp of Israel. Of course, when it came into the camp of Israel there was great rejoicing.

Now the idea is when David then decided to bring the ark back to Jerusalem, a good desire. But what did he do? He copied the method of transportation that was used by the Philistines. Now God in the law had commanded that whenever the ark of the covenant was moved, that it should be borne by four of the priests on staves. The ark had these golden rings on the side, and they would put these sticks through these rings so that it wouldn"t touch it. And there would be four fellows that would hold these staves on their shoulder, and the ark would be, of course, in the middle of them. And that is how the ark was to be transported. That was under the law of Moses.

Now, David was doing a right thing, but he was doing it in a wrong way. He was following really the worldly pattern of the Philistines in taking a cart, making a cart, an ox and pulling it. He was following the Philistines" way of doing things.

Now I do believe that the church is guilty many times, or parachurch organizations are guilty many times of trying to use worldly methods for doing the work of God. Now that which we seek to do is right. We seek to bring men to Jesus Christ. But we get a bunch of suede shoe-Madison Avenue advertiser men and we say, "Now set up a program for us." An advertising program and all, and we"re trying to use worldly methods to do the work of God. Now you"re trying to do a right thing. You want to get men to Jesus Christ. But you"re doing it in the wrong way. God didn"t say that we were to get fancy advertising schemes and all of this kind of stuff to bring men to Jesus Christ. A lot of work for God, legitimate work that should be done is done in a wrong way. And so because we have been doing things in a wrong way, then we got to raise funds to support the wrong way method of doing things. And we make a travesty of God by the way we get up to raise funds.

It is a shame the methods that people use to extract money for the so-called work of God. I am embarrassed as a Christian of the junk that goes on on television in their fundraising efforts and methods. It, to me, is an absolute embarrassment. And they are motivating people the wrong way.

Now David, or Moses had to raise funds for the building of the tabernacle. What did he do? "All of you that would like to contribute to the building of the tabernacle just bring it in and dump it." He didn"t go around, you know, getting pledges or jumping up and down and running around the place, putting on a show. And the people started bringing in the funds, until finally, they had to stop. And they said, "Stop, stop, we"ve got too much. Quit! No more. You can"t give any more. Didn"t make it? That"s too bad. You"re out of luck."

Now Paul the apostle tells us in the New Testament, writing to the Corinthians, he said, "Now every man as he"s purposed in his own heart, so let him set aside for the Lord" ( 2 Corinthians 9:7 ). But don"t let your giving be out of constraint. Never should your giving to God be pressured giving. It is wrong to seek to pressure people to give to God. And yet, how many times we notice that the whole tactic is that of pressure tactics. Professional letter writers to write the appeals. And all kinds of idiotic gimmicks are used by these people to raise funds.

When a person has to degrade to those type of efforts, then something"s wrong with the work that they are seeking to do. I am thoroughly convinced "when God guides, God provides." And if you tell me that you"re not getting the money to do this great program God has laid upon your heart, I"ll have to say God didn"t lay it upon your heart. When you have to resort to worldly ways and do things after the pattern of the world, it"s not of God. It"s not of the Spirit of God.

David made a tragic mistake. He wanted to do the right thing. There is nothing wrong with the desire, but he was doing it in a wrong way. God never intended for us to use the Madison Avenue techniques to sell Jesus Christ to the world. Or to use all of these fundraising techniques that people stoop to raise funds for the work of God. "Poor God, He"s almost broke. All the time. He lives on the verge of financial disaster. If you don"t come through this week, God"s had it." What kind of a God is it who never can take care of His own program? As I say, it embarrasses me. I"m humiliated by it.

So David said, "Hey, leave it here. I"m not going to take that back to Jerusalem." They took it into the house of Obededom. And then God began to bless Obededom tremendously because the ark of the covenant was there at his house. And so David said, "Hey, let"s get the thing back to Jerusalem. Let"s do it again." Only this time, he had gone back to the law of Moses. He said, "Let"s have four priests who will take and let them bear it between them and so forth. And we"ll offer sacrifices unto the Lord." And so they went out again with the worshipping and with the praising, the offering of sacrifices before the ark. They would go so many places, and they"d offer a sacrifice. And the priests were carrying it, and David put on just a linen. He took off his royal robes as a king, and he put on just a linen ephod, which was a sort of a, the robes that the priest wore in service. And he just put on sort of the priestly servant"s garments and was with the people, among the people. And dancing and praising the Lord as they brought the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem.

And his wife Michal looked out the window and saw him out there without his kingly garments, dressed in just the linen ephod, mingling with the common people, dancing before the Lord. Out there shouting, having a big time. And when she saw him, she despised him. So David had a great feast for all of the people as they gave to each of them bread and wine and a big portion of meat. And then after blessing the people, he came home to bless his own family. And when he came into the house, Michal said to him, "Well, didn"t you look smart out there! In a linen robe, no less. Big deal!"

Boy, I"ll tell you, it wiped David out. Just, you know, he came in just overloaded with joy, blessing. Oh, praise the Lord! Isn"t it amazing how easily Satan can deflate our spiritual balloon? You know, we can get so high and so joyous in the Lord and, "Oh Lord, You"re so good. You"re so great." And Satan can rob us of that joy. And whenever you get in that state, he"s seeking to do some little thing just to deflate that, you know, super feeling that you have.

A while back I was in the Safeway Market. And every once in a while someone will send some money and say, "Have a steak for dinner or something." And I had some money that was sent and a little note said, "Have a steak for dinner." Well, they had some beautiful thick top sirloin steaks. And so I picked out one of these choice beautiful thick, thick top sirloin. I was going to take it home and barbecue it. And I said, "Lord, I can remember the days when man, all we could afford, we couldn"t even afford hamburger. And now able to buy this beautiful steak, oh Lord, You"re so good. Oh, thank You, Lord; I just love you so much." And I, just pushing the cart through Safeway just really just worshipping the Lord and praising Him. Just a beautiful time. And I pulled up to the checkstand, just could taste that steak. Just praising the Lord.

And some short little fat guy smoking a cigar pulled... He came up and he just pushed my cart and stood right in front of me. Got in line in front of me. And my first impulse was to grab the guy by the collar, turn him around and say, "Hey fattie, who do you think you are?" And hope that he would take a swing at me. Oh how I wanted to level him. I was so upset. And beside that, smoking that stinky cigar! And I thought, "The very idea! I"ve never seen anything like this. I"ve heard of it. I"ve never seen any. This guy needs to be taught a lesson." And the Lord spoke to my heart and He said, "Oh what joy and praise all dissipated over a smelly cigar!" And I said, "No, Lord, I"m not going to let him get the best of me." I didn"t have to smell his cigar. I took my cart and I went walking again through the store to get my joy and peace back again, you know. I made a few rounds through the store till he got out the door and then I went back up to the checkstand and went out. But I thought, "Oh, how easy it would have been for me to have lost my joy." God has been so good and all. Now one little adverse thing comes along and, you know, the joy dissipates so rapidly. Oh, how I"m sure, how Satan delights in robbing us from our joyful experiences in Christ.

I"m sure that he is just thinking of ways by which he can dissipate and see how fast he can dissipate that joy in the Lord. You watch it. The next time you have a real high in Jesus. Watch how he"s going to come along and try and deflate it. He"ll use some irritating little thing to just turn you out of the Spirit into the flesh. And man, it"s so easy to turn from the Spirit into the flesh. And that"s, of course, his purpose. Get me in the flesh, and then he just makes minced meat out of me. He can just defeat me. As long as I"m in the Spirit I can have a glorious victory over him.

And so David in the Spirit out there worshipping, and suddenly, man, it"s gone. Here is his wife just giving him a bad time. "

 


Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.

Bibliography Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 13:4". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/1-chronicles-13.html. 2014.

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