Saturday, July 23, 2016

1 Chronicles 13 & 14

Today's reading in our daily plan is 1 Chronicles 13 and 1 Chronicles 14. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • The "Ark of our God" (also called the "Ark of the Covenant") (13:3) was a wooden chest God told Moses to make, which contained the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments.
  • The celebration and worship of the Israelites (see 13:8) was joyful and exuberant.
  • Why does Uzzah die for touching the ark?:  God had provided very specific instructions (see Numbers 4:5-15 and Numbers 7:9) on how the Ark was to be carried. Here (13:9-10) those instructions are ignored. The way God instructed the people to move the Ark (with poles on people's shoulders, through rings) wouldn't have required anyone touching it. And, in fact, God had said that the Ark was never to be touched. Also, only the Levites were to move the Ark, and it's not indicated that Uzzah was a Levite.
  • David asks, "How can I ever bring the Ark of God back in my care?"(13:12) like there's no right answer. But the answer is, "Exactly how God told you to do it." Later David will transport the Ark to Jerusalem, the way God said to.
  • This was a time (see 14:3) when having multiple wives, especially for someone who was rich or in political power, was considered normal.
  • Notice, in 14:8-17, that David's success came from consulting with God and giving God the glory. When David turned to God for wisdom, he made right choices and was successful, and he then gave God credit for those successes.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • The Ark was the most sacred object of the Israelites faith, but it had been basically ignored and neglected for years. David brings it back into the center of the Israelite community, symbolizing his desire to bring God back into the center of their lives. We too can ignore and neglect God and the things that should bring us closer to Him. We need to make whatever changes necessary for God to be the center of our lives.
  • God is loving, and He is quick to bless (as he does with Obed-edom in 13:13-14). But God is also holy and just, and there are consequences for disobeying his commands (as we see with Uzzah in 13:9-10). It is dangerous for us to focus exclusively on God's love and ignore His justice, for there will always be consequences for sin. And it's also dangerous for us to focus exclusively on His justice and ignore His love, for if we do we will miss out on a relationship with and the blessings of the one who loves us most.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Have you been ignoring or neglecting your relationship with God? The Ark was supposed to remind the Israelites of their journey with God and of what God wanted for them, leaving it behind was a sign that they were leaving God behind. We don't have an Ark, but we do have things to remind us four journey with God and what He wants for us, like the church, the Bible,  and other Christians. If we don't attend church, read the Bible, and get together with other Christians regularly, it's a sign that we may be leaving God behind. So ... what changes do you need to make to put God at the center of your life?
  • Do you tend to focus too exclusively on God's love? Or on God's justice? We need to keep both mind. God's love is paramount and why we can have a relationship with Him. But we can't ignore His justice and think it's ok to sin, assuming there will be no consequences. Take some time to talk to God about this, asking Him to help you see where you're at with it.