“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.” ~2 Samuel 6:6
One of my favorite dishes is a Vietnamese dish called “shaking beef.” It is cubes of steak that are stir-fried with flavored spices. I’ve entertained many pastor and missionary friends who enjoy the delicious taste of this beef with rice. This morning, we are not necessarily considering a delicious entrée dish as much as we are looking at a Bible principle. This morning, we are looking at a true incident involving oxen carrying the ark of God in a new cart. It centers on when the oxen entered into an area known as Nachon’s threshingfloor, the oxen stumbled on the uneven ground and shook the cart.
We see a king’s PASSION.
King David was a man of war, but he was also a man of worship. David’s great desire with a unified nation was to bring the ark of God to Jerusalem where the people could worship God and perform the prescribed sacrifices. The ark of God symbolically spoke of the presence and power of God. When the high priest practiced the Passover, it represented the power of the blood atonement and the death of Christ for every sinner. David’s desire was that God’s presence would be the centerpiece of worship in Jerusalem for God’s people. Like David, let us have a deep desire for the presence and power of God in our lives.
We see a careless PERFORMANCE.
The ark of God had been in the house of Abinadab for close to 100 years down in Kirjathjearim. David and the people went there to bring the ark back. Instead of having the Levites bear the ark of God (see Numb. 4:15) as commanded by God, David had the ark of God placed on a new cart. When we go back to 1 Sam. 6-7, the Philistines had returned the ark of God on a new cart. A new cart was not the God-ordained method of transporting the ark of God. Sometimes, we think it is alright to not give attention to details. However, God cares about every detail. We must remember a little leaven leavens the whole lump.
We see a considerable PROBLEM.
The procession went on until the oxen entered the threshing floor of Nachon. The uneven ground caused the oxen to stumble and shake the cart and the ark of God. Uzza, one of Abinadab’s sons, puts his hand out to touch and steady the ark. As soon as he did, God struck him dead! Uzza was presumptuous in thinking God needed him to prop up His presence. Many Christians want God’s presence and power on their terms and not God’s terms. They want to put their hand on the power of God when the power of God must be God’s hand upon us! The shaking of the oxen pointed to the fact that unbiblical, compromising methods (carrying the ark of God in a new cart) are always shaky at best. They are shaky in their outcome; they are shaky in their aftermath; they are shaky in their usefulness.
We see a cardinal PRINCIPLE.
God’s work must be done in God’s way in order to achieve God’s blessing and results. Nadab and Abihu tried to offer strange fire on the altar and God slew them with fire. Ananias and Sapphira tried to withhold their offering to God and God slew them. The churches of Pergamos and Thyatira tried to serve God by allowing and tolerating worldly and compromising methods: God told them to repent or He would remove their candlestick (influence and power). God’s prescribed methods must not be skirted, changed, or avoided. Unsaved people try to get into heaven with good works, but wind up going to hell instead. God’s work must be done God’s way.
The shaking of the oxen pointed to a faulty assumption. Be careful of trying to please God on your terms, and not in obedience to His Word. God takes what He says seriously, and we must obey and follow Him with soberness of mind.
Have a steadfast God Morning!