1 TIMOTHY 3:16-17

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us...God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

1 CHRONICLES - Do It His Way

Sometimes God’s Word contains painful lessons.

Because sin has painful consequences.

Today’s "Bible Pick ‘Ems" is about one of those lessons:

"But when they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the Ark. Then the LORD’S anger was aroused against Uzzah, and he struck him dead because he had laid his hand on the Ark. So Uzzah died there in the presence of God." (1 Chronicles 13:9-10)

Let’s start our lesson with some background.

The Ark had been in Kiriath-jearim for many years. The Israelites took the Ark from the tabernacle at Shiloh to the battlefield when they were fighting with the Philistines (1 Samuel 4). The Ark was captured by the Philistines, and subsequently taken to Ashdod, then to Gath, and finally to Ekron before they decided to get rid of it. It was finally returned to Beth-shemesh (1 Samuel 4-6).

At some point, the men of Beth-shemesh sent messengers to the residents of Kiriath-jearim and asked them to take the Ark to their town. And there it remained until King David decided to return it to Jerusalem.

I’ve always kinda struggled with this passage. How it seems unfair and cruel.

Why did Uzzah have to die?

But, I am not God.

And God had directly given very specific instructions about how the Ark was to be carried and moved (Numbers 4:5-15).

It was to be carried by the Levites – and only them. It was to be carried on their shoulders. Transporting the Ark on a cart imitated the Philistines. And it was never to be touched.

These instructions had been ignored.


In his zeal, David had forgotten to consult God, and he had taken it upon himself to determine what God would want done.

He had the best intentions, and probably very good motives. But, he left out one very important particular – what did God want?

David’s enthusiasm was quickly dampened, and the Bible tells us that he had two rather dramatic reactions.

One, (verse 11) – "David was now angry…"

And, (verse 12) – "Now David was afraid of God…"

Has anything like this ever happened in your life?

Has there been something that you were so sure was God’s will? Some way of honoring Him or serving Him? Some job change, or location move, or relationship – a financial decision. It could be anything…

And you just KNEW that it was "from the Lord."

And then, it all blew up in your face…

Why, Lord?

Have you ever found yourself angry at Him, and afraid?

"I was trying to do the right thing, and this is what I get??"

I think it’s important to realize some very important facts – which David himself later learned.

Sometimes, we can do the right thing in the wrong way or at the wrong time.

Sometimes, we forget to really consult God in the matter.

Sometimes, we subtly imitate the ways of the world when trying to accomplish something. We are smudged with sin, but we don’t see it.

Sometimes, we need to be reminded that our obedience is more important than our enthusiasm.

God is not cruel or unfair. But He is God. And He is to be feared and worshiped.

So, how can we know what He wants? How can we determine His will?

First and foremost, consult His Word – God gives very clear instructions on certain matters. Often, our decisions are easier than we realize. If it goes against the Word of God, it’s never His will.

Second, pray about the matter. Ask for wisdom. The Bible promises that God will give us His wisdom if we seek it with single-minded purpose. Often that translates – He will tell you what to do, if you single-mindedly obey what He says.

Third, consult other believers – they are often a very good benchmark to weigh our decisions against. Sometimes God offers His counsel through the words the Holy Spirit speaks through others. And ask them to pray for you, too.

And last but not least, don’t give up.

God might not be saying "No" – He might just be saying, "Not now" or "Not in this way."

David tried again.

He had learned a mighty lesson when God gives His instructions, it is wise to follow them precisely (even if we don’t understand them!)

So, my friends – step out in faith, following after God in obedience…

…trusting that at the right time, in the right way, He will reveal His will.

(Linked today with Super Sunday, hosted by Peggy - Spiritual Sundays, hosted by Charlotte and Ginger - and Sharon Sharing God)

"When in doubt, search God out!"


  1. Thank you Sharon for this wonderful post. So very true, God is not cruel or unfair, but He is God. When He says "no," it is for a good reason. He is not saying no just because He can. Then when we do not listen the results may be devastating.

  2. Amen Sharon, I have certainly had situations I initially thought was God and later realized it was just people in my enviroment putting ideas in my head. At first, i was angry at God, but I eventually realize that it was the mercy of God preventing what I ahd initially expected. Thanks for the reminder to never give up on God. He know what is best for us, it may not come when we want it, but it will be there according to his perfect timing.

  3. "Sometimes, we subtly imitate the ways of the world when trying to accomplish something. We are smudged with sin, but we don’t see it".
    Yes, I so often do this...and I don't want to! Thanks for another reminder to seek the heart of God on EVERY matter.

  4. Thanks for sharing these verses. It's always been puzzling to me and almost seems harsh of God to impose such a consequence. But as much as we want our God to be a God of grace (he always is) we also need him to be a God of justice. Sin and disobedience have to be dealt with. I'm so glad for God's perfect wisdom. I want to grow in understanding His ways. You have helped in that process. :)

  5. Ken - Thanks for your kind comment. I think the entire world would be better off if we really and truly recognized that God is GOD! Sometimes I think if we could fully understand His love for us, we'd never doubt His Word or His will.

    Toyin - Yes, I love how you pointed out that we can be a victim of people in our environment telling us what to do. The enemy will use WHATEVER works! God truly does desire our best - and sometimes that is another way than our own, at a time of His best wisdom.

    No Spring Chicken - LOVE your name, by the way! Thanks so much for stopping by - hope you visit again. Yes, I hate to admit how many times I've been smudged! You've made a good point - it is only by seeking the Lord - wholehearted, concerted searching for His will - on EVERY matter - that we will be able to hear His wisdom and follow His guidance.

    Ruth - WELCOME! What a pleasure to have you join me today. Please come back again. You have expressed my struggle, too. And done it so eloquently. Yes, there is the tug/pull of God's grace and His justice. I suppose we think there's a difference between the two. How can something that seems "unfair" actually be part of His love? I think our finite minds just don't have the whole picture! So, I also want to grow in understanding His ways, while accepting that I must obey them even when I don't understand.


  6. I'm currently discerning the voice of God in a matter. I think I'm covered on #1-3, but #4... the "don't give up"? Well, that's where I'm struggling. I'm just so tired.

    Great encouragement here, Sharon. Thank you.


  7. Oh Elaine - how my heart feels for you. It's been quite a taxing eight months for you - you must be exhausted on so many levels. Know that I am thinking of you, and praying for you. Especially that God will uplift your weary spirit - to me, that's the worst "tired" of all.



"So I have been greatly encouraged in the midst of my troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives me new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How I thank God for you!"
(1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!