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Mixing the Ways of the World with the Things of God

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“Oh, What A Mess!

Understanding the reasons for our failures in the faith and finding the way back

Introduction for the Series

Living at the shore as I do, it was a common thing for me to spend much of my time fishing and crabbing on the Barnegat Bay.

From my earliest days, I can recall many times casting out my fishing line

only to find myself a few minutes later in the midst of the biggest bird’s nest—of tangled line – and no matter how hard I tried, it seemed I would only make the matter worse

It was not a problem with the line per se, it was more a problem with one who was working with he line.

Not casting properly, not getting my finger out of the way—not letting go of line right away when I should

After a while, I would be asking myself the question, How did I get into this mess anyway?

It started out only as a little problem, but in a brief time, it became a lot bigger than I expected – after a while I found myself saying Oh, what a Mess!

And often it resulted in some dramatic action like cutting the line totally and starting all over again

I have experienced the same type of thing with my computer

Every now and then I will notice something that looks odd to me on the computer and I will begin to fiddle around to see what it is and how I can get rid of it

And I will look into trying to solve it on my own and a click here and a click there and before I know it new messages are coming up on the screen telling me there is an error and that I performed an illegal operation

The next thing I know the blue screen of death will show up saying that my computer is unstable and has performed a fatal error and is about to blow up

Well not quite that bad!

But it is just another reminder that we often big problems start out as little things at first  and we often make matters worse because we don’t know what we are doing or worse we have neglected a proper procedure or tried to fix it our own way

In many ways the Christian life is like that also.

We start out well, at first and experience the blessing of the Lord, but for some reason, some problem comes up maybe from our doing maybe just from the way things unfold—but in our wisdom we try to fix it without help from the Lord and without insight from His word and we often end up making matters worse – and we have to confess – Oh What a Mess We made – just like that fishing line or computer problem

May be like Christian in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s progress who encountered Bypath Meadows—and have taken a wrong turn

May be like any of the Lord’s people like Elijah, or Israel in wilderness, or Jacob, or Isaac or many others who found themselves in a mess and wondering how to get out of it

This weekend I would like to take a look into the some of the experiences  of God’s people who fell into pitfalls along the path of faith people like us with same type of pitfalls that we can go through and by so doing try to get a handle on why thing got so bad –why they got into the mess to begin with and how the the Lord got them out of that distress

We will find this weekend that many of the problems we get into in the Christian life are a result of our own doing but we will also learn more about the infinite grace and forgiveness of God as well as His work and His ways,

David at Baale Judah- 2 Sam.6:1-11

The Problem with Ignorance

I would like to begin this series with this theme in mind by looking at an episode in life of David that can be found in 2 Sam. 6:1-11

The Background to the events of this chapter can be found in 1 Sam 4

During the days of Eli – more than 20 years previous, the Philistines had captured the ark of the covenant. 

Israel had sinned and had a corrupt priesthood, Eli’s two son’s hophni and Phineas –both very much to blame

The Philistines had been perennial antagonists in the side of the Israelites

In one battle the Philistines seemed to be having the upper hand

Desperate and Looking like they were going to lose, the Israelites brought out the ark of the covenant as if it was a good luck charm

Trusting in it rather than in the Lord, they were sounding defeated by Phil.  because of their trust in the ark and because of their sinfulness as a nation

Now in the Philistines hands the ark became a celebrated item of the enemy

They brought it into their temple – Dagon fell

They started breaking out in tumors

Brought it to their other cities – same thing

Make golden images of rats and tumors after the number of philistine lords and make cart hitch it to two milk cows keep calves at home see what becomes

If the cows come back to calves not the Go of Israel, I they do against nature

Bring it back to Israel

Hey did cart brought back to beth Shemesh who suffered and requested that men of K Jearim take it

Brought to house of Abinadab where it stayed for a long time – 20 years

Now fast forward -- David is anointed as King , Jer captured from the Jebusites and David becomes great

Wanting to restore the power and prestige Israel David begins process to return ark to jer.

Gthering together 30, 000 – puts the ark of God upon a new Phil. Cart after it comes out of house of Abinadab appoints Uzzah and Ahio to drive the art – and off it goes and a great celebration ensues

But when they come to Nachon’s threshing floor, the oxen must have stepped into a ditch or hit a bump and he stumbled

And as the ark of the covenant began to slide off the art Uzzah reached out his hand to stop it and with that God struck him dead for his error touching the ark

And all the music stopped as quick as the cart

And there stood the whole entourage mouths wide open for the events that had just unfolded

It says that David was both angry and afraid for what the Lord did and would not move the ark into tJer. As He had planned but took it into the house of Obed Edom where it stayed for three months and blessed that household

This is an intriguing event that took place in the life of David.

I am sure that could have said – what a Mess – How did we get into this mess anyway

After all was David doing the honorable thing? Bringing the ark out of the house of abinadab into Jerusaelm – was n’t the Lord being honored?

And the fact that Uzzah touched ark – it wasn’t his fault anywy, so why was God so harsh

Well it might look that David was doing the right thing –but if he was he was doing it in a wrong way.

We may think in our personal lives or assembly lives we might be doing things right way

We may be making progress in a certain ministry or even in assembly life and testimony but then something goes wrong and we are left to ask ourselves the question what went wrong and how do I fix it

What are the lessons that God wants us to learn from this portion of His Word

And why did David and why do we get into such a mess?

1.      God expects His people to do his wok with an attitude of holiness

It says that the Lord struck Uzzah for his error – his error of touching the ark covenant

When the ark of God was in possession of the Philistines the Lord judged them

The unsaved will not go unpunished in their casual treatment of sacred things

Even the men of beth Shemesh were judged for looking into the ark

An d when Uzzah stretched forth his hand to touch the ark he was struck down

This is one of three instances in the Bible in which people were struck by God

Nadab and Abihu were struck dead for offering strange fire on the altar

Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead for pretending to have made a bigger donation than they did  --they were struck down by God

And here Uzzah was struck down for his error – for a casual touching of ark

One of the reasons we may get into a mess in our lives is because of the casual dealing with things sacred

Why no sense of holiness, too familiar with the ark which was in their house

BE CAREFUL THAT WE DON’T DO THE SAME

"but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”" (1 Peter 1:15-16, NKJV)

Josh 3 – a distance between the ark

Ex. 3 – Moses took off thy shoes

Joshua 5 – take off thy shoes

Isa. 6 – I am undone – woe is me I am a man of unclean lips, and dwell among people of unclean lips

We need a real sense of the holiness in our lives –keeps us out of trouble

Some of the problems we get into  are because we are not acknowledging the Lord  in our midst and going about our lives without acknowledging His presence at Prov. 3 – in all our ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.2 Co 7:1

 

2.  Properly appointed people in positions of authority and leadership

Nadab and Abihu in Levitical line--but apparently too familiar

Do not appoint people because of father's faith or achievements

Should have been aware of violation of God's Word. (Leadership must be aware of God's holiness and sacred responsibility.)

Sunday School teacher etc. position filled for convenience or responsibility

Ark was not the problem because it blessed Obed Edom's house (v. 11)

3.  God's Work must be done in  God's way

It was Hudson Taylor – who coined the phrase God’s Word must be done God’s way

And it does

Problem was they adopted a Philistine idea --the cart. –they ddi not know any better

But David and Uzzah and Ahio should have known better!!

Ex 25:10FF – INSTRUCTIONS FOR CARRYING THE ARK of God

The ark should have been borne not driven because  it should not have been on a a cart to begin with

The world has it’s ways of doing things and God has his way

And we are to do things God’s way

Tabernacl – see that you do all things according to pattern shown to you on mount. Heb 8

No deviation – God’s work in God’s way – yet we hear of Christian night club and the Bible as a magazine

(Hosea 4:6 KJV)  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge:

When we commit to and obey God's way then we will be blessed.

I Chron. 15

A. David sought the Lord.

B. Rectified the matter (I Chron. 15:26)

C. Acknowledged holiness of the Lord (Sacrificed every six paces)

(Holiness precedes service)

1. Chron. 15:13 "the proper way"

I Chron. 15:26--God helped the Levites not on own

True celebration (v.15) not ignorant celebration

Results-slower but blessed by the Lord no casualties

Conclusion

Get rid of the Philistine carts--trust the Lord not the methods

Give work to those who are truly separated and have a sacred reverence for things of God.

2 Tim 2:15 Study the word to show thyself approved unto God

Erwin Lutzer – Failure back door to success-

Aaron – what a Mess

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