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May 6 Today’s Reading: 1 Chronicles 14-17
“We sought him not after the due order.”
1 Chronicles 15:13
The Lord God made a breach upon David and the children of Israel and slew Uzza, because, as David rightly observed, “we sought him not after the due order.” We should not fail to observe David’s modesty and humility. He included himself in this neglect. He said, “We sought him not after the due order.” It is a blessed mark of grace in believers when we take shame to ourselves, rather than put it upon others. Accepting the punishment of our iniquity is made a testimony by the Lord God himself of our being in the covenant (Leviticus 26:41).
Motivated by Love
David loved God intensely. During Saul’s reign, the worship of God and the ordinances of his house were almost totally forgotten and neglected. When David was made King in Israel, the first order of business was to reestablish that form of worship which God had ordained. He set about to do what he could to revive the true worship of the true God. It was out of pure love and reverence for God that David called all the people together and consulted with them about bringing the ark of the Lord up to Mount Zion. It would be set in a conspicuous place, near the palace of the king. It would become the center of worship for the entire nation. It was to be placed near that sacred spot where Abraham of old had offered up his son, Isaac.
God’s Word Neglected
David’s intentions were excellent. No fault can be found with his motives or his desires. However, he forgot the law of God! It is an evil day for the people of God when they do things according to their own whims and notions, and fail to yield implicit obedience to the Word of God. We serve a jealous God. Though he graciously pardons our sins and overlooks our faults, the Lord God will have his Word reverenced and his commands obeyed.
David put the ark upon a new cart, intending to bring it up to Jerusalem. The cart jolted slightly and the ark was, so far as Uzza could tell, about to fall into the mud; so he put out his hand to steady the ark; and in the moment that he touched it, the Lord killed him. Then, after three months of thoughtful consideration, David realized the cause of God’s judgment. He said, “The Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order.” If we would worship God, we must worship him in the way he has prescribed, or he will not accept our worship.
That ark represented the Lord Jesus Christ and redemption and salvation through his blood. When Uzza put his hand to it, he was declaring, “Redemption, grace, and salvation must be in some way dependent upon the works of men.” That is what it meant to put your hand to the ark. It meant God’s work ultimately depends upon the will, work, and efforts of men!
These people brought will worship to God, instead of that worship which he had ordained. They paid no attention to that which God had spoken. They had no regard for the rules of worship he had laid down.
What do I mean by will worship? I mean any kind of worship which is not prescribed in the Word of God. The first commandment may be broken, not only by worshipping a false god, but also by worshipping the true God in any way other than that which he has ordained (Exodus 20:3-5, 24-26; Isaiah 66:1-4).
If we would worship God, we must worship him in the way he has prescribed in his Word. We must worship him in Spirit and in Truth, by his Spirit and according to revealed Truth, ascribing all salvation to God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ, our almighty, effectual Savior, having no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3). We must worship him from our hearts, by faith in Christ, holding forth the Word of the Truth of the Gospel. If our doctrine and ordinances of worship are not precisely as ordered by God in his Word, we only pretend to worship God, but really worship ourselves, putting our hands on God’s Ark, mixing our works with his grace. — For that high crime of treasonous unbelief and will-worship, God still slays proud sinners and sends them to hell. — “The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”