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Sermon #2072 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: “After the Due Order”
Text: 1 Chronicles 15:3
Subject: Worship — God’s Way or No Way
1 Chronicles 13:1-14; 15:1-4, 11-15, 25-29
1 Chronicles 13:1-14 1 And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader.
2 And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good unto you, and that it be of the LORD our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren every where, that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites which are in their cities and suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us:
3 And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we enquired not at it in the days of Saul.
4 And all the congregation said that they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.
5 So David gathered all Israel together, from Shihor of Egypt even unto the entering of Hemath, to bring the ark of God from Kirjathjearim.
6 And David went up, and all Israel, to Baalah, that is, to Kirjathjearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up thence the ark of God the LORD, that dwelleth between the cherubims, whose name is called on it.
7 And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drave the cart.
8 And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets.
9 And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled.
10 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God.
11 And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzza: wherefore that place is called Perezuzza to this day.
12 And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God home to me?
13 So David brought not the ark home to himself to the city of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite.
14 And the ark of God remained with the family of Obededom in his house three months. And the LORD blessed the house of Obededom, and all that he had.
1 Chronicles 15:1-4 1 And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent.
2 Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the LORD chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever.
3 And David gathered all Israel together to Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the LORD unto his place, which he had prepared for it.
4 And David assembled the children of Aaron, and the Levites:
1 Chronicles 15:11-15 And David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, and Joel, Shemaiah, and Eliel, and Amminadab,
12 And said unto them, Ye are the chief of the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel unto the place that I have prepared for it.
13 For because ye did it not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order.
14 So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel.
15 And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the LORD.
1 Chronicles 15:25-29 25 So David, and the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the house of Obededom with joy.
26 And it came to pass, when God helped the Levites that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, that they offered seven bullocks and seven rams.
27 And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen.
28 Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps.
29 And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart.
How important are the details in spiritual things? Is it okay for us to worship God as we please, to add what we please to the ordinances of divine worship, to take away what we find distasteful or out of date, so long as we are sincere? Is it all right to disobey the Lord’s commands, so long as we have a good reason for doing so? Silly as those questions may appear to you, there are multitudes who think just that way. We have examples even among God’s ancient people and among his true servants. Read 1st Chronicles 15:13.
“For because ye did it not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order.”
Let me give you a little background information, so that you can get the setting of our text. The Ark of the Covenant was a small wooden chest, about the size of a coffee table, covered inside and out with gold. Inside the ark, the two tables of stone containing God’s holy law were preserved, along with the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded. Upon the lid of that ark, at either end, were two figures representing cherubs, and between the wings of the cherubs, when the ark was at rest, that bright light called the Shekinah, the token of God’s presence, dwelt. The lid of the ark was called the mercy-seat, the place where God met with his people by virtue of the blood sprinkled upon it.
This Ark of the Covenant was the most sacred thing in the whole symbolic system of worship in the Old Testament. It was to them a symbolic representation of God’s presence with Israel. That lid, called the mercy seat, was typical of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Ark. Christ is the Ark of the covenant in which God dwelt among men, and he is our Mercy-Seat, through whom we are accepted and have access unto God the Father.
The ark was made, according to God’s word to Moses, in the wilderness. It was carefully kept in the most holy place of the tabernacle. No man was allowed to enter that holy place, except the high priest. The high priest was allowed to enter there only once every year; and even then, he could not enter without blood. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest entered into the holy of holies with his smoking censer, making a thick cloud of incense. Sprinkling the blood upon the mercy-seat, he drew near to the ark; but he dare not draw near without blood.
When the ark was carried from place to place, it was carefully covered, so that no human eye could see it. It was carried by long golden poles upon the shoulders of the Levites, so that no human hand touched it. It was by the presence of this ark, the symbol of God’s presence, that Jordan was driven back and the land of Canaan was conquered.
On one occasion the ark was captured by the Philistines; but it was of no benefit to them. As long as they held the ark, wherever they went, the Philistines were smitten with pestilence. At last they cried, — “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there” (1 Samuel 5:11).
They took the ark and put it upon a new cart, driven by a team of oxen. By divine providence, the oxen brought the ark to Bethshemesh. The men of Bethshemesh curiously lifted the lid and looked inside the ark, and the Lord killed more than 50,000 of those men that day for their wicked presumption.
After that, the ark was taken down to Kirjathjearim, and brought into the house of Abinadab. There it remained throughout the days of Saul’s reign; and it was in the house of Abinadab when God made David king over Israel.
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.
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.
Proposition: If we would worship God; we must worship him in the way he has prescribed, or he will not accept our worship.
You know the rest of the story, up to the point of our text. 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.”
Divisions: There are some very important lessons for us in this story. I hope we can learn from David’s error the necessity of worshipping and serving God “AFTER THE DUE ORDER.”
1. Because David neglected God’s order, God rejected David’s worship (1 Chronicles 13:8-10).
2. By the Lord’s judgment upon Uzza, David learned the fear of God (1 Chronicles 13:12).
3. Because he feared God, David learned to worship the Lord after the due order (1 Chronicles 15:11-15).
4. We must learn to worship and serve the Lord God after the due order.
Because David neglected God’s order, God rejected David’s worship (1 Chronicles 13:8-10).
1 Chronicles 13:8-10 “And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets. (9) And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. (10) And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God.”
David had gone to great lengths of preparation, expense, and labor to bring the ark of God up to its proper place; but all of his plans met with total failure. God rejected David’s worship and his service. Why?
· The whole congregation was with him.
· There was great pomp and pageantry.
· There was an abundance of good music.
· There was much planning and careful preparation.
· The whole service was very impressive to everyone, and very satisfying.
But God was not impressed. God’s blessings did not attend this great impressive parade. Though all the people were very happy. Though they had the ark in their midst, the symbol of God’s presence — Though everything was done in the name of the Lord and for the worship of God, God was not present! Why did God reject this great service done for him?
If I read the story correctly, it seems to me that there was very little consideration of God’s mind in the matter. David consulted with the people, when he should have consulted with God (13:1). David entered into this work with much excitement and enthusiasm; but we do not read a word about him seeking the mind of God.
1 Chronicles 13:1-4 “And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader. (2) And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good unto you, and that it be of the LORD our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren every where, that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites which are in their cities and suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us: (3) And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we inquired not at it in the days of Saul. (4) And all the congregation said that they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.”
· There was much singing, but no humiliation of heart.
· There was much excitement, but no reverence.
· There was much work, but no prayer.
· There was much regard for the will of the people, but no regard for the will of God.
· There was much planning, but no thought for the Word of God.
· David and the people paid great attention to the outward form of worship, but there appears to have been very little regard for the heart, the spirit, and the soul. This is all wrong (John 4:23-24).
John 4:23-24 “But 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. (24) God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
This is the point — David and the people of Israel seem to have totally neglected and ignored the Word of God.
· The priests of God were not in their proper place.
The priest were to go before the ark, leading the people; but David had his men of war leading the procession. Those priests were typical of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest. To ignore the priest was to ignore the necessity of a Mediator.
· David had an ox cart, rather than the Levites whom God had appointed, to carry the ark.
· There was no sacrifice made before the ark.
This was the fatal flaw. They attempted to worship and serve the Lord God without a sacrifice. Mark this down, my friend, if you have no regard for God’s appointed, sin-atoning Sacrifice, the Lord Jesus Christ, God will have no regard for you.
· Uzza appears to have become too familiar with the ark.
The ark had been around his house for so long that he had lost all reverence for it. J. C. Ryle said, “Nothing so hardens the heart of a man as a barren familiarity with sacred things.” That ark represented the Lord Jesus Christ and redemption and salvation through his blood; but Uzza viewed it as nothing but a religious relic. When he 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).
Exodus 20:3-5 “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (4) Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: (5) Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;”
Exodus 20:24-26 “An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. 25 And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. 26 Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.”
Isaiah 66:1-4 “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? (2) For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. (3) He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. (4) I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.”
Spurgeon said, “If you set up a mode of worship, not warranted by his Word, whatever you may plead for it, it is idolatrous, and the Lord may well say to you, ‘Who hath required this at your hands?’”
Listen to me now. Pay attention. The fact that something pleases men does not mean that it will please God. Anything that is not appointed by God will not be accepted by God. God will not be worshipped in whatever slipshod fashion you and I may be pleased to invent. God will be worshipped in the way he has appointed, or he will not be worshipped.
In the second place, I want you to see that by the Lord’s judgment upon Uzza, David learned the fear of God (1 Chronicles 13:12).
1 Chronicles 13:12 “And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God home to me?”
Everything was going exactly according to plan. Suddenly, the ark begins to totter, and young Uzza, with nothing but good intentions puts out his hand to catch the ark, and instantly he is slain. Like Nadab and Abihu, who offered strange fire before the Lord, he fell dead. Is it any wonder that David was struck with fear?
Truly, “our God is a consuming fire!” He will not be trifled with. This was his ark, and he would make them know that it was his. No one dares to touch that which God has sanctified for himself without impunity. David saw these things and he was afraid of God that day. Why? What caused David to fear the Lord?
He had seen the terrible hand of God’s judgment, and it struck fear in his heart. The Lord made a breach upon Uzza in justice, because Uzza had made a breach upon God in sin. Like Aaron, David learned the meaning of God’s Word — “I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified” (Leviticus 10:3).
My friends, the Lord God is jealous of his honor and glory. You will either sanctify God in your heart, by reverence and godly fear, or he will slay you. We will either recognize and acknowledge that Christ alone is acceptable to him and that our acceptance is totally in, by, and through Christ, or we will perish.
David was afraid of God, because of his own sin (v. 11).
1 Chronicles 13:11 “And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzza: wherefore that place is called Perezuzza to this day.”
When David felt anger in his heart toward God, he was immediately stricken with fear. Well might that man be fearful who dares to sit in judgment upon God.
David was afraid of God, because of his own sense of unworthiness. He said, “How shall I bring the ark of God home to me?” He feared that in some unguarded moment he might be guilty of irreverence, and perish before God like Uzza.
This is a lesson we must learn. — The Lord, Jehovah, is a God greatly to be feared. It is better that a man never hear the name of God, than for him to become so familiar with the things of God that he ceases to reverence him. It is better never to attend a place of worship, than to attempt to worship God carelessly, thoughtlessly, and irreverently. Nothing brings the judgment of God more swiftly and more irrevocably than irreverence (Ecclesiastes 5:1-2).
Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. (2) Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.”
· Preparation for Worship.
· Attitude During Worship.
· Dress and Attire for Worship.
· Promptness in Attendance.
· Conversation and Attitude After Worship.
The Due Order
I want you to see, in the third place, that because he feared God, David learned to worship God after the due order (1 Chronicles 15:11-15).
1 Chronicles 15:11-15 “And David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, and Joel, Shemaiah, and Eliel, and Amminadab, (12) And said unto them, Ye are the chief of the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel unto the place that I have prepared for it. (13) For because ye did it not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order. (14) So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel. (15) And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the LORD.”
Once the fear of God had been struck into David’s heart, he was not so hasty, not so presumptuous, and not so noisy. There was a great difference in David’s attitude before God. His fear of God did not cause him to give up worshipping and serving the Lord; but it did cause him to seek to worship God “AFTER THE DUE ORDER.” David was still determined to bring the ark of God up to Mt. Zion. It was something that must be done; but he went about it in a far different way this second time.
He waited for some indication from God that it was time to bring the ark up to Mt. Zion. He left the ark for three months in the house of Obededom; but he had not forgotten it. He watched the hand of God’s providence, bless the house of Obededom, because of the ark.
· He prepared a tent for the ark.
· He prepared his heart for the work.
This time David sought the mind of God about the matter. Having consulted with God, there was no need for him to consult with the people. He did not do what he thought was proper, but what God said was proper. He did not seek the will of the people, but the will of God. He did not seek to do that which was pleasing to men, but that which was pleasing to God.
· The priests were in their proper place.
Christ, the high Priest over the house of God, must be in the forefront of all our worship.
· Blood sacrifices were offered to the Lord (15:26).
1 Chronicles 15:26 “And it came to pass, when God helped the Levites that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, that they offered seven bullocks and seven rams.”
· God was honored and reverenced in David’s heart and before all the people.
· God was with them.
This time, they had more than the symbol of God’s presence. They really had God’s presence.
· The Lord was with them.
· The Lord helped them.
· The Lord blessed them.
· The Lord filled them with joy.
· The Lord accepted them.
Now, in the last place, we must learn to worship and serve the Lord our God after the due order. That which is done in the name of God must be done according to the Word of God and for the glory of God, or it will never be accepted before God.
Upon the very surface of things, there are some very important lessons for us to learn.
· This whole affair is of great concern to us, because the ascension of the ark from the house of Obededom up to Mt. Zion was a typical picture of the ascension and exaltation of Christ.
· We learn also that that which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination to God. — Everybody was impressed and pleased with the first procession of the ark except God.
· Here is another lesson written in bold type. — God measures sin far more strictly and in a far different manner than we do. Uzza seemed to err in a very small way. Our attitude toward Christ and the gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace in him is everything.
In our worship of God, everything must be done after the due order.
· Our hearts must be right — motivated by the glory of God.
· Our doctrine must be right.
We must be careful that we form our doctrine by “Thus saith the Lord.” If our doctrine is not the pure doctrine of the gospel of Christ, our worship cannot be accepted before the Lord (Isaiah 8:20). That which is plainly revealed in the Word of God must be plainly declared from the pulpit. God never has and never will bless compromise.
There are some things plainly revealed in the Scriptures.
· God is God. He is sovereign.
· All men are guilty, helpless, ruined sinners.
· God has a people whom he has chosen.
· Christ effectually redeemed his people.
· Salvation is accomplished by the irresistible, effectual power of God the Holy Spirit.
· All who believe on Christ are saved forever.
· Christ is coming in the fullness of his glory to judge the earth.
· Christ is Lord of all. He has ascended up on high and led captivity captive.
· Our worship must be right.
All that is done in our public worship must be according to the Word of God. We must omit nothing which the Word of God requires; and we must add nothing which the Word of God does not require.
· The honor of God and reverence for him must be first and foremost.
· Our ordinances must arise from the Word of God and be observed according to the Word of God.
NOTE: One innovation leads inevitably to another. One compromise will bring another compromise.
· Our methods must be right.
Methodology is important. We cannot worship and serve God in methods which are not consistent with his Word.
· Public Worship.
· Religious Activities.
One word to you who are yet without Christ. — You must come to God in the way he has appointed, or you will never be accepted before him. You must come to God through Christ. “No man cometh unto the Father but by me!”
· Come in submission to Christ the Lord.
· Come through the merits of his blood.
· Come in faith — Trusting Christ alone.
· All true worship is spiritual worship.
Philippians 3:3 “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
· Our only Ark and our only Altar is Christ himself.
Hebrews 13:10 “We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.”
Hebrews 9:11-12 “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; (12) Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
1 Chronicles 16:1-2 “So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it: and they offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings before God. (2) And when David had made an end of offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD.”
7-13 “Then on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the LORD into the hand of Asaph and his brethren. (8) Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. (9) Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works. (10) Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. (11) Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually. (12) Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; (13) O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones.”
23-36 “Sing unto the LORD, all the earth; show forth from day to day his salvation. (24) Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations. (25) For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods. (26) For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. (27) Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place. (28) Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. (29) Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. (30) Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved. (31) Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The LORD reigneth. (32) Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof: let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein. (33) Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the LORD, because he cometh to judge the earth. (34) O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. (35) And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise. (36) Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the LORD.”