Todays readings.. 1 Chronicles 15, Ezekiel 27, Luke 24
How vital it is to do things – spiritual things especially, “according to the word of the LORD.” When we do not follow the instructions that come with the things we buy, or later lose them and guess what they said – we often have a problem!
Until Solomon built the magnificent Temple, the centre of worship for the people had been the Tabernacle. This contained God’s golden ark which was concealed within its’ Most Holy Place. This was the one place where his people could come close to the presence of the true God – his dwelling place on earth.
It had been built to God’s specific instructions after the people escaped from slavery in Egypt and received God’s laws at Sinai. Among the instructions God gave through Moses were instructions to the priests responsible for carrying the Ark from place to place (Numb.4 v.15).
When King David captured Jerusalem he built a special tent to house the Ark there. We read yesterday (1 Chron. 13) how, when the Priests started to bring the ark into Jerusalem, they failed to follow God’s instructions. The ark had been designed with poles to be slotted through it by which the Priests could carry it. Maybe these Priests thought they knew better because they loaded it on a cart instead. The oxen stumbled and a Priest had to grab the ark to prevent it falling off the cart: in handling the ark it seems his hands penetrated into its sacred interior. The result was – that this priest, Uzzah, died – it was a heart searching lesson from God.
In today’s reading (ch.15) they are now very careful to follow the rules God had laid down to bring the Ark to the place David had prepared (v.1) and we read [v.15] “the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles as Moses had commanded according to the word of the LORD”. The ark was brought into Jerusalem and there was much rejoicing, music, singing and dancing. When we obey God properly there is great joy and this was a most special occasion, Jerusalem was starting to become ‘The Holy City.’.
We are told there is joy in heaven (Luke 15 v.7) when a sinner repents which happens when one is baptised; that is, immersed by going under the water as Jesus did himself – as an example to us. (Mark 1 v.9,10). There must be sadness when this is not done in the way commanded, when people think that sprinkling is sufficient, but to baptise means immersion, it is the plain meaning of the Greek word, baptizo.
Let us serve God properly, following his instructions; taking a lesson from what happened with the Ark; then, if we continue faithful to his word in heart and mind, fully appreciating his grace, we will have true joy and rejoicing when we come into God’s Holy City when Jesus returns – and an abundance of other joys.