1 Chronicles 13:1-14 (Part 4) – What’s the Worst Thing That Could Happen?

Posted: March 25, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 13:1-14 (Part 4 of 6)

David Attempts to Move the Ark

One of the dangers that has worried me as we suffer through the worldwide pandemic of the Coronavirus is what will happen afterwards, particularly in the church – not just mine but all churches. Will we emerge stronger and more hungry? Will we emerge with renewed interest of non-believers in spiritual matters? Will we emerge with no new interest by non-believers and we lose some of the fringe folks that attend our church just because it’s the socially accepted thing? Will the neglect of gathering together as a body of believers of these two Sundays, if not more (and I believe it will be more), cause church to be further weakened in society and even among our own people?

That’s why there are four things that we have to do as the church – not just mine but all churches. First, we must endeavor to stay connected to one another in the fellowship by whatever means possible. If you were supposed to have a women’s small group meeting this week or early next month – figure out ways to create a video and audio link to hold the meeting virtually. Even if you have elderly members of your small groups that cannot handle modern technology and social media, at least get them to call in to the audio number for the virtual small group meeting. That’s just one example of the discipleship meetings that occur throughout the month that could be taken online. We need to stay connected in this way. More intimate settings of small groups need to continue. Further, we need to beef up our other electronic means of communication such as a church app on church member cell phones and improving websites and other social media pages.

Second, we must continue to innovate in the ways that we get our Sunday worship services online and/or before our people. Most of us did Facebook or Youtube Live services this past Sunday. At my own church, I prepared and posted daily devotionals each day during the week that were shorter versions of what I would have preached from the pulpit on March 22nd and this upcoming Sunday on March 29th. On Sundays, March 22nd and March 29th, I did and will upload a 10-minute video message that will summarize the past week’s daily devotions. However, we are quickly approaching two very important dates, Palm Sunday and Easter, on the Christian church calendar if the quarantine is extended beyond the end of March to the end of April.

We must figure out ways to continue to innovate. People will most likely tire of Facebook Live or Youtube Live after this Sunday. We must consider ways to have people physically present but yet still quarantining themselves. One of the things that I have been thinking of (and one of my parishioners talked to me about this too yesterday) for Easter is to have a version of “drive-in theatre” church – where people drive their cars to a parking lot (at church or some other public place), stay in their cars, and we have a sound system set up and such and we just have church right there in the parking lot.

Third, we must as a church and me as a pastor commit to calling and checking on each other by phone or by video chat each day. Parishioners need to make a list of the people within the church and within our community that you come in contact with the most and then check on them periodically and pray with them over the phone or video chat. As a pastor, I have been talking a letter a day from the alphabet and calling all my church members whose last name starts with that letter and call them them. Today, I will be calling all my members whose last names starts with F. Tomorrow will be the G’s and so on.

Fourth, we need to beef up our people management systems in our churches, particularly smaller ones. We were planning to implement a church management software package called ChurchTrac later in this year – sometime in the second half of the year. However, the pandemic has forced us to up the implementation date to NOW. We are working to get it all set up now – the church calendar is set up, the attendance framework is set up, data tagging is complete (so that we can associate a person’s responsibilities and activites at the church with their name), the chart of accounts for the accounting module has been set up, the various rooms for meetings and events have been created for event planning, the online giving system has been set up, and now the names of our members and other regular attenders are being entered into the people database. That’s about 60% done. In the end, we will be able push notifications out to our people, keep them informed, help them track their giving, and to generate our financial reports and other data management activities all within one software package that is all cross-integrated. This will help us to communicate with our people and keep them informed going forward after the pandemic is over as much as it will aid us during.

Why do all this? Well, it’s to keep the church connected to its people. The worse thing that could happen is neglect. If we don’t actively stay in touch with our people, they may ask themselves a question that they may have never asked before – do I really need my church? We want them to answer that question with a resounding yes.

With that idea of preventing neglect of God’s people and God’s Word in mind, let’s explore that aspect of this scene in 1 Chronicles 13:1-14 after we read it now:

3 David consulted with all his officials, including the generals and captains of his army.[a] 2 Then he addressed the entire assembly of Israel as follows: “If you approve and if it is the will of the Lord our God, let us send messages to all the Israelites throughout the land, including the priests and Levites in their towns and pasturelands. Let us invite them to come and join us. 3 It is time to bring back the Ark of our God, for we neglected it during the reign of Saul.”

4 The whole assembly agreed to this, for the people could see it was the right thing to do. 5 So David summoned all Israel, from the Shihor Brook of Egypt in the south all the way to the town of Lebo-hamath in the north, to join in bringing the Ark of God from Kiriath-jearim. 6 Then David and all Israel went to Baalah of Judah (also called Kiriath-jearim) to bring back the Ark of God, which bears the name[b] of the Lord who is enthroned between the cherubim. 7 They placed the Ark of God on a new cart and brought it from Abinadab’s house. Uzzah and Ahio were guiding the cart. 8 David and all Israel were celebrating before God with all their might, singing songs and playing all kinds of musical instruments—lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals, and trumpets.

9 But when they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon,[c] the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the Ark. 10 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.

11 David was angry because the Lord’s anger had burst out against Uzzah. He named that place Perez-uzzah (which means “to burst out against Uzzah”), as it is still called today.

12 David was now afraid of God, and he asked, “How can I ever bring the Ark of God back into my care?” 13 So David did not move the Ark into the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-edom of Gath. 14 The Ark of God remained there in Obed-edom’s house for three months, and the Lord blessed the household of Obed-edom and everything he owned.

In this passage, we see that the Ark of God was the most sacred object of the Jewish faith. It was a large box containing the stone tablets on which God had personally written the Ten Commandments. David had already made Jerusalem his political capital. At this time, David was bringing the Ark there in order to make Jerusalem the nation’s religious capital as well. The Ark of God had been in Kiriath-jearim for many years. The neglect of the Ark symbolized Israel’s neglect of God. Bringing the Ark back to the center of Israel’s life reflected David’s desire to remind the nation of its true foundation – God. Neglecting those things that remind us of God – the Bible, the church and contact with Christians – can cause us to also neglect God.

Oh Father, help us to continue to feed the sheep and keep the sheep from wandering away. Help us to be ready to accept new sheep into the herd when we are done with this pandemic. Help us to emerge as a stronger church and a church that is reaching more people. Help us to turn this bad thing into something useful for the kingdom.

Amen and Amen.

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