1 Chronicles 15:1-24 (Part 2) – You’re God. I’m Not. We Will Do It Your Way, Then!

Posted: April 14, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 15:1-24 (Part 1 of 2)

Preparing to Move the Ark to Jerusalem

One of the things that Elena and I are passionate about is placing God first in our financial priorities. We give at least 10% of our gross income each month to the Lord. It is the first check that I write after I get paid at the first of the month. We want to give the Lord the best of our income, BEFORE any other bills get paid. We do this because God commands it.

I will digress for a second and then get back to the main point – There are those who say that we as Christians are no longer under obligation to give the tithe as commanded in the Old Testament because of certain things that Paul stated about giving. However, Paul, in my opinion, when he said we were freed from the Law through Jesus, he was talking about the penalties of breaking the Law’s moral and ethical principles. We were freed from the penalty of sin (breaking the law) through Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. Paul and Jesus, I think, viewed the law the same way as they should. Jesus in His own words said, “I came not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it” (Matthew 5:17). The Law held its proper place as the revelation of God’s holy standard. As John MacArthur puts it, “The great moral principles of the law, the eternal truths contained in the law’s types and symbols, and the promises recorded by the prophets all remain in force and are not abrogated by the kingdom message” (Study Helps, The MacArthur Study Bible, 1997).” Thus, Jesus and Paul saw the Law as the minimum expectation. Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount says as much and sets the bar even higher for His followers. Thus, it is my argument that a minimum of tithing is God’s expectation. He wants us to give it cheerfully out of love for Him not out of obligation, as Paul says. He wants us to shoot for 10% not as an obligatory thing. He wants us to want to give 10%, the best of what we have, and want to do it so much that 10% doesn’t even seem like enough to give to the Lord.

Back to my main point, since God’s expectation is that we should want to obey Him in this way out of love for Him, we do the tithe not to because we HAVE to but because we want to. God commands it and that was good enough for us when we began tithing. We really didn’t understand the purpose God has in this command at first but we were doing it because that is what God commands. Over the years, our obedience in this area has given us plenty of reasons/blessings for obeying God in trust in this area. No we didn’t win the lottery or anything. But the blessings have been these:

  1. It has taught us to arrange our financial lives in such a way that we live off of 90% or less of our gross income. It took time to payoff debts so that we could, but we did it by not blowing tax refunds or work bonuses on frivolous things but rather paying off old debts and credit cards.
  2. It has taught us to live more simply – that we don’t HAVE TO HAVE the brightest, newest, shiniest thing. “Paid for” is good enough for us and “paid for” has a really nice sound to it each month.
  3. It has taught us that God will provide for us just enough at just the right time whenever we trust Him financially – He has proven that to us on numerous occasions. Some call these incidents coincidence but we call it God’s provision and His providence.
  4. It has taught us a sense of contentment that we had never known before – to be able to jump off the American Dream hamster wheel (always chasing but never getting anywhere). When we are not out there chasing that elusive dream, you can actually live more simply, be more contented, and actually set aside money in savings.

Obeying God on this one was just one where we had to trust Him. And through the trust and diving into that trust, God has revealed the blessings of obedience that go far beyond what the original act of obedience specifically was. That’s how obedience to God always works out.

That’s the idea that came to mind this morning when I read through this passage, 1 Chronicles 15:1-24, on this Tuesday morning. Sometimes, we just gotta trust the Lord and do things God’s way:

Chapter 15

1 David[a] built houses for himself in the city of David, and he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. 2 Then David commanded that no one but the Levites were to carry the ark of God, for the Lord had chosen them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister to him forever. 3 David assembled all Israel in Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the Lord to its place, which he had prepared for it. 4 Then David gathered together the descendants of Aaron and the Levites: 5 of the sons of Kohath, Uriel the chief, with one hundred twenty of his kindred; 6 of the sons of Merari, Asaiah the chief, with two hundred twenty of his kindred; 7 of the sons of Gershom, Joel the chief, with one hundred thirty of his kindred; 8 of the sons of Elizaphan, Shemaiah the chief, with two hundred of his kindred; 9 of the sons of Hebron, Eliel the chief, with eighty of his kindred; 10 of the sons of Uzziel, Amminadab the chief, with one hundred twelve of his kindred.

11 David summoned the priests Zadok and Abiathar, and the Levites Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab. 12 He said to them, “You are the heads of families of the Levites; sanctify yourselves, you and your kindred, so that you may bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place that I have prepared for it. 13 Because you did not carry it the first time,[b] the Lord our God burst out against us, because we did not give it proper care.” 14 So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. 15 And the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord.

16 David also commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their kindred as the singers to play on musical instruments, on harps and lyres and cymbals, to raise loud sounds of joy. 17 So the Levites appointed Heman son of Joel; and of his kindred Asaph son of Berechiah; and of the sons of Merari, their kindred, Ethan son of Kushaiah; 18 and with them their kindred of the second order, Zechariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, and Mikneiah, and the gatekeepers Obed-edom and Jeiel. 19 The singers Heman, Asaph, and Ethan were to sound bronze cymbals; 20 Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah, and Benaiah were to play harps according to Alamoth; 21 but Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel, and Azaziah were to lead with lyres according to the Sheminith. 22 Chenaniah, leader of the Levites in music, was to direct the music, for he understood it. 23 Berechiah and Elkanah were to be gatekeepers for the ark. 24 Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah, and Eliezer, the priests, were to blow the trumpets before the ark of God. Obed-edom and Jehiah also were to be gatekeepers for the ark.

In this passage, we see that “the first time” refers to the incident recorded in 1 Chronicles 13:8-11 and 2 Samuel 6:1-11. As the Ark was being brought back to Israel on an oxcart, the oxen stumbled, Uzzah, trying to steady the Ark with his hand, accidently touched the Ark, and was killed instantly. This mistake was not in David’s desire to move the Ark, but in his method for its return. David either ignored or was unaware of God’s specific instructions in the Law about how to move the Ark. Obviously, he discovered his mistake and was now prepared to correct it. This incident was a divine object lesson to all of Israel that God governs the kings of this world and not the other way around. If David had been allowed to handle the Ark carelessly, what would that have said to the people of Israel about taking shortcuts in their own faith?

When David’s first attempt to move the Ark failed, he learned an important lesson – when God gives specific instructions, it is wise to follow them, precisely. This time David saw to it that the Levites carried the Ark as prescribed in Numbers 4:5-15. We may not fully understand the reasons behind God’s instructions but we do know that His wisdom is complete and His judgment is infallible. This way to know God’s instructions is to know His Word. Sometimes, though, just as children sometimes don’t understand the reasons for all their parents’ instructions, until they are older, we may not understand all of God’s reasons, instructions in His Word, or directions directly to us through the Holy Spirit. However, it is far better to obey God first and then discover the reasons than the way that we and David often do things – finding out the reasons for God’s instructions after disobeying them and then learning to obey.

Obedience to God’s ways may seem stupid, silly, and delusional to the secular world and even to our own doubting hearts. However, sometimes, we just gotta trust that God in His eternal wisdom has good and beneficial reasons for His commands to us in His Word. Sometimes, we just gotta say, “You’re God. I’m not. So, we will do it Your way.” The blessings of obedience are always more than what you expected. The blessings are not always financial (most of the time they are not). The blessings are a changed heart and changed viewpoint. The blessings are a deeper trust in the Lord through seeing the real reasons for our obedience after we trusted Him enough to dive into obedience. The blessings are seeing the wonder of God and how He providentially cares for us and loves us so much that He has these loving reasons for all His commands.

Amen and Amen.

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