Handling the Presence of God
"And when they came to Chidon's threshing floor, Uzza put out his hand to hold the ark, for the oxen stumbled." 1 Chronicles 13:9
This may seem a random Scripture to lead off with this morning, but it is a verse and story that I cannot get off of my mind and heart. I invite you to dig with me into the treasure found in this seemingly insignificant verse, and may we receive what the Lord would say to us through it.
David had consulted with captains and leaders and the people of Israel concerning the ark of the covenant, and it was decided to bring it back to where he was. This was the "ark of God the Lord, who dwells between the cherubim, where His Name is proclaimed." It was His Presence among the people at that time.
While there is much more history and detail in this story than I feel led to open up this morning, I do ask that you read and study concerning the background for yourself. But coming to this point in time when they attempted to bring back the ark on a new cart, we see that they made it as far as Chidon's threshing floor. (Sidebar - I wonder how far they would have made it in carrying the Presence of the Lord had not this instance occurred.)
However, the oxen stumbled. Oxen represent strength, and strength was pulling the Presence of the Lord to where David was directing it to go. Please note something interesting here. Uzza (the one who dared to put out his hand to hold the ark) - his name literally means "strength"! So let's read the verse again with this knowledge, inserting the meanings/representations:
"And when they came to Chidon's threshing floor, strength put out his hand to hold the Presence of the Lord, for the strength carrying it had stumbled."
There is so much more that we could talk about here, but I leave you with this today: how often do we allow our strengths to try and handle the Presence of God? How often do we slip into carelessly trying to guide Him to where we think He should go?
I believe with all of my heart that the Lord allowed the oxen to stumble so that David would realize his error in trying to lead the Presence of God without doing it the Lord's way. (Two chapters later he gets it right.)
I challenge you to allow the Presence of God to lead you today, not the other way around. Rather than depending on your own strength, learn to trust in His. Do it His way...you may find yourself doing a little undignified dancing in the end. ;)
Father, don't let me try to guide and handle Your Presence. I want to maintain a fear and reverence for Your holiness that seems to be forgotten in this day and age. You are still God, and Your way is still right. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
1 Chronicles 13, 15