Thursday, May 23, 2013

LEARNING FROM PAST MISTAKES

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In Christ, Mark

The scriptures. May God bless the reading of His holy word.

After David had constructed buildings for himself in the City of David, he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. Then David said, “No one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, because the Lord chose them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister before him forever.”

David assembled all Israel in Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the Lord to the place he had prepared for it. He called together the descendants of Aaron and the Levites:

From the descendants of Kohath, Uriel the leader and 120 relatives;
from the descendants of Merari, Asaiah the leader and 220 relatives;
from the descendants of Gershon, Joel the leader and 130 relatives;
from the descendants of Elizaphan, Shemaiah the leader and 200 relatives;
from the descendants of Hebron, Eliel the leader and 80 relatives;
from the descendants of Uzziel, Amminadab the leader and 112 relatives.

Then David summoned Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel and Amminadab the Levites. He said to them, “You are the heads of the Levitical families; you and your fellow Levites are to consecrate yourselves and bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.”

So the priests and Levites consecrated themselves in order to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord.

David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their fellow Levites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals.

So the Levites appointed Heman son of Joel; from his relatives, Asaph son of Berekiah; and from their relatives the Merarites, Ethan son of Kushaiah; and with them their relatives next in rank: Zechariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-Edom and Jeiel, the gatekeepers.

The musicians Heman, Asaph and Ethan were to sound the bronze cymbals; Zechariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah and Benaiah were to play the lyres according to alamoth,  and Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-Edom, Jeiel and Azaziah were to play the harps, directing according to sheminith. Kenaniah the head Levite was in charge of the singing; that was his responsibility because he was skillful at it.

Berekiah and Elkanah were to be doorkeepers for the ark. Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah and Eliezer the priests were to blow trumpets before the ark of God. Obed-Edom and Jehiah were also to be doorkeepers for the ark.

So David and the elders of Israel and the commanders of units of a thousand went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the house of Obed-Edom, with rejoicing. Because God had helped the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord, seven bulls and seven rams were sacrificed. Now David was clothed in a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and as were the musicians, and Kenaniah, who was in charge of the singing of the choirs. David also wore a linen ephod. So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouts, with the sounding of rams’ horns and trumpets, and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps.

As the ark of the covenant of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David dancing and celebrating, she despised him in her heart.

They brought the ark of God and set it inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and they presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before God. After David had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord. Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each Israelite man and woman.

He appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to extol, thank, and praise the Lord, the God of Israel: Asaph was the chief, and next to him in rank were Zechariah, then Jaaziel,  Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-Edom and Jeiel. They were to play the lyres and harps, Asaph was to sound the cymbals, and Benaiah and Jahaziel the priests were to blow the trumpets regularly before the ark of the covenant of God.

1 Chronicles 15 and 16:1-6

This ends this reading from God's holy word. Thanks be to God.

We all make mistakes, that’s just a fact of life. No one is infallible. We all have our share of imperfections.
We can strive for perfection but we do so married to the frustration that we will never be able to reach it.

Maybe our focus shouldn’t be as much on making no mistakes but rather in not repeating the mistakes of the past. If we did, we would follow the lead of David.

For as we look at this scripture passage from the 15th and 16th chapters of 1 Chronicles, we find David having to address a matter that he had already dealt with once. That occurrence had tragic overtones associated with it.

You may remember that matter, the matter of David trying to get the ark of the covenant from the house of Obed-Edom to Jerusalem. The plan wasn’t conceived very well from the start as the ark was loaded on a cart pulled by oxen. When the oxen stumbled and the ark shifted, you’ll remember that a man named Uzzah, touched the ark in an attempt to steady it and in doing so, was struck dead by God.

We learned that Uzzah had broken a command by God to not touch the ark, a command that called for death for anyone violating it. And you’ll recall that a big reason why Uzzah was in that situation to start with was because the ark itself wasn’t being carried in accordance with God’s guidance. One could easily assume that had the ark been carried by the Levites using the prescribed poles, Uzzah would have still been alive.

Yes, there were plenty of errors to go around, plenty of blame to place on people after the first attempted move. But what was done was done. Things had to move on with everyone being a little wiser and for proper processes to be used, not just some of the time but all of the time.

As read about the second try to move the ark, we see that David truly learned from his past gaffe. We know this because of the following:

1. David designated how the ark would be carried and who would carry it.

Then David said, “No one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, because the Lord chose them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister before him forever.”

2. David confesses that not following God’s direction in regard to transporting the ark led to God’s anger raging against them.

It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us.

3. David gets it right the second time.

So the priests and Levites consecrated themselves in order to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord.

David made sure that the Levites did the ark carrying, not a cart or any other means for that matter. Songs of praise were sung along the way and sacrifices were conducted to honor God for His greatness.
The procession was one that paid homage, honor, and praise to God through obedient compliance with divine directives, glorifying Him in every way.

And when the ark reached Jerusalem and was put in place, David and the Israelites worshipped God, presenting burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. David then blessed the people in the name of the Lord for doing everything right in getting the ark to Jerusalem properly and honoring God in the process. This is what happens when the people of God follow His will and way and word. God blesses them for it.

After David doled out blessings upon the people, more worship occurred as some of the Levites were appointed to extol, thank, and praise God with word and music. Indeed, it was a time of celebration and thanks. For first Jerusalem had been rebuilt and reestablished as the city where Israel’s king would reign and then the ark of the covenant, the holy vessel encasing God’s commandments, was returned to its rightful place in the holy city.

Friends, when we learn from our mistakes, we like David and the Israelites should rejoice and be glad, worshipping the Lord in praise and thanksgiving. When we bless Him with our obedience, He blessed us with life and joy and peace and love and blessing to the fullest.

Just another reason why we love and exalt His holy and precious name so very much.

Amen.

In Christ,

Mark

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