March 8, 2018

Handle with Care

By: Larry Shaffer

In 1991 I took my First Pres, Macon, GA youth group to Jamaica to build a church way out in the jungle. Jamaica is a poor country. (Don’t be fooled by the vacation resorts). But the Christian are warm and loving people. We stayed in the dormitory of school (see the pictures) and traveled each morning way back into the jungle. You may have to click on the “blog” link and scroll down to see the entire double picture.

2 Samuel 6

There are a couple of interesting events that take place in this chapter. Both of which, I admit, the meaning I’m not completely clear about. I don’t write these devotions to tell you what I know and give the impression that I am a wonderful Bible scholar.  Instead, this is part of my journey to seek God’s purposes in these passages. I try not to skip over the passages that aren’t clear to me. The struggle is part of my discovery and growth. Hopefully you are willing to do the same in your Bible study. 

The foolishness of Saul

Anyway, the ark of God was a golden box created in the era of Moses during the 40 years of wandering in the desert. It contained the stone tablets from Sinai and represented the glorious reputation of God and the gracious presence of the Lord in Israel. There were very strict instructions about the treatment of the Ark and how to transport it. It also served as the mercy seat where God’s leaders were to go and seek God’s guidance. In I Samuel, under the rule of Saul, the elders took the ark into battle with them as a lucky charm. It didn’t work. It didn’t work because it’s not a lucky charm. The Philistines won the battle and took the ark. This was in many respects the low point of Israel in history. This is the event that triggered the phrase, “the glory of the Lord has departed.” (The story of David is the story of God rebuilding Israel into a nation that brings Him glory. It’s the story of David but really the story of God and how he uses his chosen servants to accomplish His purposes). Eventually, the Philistines returned the ark to Saul and Saul parked it somewhere and basically ignored it.  Saul didn’t seek God for the balance of his reign.

 

In this chapter, appropriately so, David wanted to bring the Ark to Jerusalem and give it the proper place it deserves. But it seems that the people were out of practice when it comes to handling the Ark, symbolizing the presence of a God, and lax in their treatment of it. There were very strict rules in transporting the ark and it appears the appropriate reverence and fear of the Lord was not among the people. The attention to the clearly documented rules of transportation were not followed. The results were deadly. More on this tomorrow. Lord, I’m reminded that my life, in many ways, reflects the history of Israel. Like the times of Saul, I have had times when I’ve been far from you, seeking my own future and limited in my seeking of You. May the years ahead of me be filled with honoring You and seeking You above all else! Amen