10: Hearts and Home
The new year is upon us and once again I find myself reading God’s word. A few chapters from Genesis is my old testament portion and one chapter from Matthew rounds out my daily diet. I get just as much “nutrition” from Genesis as I do from Matthew. 1 Corinthians 10 tells us that the old testament was written for our instruction, in these days. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but thy were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.
One account in the life of David has been particularly meaningful to me. It is recorded in two places, 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 13 and 15. I will summarize the event for you but it is worth noting that without the Chronicles record the description in 2 Samuel is incomplete.
David has it on his heart to bring the ark to jerusalem. He consults with his leaders, calls for all Israel to join him, places the ark of the covenant on a new cart, and heads for Jerusalem. On the way the oxen stumble, Uzzah touches the ark to steady it and dies. Three months later the ark is carried up to the city with success.
But what happened during those three months? David had been shaken when Uzzah died, as well he should have been. His heart was right. He had received counsel from the other leaders. The ark needed to get to Jerusalem. He was doing the right thing, with the right motives, yet Uzzah had died. The key is in the 2nd and 13th verses of chapter 15.
1 Chronicles 15:2 Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath Jehovah chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever.
1 Chronicles 15:13 For because ye bare it not at the first, Jehovah our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not according to the ordinance. 1
David sought God according to the ordinances. He searched the scriptures to see where he had erred. He had done the right thing but with the wrong method. It was the appointed task of the Levites to carry the ark, not a new cart.The ark carries the truth. In it were the two tablets of the commandments engraved by the finger of God(Deut. 10:1). You can picture this ark, winding it’s way upon the new cart headed to Jerusalem and the streets lined with people watching the procession. Among the onlookers are the Levites.
This is all clear as you read these three chapters of scripture. But what is the admonition for us, today? What does God want us to learn from this account which he had recorded under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? As a parent I want my children to hear and receive the truth. That is the right thing to desire and the right thing to do. In our present Christian culture, the way children learn the truth is predominantly through Sunday school and youth ministry. But young people are leaving the church in record numbers. Between 64% and 94% *of students walk away from their faith within two years of high school graduation.
The biblical account played out today has new characters, but Uzzah still dies. The truth is represented in the ark. The new cart is epitomized by the new methods of reaching youth, Sunday schools and youth ministries. Uzzah’s demise is the spiritual death of our young people. And David exemplifies those of us in our day who are shaken when they see this trend and search the scriptures to see where we have strayed.
David said that the reason for the death of Uzzah was, “Because you did not carry it(the ark) at the first, the LORD our God made an outburst on us, for we did not seek Him according to the ordinance.” When you “seek him according to the ordinances” and look up the word teach, and all of its synonyms in scripture, it is evident that the Levites of old, the ones divinely called to carry the truth, are today’s parents. We have been called to carry the ark. Instead we have stood along the road and let the modern methods and the new carts carry the truth to our children. The new carts of today don’t work any better now than they did then. The fruit is still death. We don’t need better carts, or more training for our cart drivers, or smoother roads. Children don’t need more programs, they need their parents.
How many more Uzzahs have to die before we as parents step up to the ark and fulfill our God ordained role to teach and disciple the next generation? In these last days, God is restoring the hearts of parents to children and vice versa. As parents turn and embrace their God ordained responsibility we will see life instead of death. On a positive note, parents that have emerged from the roadside the percentages mentioned below have been turned completely around.
In faith for more hearts turned in the home,