THE LESSON OF UZZA
"And David and all Israel played before God with all
their might" (I Chron. 13:8).
"And David was afraid of God" (I Chron. 13:12).
"So David . . . went to bring ... the ark of the covenant
. with joy" (I Chron 16:25).
Right things must be done in a right manner, or they will fail. In this case the failure was sad and signal, for Uzza died, and the ark turned aside to the house of Ohed-edam.
I. THE FAILURE. First Text. I Chron. 13:8.
Here were multitudes. Crowds do not insure blessing.
Here was pomp-singing, harps, trumpets, etc., yet it ended in mourning. Gorgeous ceremonial is no guarantee of grace.
Here was energy: "they played before God with all their might."
This was no dull and sleepy worship, but a bright, lively service, and yet the matter fell through.
There was no sacrifice. This was a fatal flaw; for how can we serve the Lord apart from sacrifice?
II. THE FEAR. Second Text. I Chron. 13:12.
The terrible death of Uzza caused great fear. Thus the Lord slew Nadab and Abibu for offering strange fire; and the men of Bethshemesh for looking into the ark.
His own sense of unworthiness for such holy work made him cry,
"How shall I bring the ark of God home to me?"
Some make the holiness of God and the strictness of His rule an excuse for wicked neglect.
Others are overwhelmed with holy fear; and therefore pause a while, till they are better prepared for the holy service.
III. THE Joy. Third Text. I Chron. 15:25
1. God blessed Obed-edom. Thus may humble souls dwell with God and die not.
2. Preparation was made and thought exercised by David.
3. The mind of the Lord was considered (verse 15).
4. The priests were in their places. Men and methods must both be ruled by God (verse 14).
5. Sacrifices were offered (verse 26). The great and perfect
sacrifice must ever be to the front.
The doing of a duty in a wrong manner alters the nature of it, and makes it sin. Hence "the ploughing of the wicked is sin" (Pray. 21: 4). Hence prayer is accounted a howling upon their beds (Hosea 7:14).
Unworthy communicating is not counted as eating the Lord's supper (I Cor. 11:20). If a house be built of ever so strong timber and good stones, yet if it be not well founded, and rightly built, the inhabitant may curse the day he came under the roof of it.
Duties not performed according to the right order are but the half of the service we owe to God, and the worst half too.—THOMAS BOSTON.
Sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon
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