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This chapter relates to us the circumstance of David's fetching the Ark of God from Kirjath-jearim: the death of Uzzah, for his presumption on that occasion; in consequence of which, the Ark is left at the house of Obed-edom.
There is so much sameness in the account here given, concerning the removal of the ark from Kirjath-jearim to what we read of it in the 2d book of Samuel, that I shall not enlarge upon the observations, but refer the Reader to that subject already reviewed. See 2 Samuel 6:1-11 , and the Commentary and Reflections upon it. No doubt David meant well, respecting the removal of the ark, but he should first have consulted the Lord before he consulted his captains. After we have been at a throne of grace we may confer with men. Means are to be made use of, when we are looking to the God of the means, to bless them. There is one feature marked in David's conduct upon this occasion, that merits our notice. Though he was king, and a great king, yet he condescends to call his subjects brethren. Let us send abroad unto our brethren (says he) everywhere. Can I read this account, dearest Jesus, and not recollect thine unequalled condescension? Thou art indeed King, and a Great King, even Lord of heaven and earth, and yet thou art not ashamed to call thy redeemed ones, brethren. Oh! thou beloved, precious, condescending Saviour! By what name shall I call thee to testify how endeared thou art to all thy people? A brother, indeed, born for adversity, and one that loveth at all times, that sticketh closer than a brother. Hail! thou first-born of many brethren!
Observe how far the people came, in order to be present at this solemnity. The river of Egypt was the remotest southern part, and Hemath the furthest north. Reader, it is no wonder that pious Israelites, who by faith viewed the ark as a type of the ever blessed Jesus, should come thus far. But, if the believing Israelites felt their minds constrained to take such extensive journeys to see the type, oh! how inexcusable will those be, who have the substance in the gospel, if they neglect so great salvation. Dearest Jesus! let it be my happiness to pursue thee in a preached gospel, anywhere and everywhere; so as I may but see the king in his beauty. Oh! how precious that ordinance where Jesus may be found.
Is it not astonishing in the very first view of things, that David, and all his wise men, should have so far forgotten the Lord's commands concerning the ark, as to attempt the removing it this way. Was it because the Philistines had made use of a cart to put the ark upon, that Israel should do the same, when the Lord had specially commanded the sons of Kohath to bear upon their shoulders the holy things! Numbers 7:9 .
This awful breach upon Uzzah, holds forth a solemn lesson. All approaches to God must be done with an holy awe and reverence. Though we have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, yet that boldness, it should be remembered, is not in us, but Jesus. / will be sanctified (saith God) in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. Leviticus 10:3 .
I should pause here to remark the unsuitableness of David's behavior on this occasion, were I not called away to admire still more the wonderful graciousness of the Lord to him in his forbearance. Because the Lord smote Uzzah for his presumption and spared David, was this a cause of displeasure. Would it not have been more suitable in the king to have thrown himself, and commanded all the people to have followed his example, upon the earth before the Lord; and humbly, like Job, if he knew not the cause, to have said, Show me, and that which I see not, teach thou me: and if I have done iniquity, I will do so no more. See a beautiful view of Job on this grand point. Job 10:2 . See also another of the like kind in Elihu: Job 34:31-32 . and Job again, Job 9:11-21 . Pray, Reader, turn to those important passages.
One false step generally leads to another. Had David asked counsel of God, so far from leaving the ark behind, because of this breach, he would have found it profitable to have brought it home with him. Reader! if a poor sinner such as you and I, commit an error, oh, how relieving to the soul is it to have Jesus near? How precious that scripture, Ye are come to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling. Hebrews 12:24
What a happy house was Obed-edom's made, because of the ark. Think, Reader what happiness and blessedness is in that family, that house, that heart, where Jesus dwells. Oh! Lord Jesus! come and dwell in my heart, my house, my family, and all will be blessed indeed.
BEHOLD, my soul, in the perusal of this Chapter, how precious the ark of God was in the sight of all Israel, and learn from hence how infinitely precious he whom that ark represented ought to be to all his people.
Learn, moreover, how vastly interesting to have his presence brought home to the soul, that Jesus may be formed in the soul the hope of glory. But learn, moreover, with what reverence and godly fear the Lord is to be approached in holy seasons of ordinances. In the instance of Uzzah I would have my whole heart impressed with a deep sense that a trifling frame of mind, or an unbecoming confidence of spirit, is no part of the liberty belonging to the gospel of Jesus. Never, my soul, I charge - thee, never dare go to any holy ordinances, as the unthinking horse rusheth to the battle. But Lord, grant me that preparation of the heart, and that answer of the tongue, which are both of thine own giving.
Learn, my soul, from the conduct of David on this occasion, how to be humbled under his Almighty hand, and never dare to be displeased with God, when at any time his providences seem to intimate his displeasure with thee. But let me love the hand that smites, from a conviction that it is from love his chastisements came. And chiefly, and above all, let me have grace to behold in the blessing of Obed-edom's house for the ark of God's sake, how highly interesting it must be to fetch home Jesus from every ordinance, every event, every Providence, in his word, and by his grace, to my house, my family, my heart. There, blessed Jesus, do thou take the full, the entire possession. Drive out all other things, all the buyers and sellers out of thy temple, and reign there, and rule there, the lord and sovereign of every affection.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 13". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13