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How to Carry the Presence of God

King David wants to move the Ark of the Presence, which bears the Name of the LORD, to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 13:6)

It’s at the home of Abinadab…

Abinadab means ‘Willingness’

So the story of transporting the Ark begins with ‘willingness.’ Being willing to host the presence of God. As we enter 2021, are you willing?

Abinadab is father to Uzzah and Ahio (2 Samuel 6:3)

Uzzah means ‘Strength’ and Ahio means ‘Brother’ or ‘Brethren’

They decide to put the Ark on a new cart transported by oxen. When the oxen stumble, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the Ark and is struck dead as a consequence.

The place the oxen stumble is at the threshing floor of Nicon, which means ‘prepared’ as in; arranged, set in order, made ready…but also, established, beaten, smitten, afflicted and stricken!

We are prepared through affliction. His power is made perfect in our weakness. As the apostle Paul writes, ‘God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.’

The Ark should have been carried on wooden poles on the backs of Levites, not on beasts of burden. They prepared to carry the presence of God in the wrong way using man-made methods and not Gods…

Uzzah stepped out in his own strength. The LORD burst out against Uzzah which means strength. David named the place Perez-uzzah which means “to burst out against Uzzah” which could read, ‘to burst out against human strength’

David was now afraid of the LORD. As a result, David decided not to move the ark to Jerusalem at that time. Instead, he took the Ark to the House of Obed-edom where it remained for 3 months, and the LORD blessed Obed-edom and his entire household during that time…

King David was told, “The LORD has blessed Obed-edom’s household and everything he has because of the Ark of God”

Obed-edom means ‘The servant who honors God in the right way’

Obed-edom was a Kohathite and one of his descendants wrote a psalm in which a line of the song says; ‘what joy for those whose strength comes from the LORD!’

Where does our strength come from? Do we honor God in the right way?

It had been over 400 years since the commandments were written on how to transport the Ark of Presence from one place to another, and yet, God still required his orders to be carried out in exactly the way He had specified.

One must do what God has commanded, the way God has commanded

The Ark of the Presence of God had 3 items placed within it – the pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded and the tablets of the covenant.

There is an interesting connection between the episode with Uzzah and Obed-edom and Simon of Cyrene

Simon of Cyrene was compelled to carry the cross of Jesus for him

Simon means ‘hearkening’ or ‘listening’

Cyrene means ‘supreme power,’ ‘wall of strength’, ‘supremacy of the bridle’

This can teach us something of what it means to be prepared to carry the presence of God…

Supreme power was brought low as the cross was carried on Simon’s back. As we saw earlier, The Ark should have been carried on poles by humans just as the cross was carried on the back of Simon of Cyrene

The story of Simon of Cyrene and the 3 items of the presence, draws my attention to 3 passages of scripture in the New Testament; Mark 16:24-26, James 3:3 and John 15:5-10

‘Then Jesus told his disciples, “if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?‘ -Mark 16:24-26

Disciples of Jesus are called to carry the presence of God and that begins by our willingness to pick up our cross and follow Him. However,

‘We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to control his whole body. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can guide the whole animal’ – James 3:2-3

Like the oxen in the story of Uzzah, we all stumble. But, our whole body can be made to obey God by allowing Him to control our tongue.

Speaking in tongues is one way of letting the Spirit control our mouths and can therefore bring our whole being into obedience to God. As we speak in tongues we speak mysteries and draw out those things that are hidden as deep cries out to deep. Life and death are found in the power of the tongue. What we say matters. By giving God control of our tongue, He is able to steer our whole life.

Jesus says, ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and wither. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in his love’ -John 15:5-10

Just as the Rod of Aaron budded indicating divine blessing and fruitfulness, so too will our lives produce abundant fruit as we remain in His presence…

We carry the presence of God as we willingly surrender to Christ in the right way. We pick up our cross and follow Him, allow Him to steer our life by yielding our tongue to Him and abide in Him letting his Words abide in us and speaking from that place in that way the law is written on our hearts as we speak mysteries manna is revealed and our life becomes fruitful in every good work

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Peter J. Farmer

Peter J. Farmer is a church planter working with teams and networks to catalyze new forms of church that murmurate into movements...

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