1 Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.
2 And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims.
3 And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart.
4 And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark.
5 And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals.
6 And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it.
7 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God. 2 Sam. 6:1-7
The storms of life have taken a heavy toll on this blog, and I have been able to write only intermittently. In the interim, though, the Lord has been teaching me an incredibly valuable lesson which, interestingly, has given me immense peace in the middle of the storm. The lesson that God has taught me is that He is pleased only when we trust in and depend on His strength alone. And this, probably, is the most important lesson we need to learn in our relationship with God.
But trusting in God also goes with seeing in the Spirit. In all likelihood, what probably saved Ahio was because he “went before the ark”. He therefore did not see what was about to happen with the ark, as Uzzah did. When we see things with our human eyes, we react accordingly – with our human strength, and with our human wisdom; and this displeases the Lord greatly. It displeases God because it has no value in the Spirit and, in effect it goes against God’s purposes.
We can never claim to know how God works until we are fully in the Spirit (But this has a price to it). Sometimes God destroys in order to build. This idea is alien, indeed unacceptable, to us in us in our human state.
It is infinitely better to have a very little of what God has done than to have much of our what comes from own strength or effort. But that requires us to see God’s plan in the Spirit. That is why the Apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian church, that their inner eyes would be opened to see things in the Spirit. When we see things in the Spirit, we will not do anything on our own. On the contrary, we will depend on God’s work in us to bring out the real works of God in us.
That is why, despite all the work that Paul wrought in his ministry, yet he wrote:
“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (1 Cor. 15:10)
Paul credits all his work to the grace of God. He did nothing on his own. It was the grace of God working in him.
This therefore brings us to the need for an understanding of the revelation of the cross in our lives. In other words, when God opens our inner eyes, we realize that the only work acceptable to God is His work in us! Our work on the outside should be a consequence of His work in us! It is when we have allowed God to work in us that He can allow us to go on and do anything that pleases Him. And, pray, how does God work in us?
God is the Potter. He works in us through the cross.
Most believers think that just because Jesus is being mentioned in a sermon, then that must be the gospel. But no. There are so many gospels being preached and, believe it, it is not Jesus being preached even though His Name is mentioned throughout. The Apostle Paul sets a difference between the gospel of Jesus Christ – the revelation of the cross – and all other ‘gospels’. In his classic rendition in 1 Cor. 1:22-24, he writes:
“22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”
Notice the word “But” there. Cut out everything else and read,
“But we preach Christ crucified”.
What would you rather hear preached? Is it what the early apostles preached, or is it what anybody else is preaching? That is a choice we have to make.
But it is clear from the scriptures that the gospel of the cross is the only gospel for the church. Any other gospel is certainly not for us. The gospel of the cross is the only gospel where the grace of God, not of works of man, is available. Grace comes into our lives when we have crucified the flesh. But as long as we fail to grasp this revelation and therefore fail to crucify our flesh, we cannot preach the right gospel – and we cannot do things right in the Spirit. We will always do that which displeases God.