The roll call continues.
Jesus is tempted in the desert and then begins his public ministry. He heals, he begins calling his disciples, and some of the religious leaders are already getting their feathers ruffled.
The names of men who had important jobs in the temple.
John the Baptist tells the people to get ready for the coming Messiah. Jesus is baptized.
David begins making preparations for the Temple of the Lord to be built, knowing that it is Solomon who will accomplish the construction.
Nehemiah has a surprising ending and Luke begins with the accounts of the miraculous births of John the Baptist and Jesus.
David and all Israel celebrate the return of the Ark of the Covenant, David gives Israel a song of praise to sing to God, and he offers a prayer of praise when God tells him that He will make a dynasty of David’s house.
As you know, I’ve not been feeling well the past several days, but I am feeling better now. Thanks so much for your prayers.
But even though my health is better, my energy level just isn’t where it should be. I’m am feeling the need to take a break from producing the show.
I’ve produced almost exactly 300 episodes since the last time I took a break. That’s about 60 weeks, with only a day or two’s break for an occasional cold or some such thing. Last summer I took a couple of days to hike in the Sierra, but even then I produced shows in advance so that you wouldn’t be left without fresh episodes.
So, I must admit that my energy level is somewhat depleted and in need of refreshing.
So here is my plan. The Lovely Lady LeeAnn has earned a fairly prestigious award from her employer, and will be taking a trip back to the home office in Charlotte, NC in April to receive it at a big event.
In over 26 years of marriage, we have never taken a long, traveling vacation together. We have been to Hawai’i a couple times, but never anything like what we plan to do in April. We’ll go to Charlotte, after which we will go to a little town she spent part of her childhood in there in NC, then drive up to Washington DC, which she has never seen (and I think every American citizen should go there at least once) and then drive up to NYC.
When I was a boy, my family and I lived in NJ, just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, so I’ve been in NYC many times. But the lovely Lady LeeAnn has never been and has always wanted to go.
So my plan is this.
As I said, I need a break. So I am putting the creation of new episodes on hiatus until the first Monday in May, which is May 2nd.
But I take very seriously my commitment to you that “This is the podcast that helps you achieve consistency in reading the Bible.”
So I am going to be reposting previously published episodes. Reading and listening to the Bible every day is a good habit to be in, and I don’t want to be the reason you fall out of the habit.
I hope that’s ok with you, and that you understand my need for some regenerative time. When I come back on May 2nd, I should be good to go for another long stretch, God willing.
The fact that Jesus rose from the dead is the only thing that makes life worthwhile. If He had not, the future would hold no hope for mankind. If He had not risen, it would mean either there is no God, or we would all be destined for an eternity separated from God. Either way, we would all be facing a grim or non-existent future.
But the fact is that Jesus was resurrected and lives now at the right hand of God the Father.
How do we know that He lives? Because there were more than 500 eyewitnesses who saw him alive after His crucifixion and before He was taken up to heaven forty days later. It is a historic fact. If you don’t believe me, do your own research.
Since He is alive, you and I can live lives of faith, peace and joy knowing that we will one day be with Him. It doesn’t get any better than that, my friend.
Depending on how I feel over the next few days, I might not be putting up shows every day this week. We’ll see how it goes. Just know that if you check your podcast app and there is not a new episode it’s because I just didn’t feel up to it. I’ll be back as soon as I can.
Ok with you?
Because of what God does to Uzzah in chapter 13, I’m going to rerun my comments from episode 328, in which we read of this same event in 2 Samuel chapter 6. If you were with me then, please bear with me and our new listeners. It’s important, I think, to have a better understanding of why God reacted as He did.
Well David is finally king over all Israel. At God’s direction, Samuel had anointed him as the future king when he was a shepherd boy of about 12 or 15 years old. As we read today, he was 30 when God finally put him there. God always keeps his promises, but we never know what his timing will be.
So upon taking the throne, David decides that the Lord’s chest, better known as the Ark of the Covenant, should have a proper home. It had been captured by the Philistines many years before, and then brought back to Israel, where for some time it was in the home of Abinidab.
Now, there are some passages in Scripture that are hard to understand. This is one of them. Scholars have some ideas, but still some people really struggle with the following scene. First I’ll recap what happened then I’ll give some possible explanations.
The Ark is loaded onto an ox-drawn cart to make the trip from Abinidab’s house to David’s City. The two sons of Abinidab, Uzzah and Ahio went with it. Ahio was in the front to lead the oxen, Uzzah was close behind. Something happened that caused the oxen to stumble, which Uzzah evidently thought threatened to cause the Ark to fall, so Uzzah put his hand on the Ark to steady it. God was angry at this, and He stuck Uzzah dead.
It’s hard for a lot of people to understand God’s reaction to Uzzah’s actions here, and we’re told that David became angry at God for doing this.
So what happened? Why did God do this?
Here are the thoughts of scholars.
First off, when God gave His instructions to the Israelites on how they were to build the Ark, he was very clear about the most minute detail, including how it was to be transported and who was allowed to move it and who was allowed to touch it. It was never to be put onto a cart, but it was to be carried by Kohathites only. There were two poles that went through two loops on each side of the Ark, and these poles were to be placed on the Kohathite’s shoulders, bearing the Ark between them.
No one but a priest was to touch the Ark, because the Ark had the very presence of God upon it. Remember, this all happened before the Messiah had come, and only the priests had direct access to God and only priests could perform the sacrifices that could cover the sins of the people. The Ark represented a holy and awesome (in the very real sense of that word) God, and God had made it very clear how it was to be honored, because it was a reflection on how they were to honor God Himself.
So by putting the Ark on the ox drawn cart, they were all guilty of transgressing God’s direct instructions. Why was Uzzah killed?
Touching the Ark was a direct violation of God’s clear instruction. It could be that God saw the condition of Uzzah’s heart, that he didn’t have the proper attitude toward it. It had been in Uzzah’s house, after all for some time, and he might have become indifferent to it. We must not become indifferent to God. He. Is. God. The creator of all that is. The One who gives us life and sustains us.
It could be that Uzzah had a cavalier attitude regarding God’s Word. He didn’t think it was important to sweat the details.
Maybe his reaching out to steady the Ark reflected a lack of faith on Uzzah’s part, that God somehow needed his help.
What we might want to draw from this is that we need to pay attention to what God says, and we should do all we can to be obedient to Him. Yes, He is loving and He is merciful. But He is also Holy, and it is important that we never forget that. It is His holiness and justice that requires payment for sin. It is His love that made a way for me and you to not have to make the payment for our sins. It is His holiness and justice and love that required the sacrifice of His Son in my place and yours. Because of His holy and just nature, he couldn’t just overlook the sin. It had to be dealt with.
I’m thankful that God made a way for me to escape His wrath, and that He has offered that way, that gift, to anyone who will receive it.