Monday, September 30, 2013

God Does Not Need Us To Prop Him Up

We've got to stop propping God up and let him protect his own reputation. We are doing him a great disservice by thinking we have to defend him or do anything for him unless we have been assigned the task and are relying on his strength. Is he without power or intellect? As he said to others, do we think his arm is too short?

Do you remember the account of David's first attempt to bring the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem? There is mention in it that God's throne sat between the two angels on the cover of the Ark. This was a very important symbolic thing between God and the nation he had raised up to represent him. It was holy because it belonged to God.

In 1 Chronicles 13 we read that the oxen had stumbled so Uzzah, who was walking beside it, reached out his hand to prevent the Ark from tipping. You would think this was an act of kindness, love, dedication, a natural thing to do. But God killed Uzzah for doing this. There were two problems with Uzzah's actions.

First, he was not a Levite. God was very specific in his instructions concerning the care of the Ark. The responsibility had been given to the Levites and even they were not permitted to touch it. They were given very long poles that went through loops on the Ark. Remember this thing was extremely important and holy; it bore the name of God. (1 Chronicles 13:6) David did wrong in not asking the Lord how he wanted it done. He consulted his military leaders and all of Israel but he did not consult God.

Second, Uzzah gave a bad testimony about the greatness of God. If God could not look after the Ark, protecting it and providing for it, what did that say for God's ability to protect and care for his nation or his governance over all of creation? In that one simple act Uzzah tried to rob God of all the glory due him. God does not need defenders. He does not need anyone to look after him or protect him. He does need our sacrifices and is not dependent on our worship. He is self-sufficient. He has designed the Body of Christ and put a structure in place. He has assigned each person a place with responsibility and he has empowered each to do what needs to be done. But it is his choice. It is by his power.

Praise Jesus for this age of grace in which we live or there would be a lot more Uzzah's being buried. We are terribly guilty of robbing God of his glory. We weaken our testimony about his greatness all the time. Every time we defend him. Every time we try to argue his existence.  Every time we try to be something for which we have not been called. Every time we take on a responsibility that is not ours because it doesn't appear anyone else is around to do it. This isn't our place. We must let God be God, without definition, explanation or defense. God can explain himself. God can defend himself. God will reveal himself. God can provide for himself. God raises up and tears down. We call him Lord for a reason. It is our place to testify and worship because of what he is doing. For us "doers" that is harder than it sounds.

Two chapters over in 1 Chronicles we find David's second attempt to bring in the Ark, but this time he has either read or received instructions on how to do it. This time the Levites knew that it was God who was in charge any they were simply to follow his instructions. Instead of trying to do it on their own, they understood their place, and they were grateful. They made sacrifices to God for doing it through them instead of having the attitude they were doing it for God:

God gave the Levites the strength they needed to carry the chest, and so they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams. (1 Chronicles 15:26)     

Maybe that is too subtle a difference to understand but it is a major difference. We do not use our strength to assist God because he is too weak to do it on his own. Instead, God gives us the strength to complete what he has given us to do. Uzzah was not the chosen instrument and his actions gave a poor testimony as to God's greatness. The Levites were the chosen instrument and God gave them the ability to do it, for which he received the glory; a proper testimony from the instruments of God.

This is why it is vital that we understand who God is, who we are in him and what responsibility has been assigned to us. We have been assigned a place in the Body to serve Jesus. It doesn't matter if we think we are capable or not. God will provide and it will only add to our testimony of his greatness. And please, let God be God. Serve according to his will and take only the actions he has instructed you today. He is holy and all who belong to him are holy.

No comments: