Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Good Intentions Never Justify Bad Actions

The anger of the Lord burned against Uzza, so He struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark; and he died there before God.  (I Chronicles 13:10 NASB).

Good Intentions
            David had great and noble plans.  His intent was to show honor to God by showing respect for His ark, the sign of God’s presence.  He purposed to bring the ark back to Israel and make Jerusalem not only a royal but also a holy city.  He desired to know God’s will in this matter and conferred with his leaders.  He acted not as an autocrat but as an inclusive and wise leader.  Joy pervaded the celebratory journey toward Jerusalem as they worshiped the Lord with various types of instruments.  Yet in the midst of this happy occasion God struck down Uzza,  one of the leaders of the processional.

Bad Actions 
            Israel had been clearly instructed concerning transporting the ark.  “No one is to carry the ark of God but the Levites; for the Lord chose them to carry the ark of God and to minister to Him forever” (I Chronicles 15:2 NASB).  Only the Levites were permitted to carry the ark, which was suspended on poles, as no human hand was to touch it.  David had the ark placed on an oxen drawn cart with Ahio and Uzza driving the cart.  The oxen stumbled and Uzza reached out to steady the ark.  This act of irreverence cost Uzza his life.  Disobedience always produces disaster.  The Spirit of God never leads us contrary to the Word of God.  Direction from God must always involve a balance of the two.  Jesus ministered in spirit and truth.  Someone once said that all Word dries you up.  All Spirit blows you up.  Spirit and the Word grow you up.  Israel was in the spirit (small s), the emotion of the moment, but not in the will of God.  Feeling good is not enough.  The yardstick of God’s Word must always measure our actions.

God’s Work God’s Way
            In the time of Eli the Prophet the Philistines captured the ark. They moved the ark by placing it on a cart being pulled by cows.  It never works to try and do the work of God in the ways of the world.   David learned that day that it is possible to be caught up in worship that seems to lead you heavenward, but at the same time pursue actions that bring hellish results.  David in I Chronicles 15: 13b when speaking about his failure in this matter says; We failed to ask God how to move it properly.  It's important to God not only what we do for Him but also, how we do it.

Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Moses: A Servant Leader

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go up to this mountain of Abarim, and see the land which I have given to the sons of Israel. 13 When you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother was; (Numbers 27:12-13 NASB).

The Consequences of Disobedience
            Moses was instructed by the Lord to go up on the mountain to view the Promised Land.  His disobedience at the waters of Meribah in the wilderness of Zin will disallowed his entrance into Canaan with Israel.  As he looked out across the land that God had promised to Israel, he must have been tempted to muse on thoughts of the past.  He may have remembered the grumbling of God’s people and how he had to plead with the Lord not to destroy them.  He could have reminisced on how Aaron and Miriam resisted his leadership and God’s authority and how he had forgiven them and prayed for their restoration.   There were so many times that he had put others first to the detriment of himself; yet now, he will not permitted to cross the Jordan with them.  How would you and I have responded to God’s discipline?  Probably not like Moses did.

The Servant Leader
            Then Moses spoke to the Lord, saying, 16 “May the Lord, the God
              of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation,
              17 who will go out and come in before them, and who will
              lead them out and bring them in, so that the congregation
              of the Lord will not be like sheep which have no shepherd.”
              (Numbers 27:15-17 NASB)
In the midst of what should have been the disappointment of being excluded from the triumphal entry, we see Moses still focused on God’s purposes and the good of his people.  He was actively seeking to see the promise fulfilled even though it will be not be consummated through him, but through his understudy, Joshua.  It was not about him, but about God’s designs and plans.
            From that mountaintop, as Moses gazed out over this good land, in the eye of faith he may have seen Joshua doing great exploits for God.  Based on his response in verses 16 and 17, Moses must have said in his heart, thank you Lord because it is not about me, but You. This is the expression that must reverberate in the hearts of all servant leaders.
Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Life Without Road Signs: The Absurdity of Relativism

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, (John 13:3 NASB)

            In the aftermath of the tragic tornado in Moore, Oklahoma on May 20th, 2013 a reporter made an interesting observation.  He alluded to the fact that after taking care of the injured and finding the ones that were killed, the first order of business was to erect street signs.  He commented that without street signs no one knows where you are or where you need to go. We live in a world that is increasingly asking us to live without road signs.

Jesus Christ, Our Road Sign
            In the scriptural reference above Jesus knew who He was, where he came from and where he was going.  Jesus did not need reference points to navigate life, other than the will of His Father.  Jesus is revealed in the scriptures as the way to truth and our only reference point to successfully navigate life.  Unfortunately, many are now telling us that there is no such thing as absolute truth.  The rise of relativism has indoctrinated this generation with belief that there are no absolute truths i.e., that truth is always relative to some frame of reference such as culture or other things too numerous to mention.  The belief that there are reasonable, rational and unchanging guidelines instituted by God has been hijacked and taken hostage by relativistic thought.

The Absurdity of Relativism
            You have probably heard of the university professor who was lecturing on relativism.  He started out with the statement, “there is not such thing as absolute truth.”  An inquisitive young student sitting the back row, with a twinkle in his eyes, asked, “are you absolutely sure?”  Challenge relativists and watch how absolutely sure they become in there being no absolutes.
            I once heard Ravi Zacharias tell a story that is an apt description of relativism.   A person who worked in a factory would walk past a clock shop and stop and adjust his watch every day.  One day the clock shop owner asked him why he did this.  The man said that he was in charge of blowing the four o’clock whistle at the factory.  He was ashamed to admit that his watch did not keep very good time.  The shopkeeper replied that he hated to let him know, but his clock in the clock shop did not work very well either.  He adjusted his clock every day according to the four o’clock whistle at the factory.
            Making ourselves or someone else our reference point is like a fox chasing its own tail.  It is an exercise in futility.  We can take one of two paths.  We can live without any road signs, which will lead to frustration, disillusionment, and ultimately anarchy.  Or we can embrace the guidelines set forth by the Creator of the universe, which will foster peace and living in harmony with others and ourselves.  You tell me which path is the intelligent and rational choice?
Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing