Sermon:  God vs. The Rabbits Foot   

Summary: The history of the Ark from the time of the judges to the time of David 
demonstrates that God desires that his people treat him as holy, which means treating 
him with the utmost honor in following his principles and precepts, not in trying to 
treat him as a commodity we can use or even manipulate for our own benefit.

Know:  God is holy, therefore we treat him as holy, not as a talisman or Santa Claus, 
but as God whom we love, submit to, and honor.

Feel:  Reverence for God with a desire to honor him.

Do:  Reflect on how we pray to God and what it reflects on how we think of God.  
Identify ways in your life that you honor God, and ways that you do not honor God.  
List the challenges you face in honoring God through honoring his precepts and 
principles, and some possible ways to improve.

Text:  2 Sam 6:1-15

Scripture Reading:

1.  Have you ever experienced an overreaction before?
	a.  At Dominoes, came in from delivery, boss was really mad
	b.  Pizza messed up, he threw it on the floor!  (We could have eaten it)
	c.  Learned was more to it, it was a repeated mess up by the same person
	d.  I wouldn't have reacted that way, but it was understandable
2.  Looking at a text that some have thought to be an extreme reaction
	a.  (2 Sam 6:1-8) - Uzzah was struck dead
	b.  Doesn't the reaction seem extreme?
		- This was the Ark of God, called by the Name or Yahweh
		- He is enthroned above the Cherubim
		- All Uzzah was trying to do was keep it from falling in the dirt
		- What a dishonor for that to have happened
	c.  Why did God react in the way he did?
		- 2 Sam 6:7 - God struck him down for his irreverence
		- Implies that God demands to be treated as holy, with honor
	d.  Was it only Uzzah that had not treated God as holy?
		- Footnote on "his" says it is "the" irreverence
		- Implies irreverence was more than just Uzzah's
3.  This lesson is about what it means to serve a holy God with honor
	a.  In order to understand this story, we need to look at the context
	b.  Starts all the way back in the early days of Israel
	c.  Will find that "the irreverence" has a long history...

I.  Early history of the Ark in the promised land - "God on a Cart"
	A.  Priests, ark, and tabernacle came into the land and settled at Shiloh
		1.  For a long time, the Ark was at Shiloh
		2.  Sons of Eli not honoring God, serving themselves, Eli did 
		3.  Man of God spoke words of the Lord (1 Sam 2:27-32)
			a.  Why do you kick at my sacrifice and offering?
			b.  Why do you honor your sons above me? 
			c.  Those who honor me I will honor
			d.  I will destroy your line and the sanctuary
		4.  We see all kinds of irreverence here
	B.  Philistines attacked Israel, Israel lost, 4,000 were killed
		1.  (1 Sam 4:3-10) - Decided to go and get their powerful weapon
			a.  Brought the Ark of the Lord of Hosts who sits above the 
			     cherubim from Shiloh to go before them
			b.  Ark was attended by wicked sons of Eli and Eli
		2.  Great shout when Ark arrived
			a.  Israel was encouraged and brave now
			b.  Was like a great rallying victory cry
			c.  Now nothing could defeat them
			d.  Wasn't this irreverent?  
				- Priests had been dishonoring God
				- They treat Ark like a lucky charm
				- Think of it as something they can use as a weapon
				- Was that treating God as holy, or as a commodity?
		3.  Philistines knew that God had come into the camp
			a.  Afraid, "Who can deliver us from these mighty gods?"
			b.  Said, "These were gods who smote Egypt with plagues"
			c.  Said, "Take courage, be men, fight!"
			d.  Philistines defeated Israel, 30,000 Israelites died
		4.  (2 Sam 4:11) - The Ark of God was captured!
			a.  Sons of Eli were killed, Eli fell at the news and died
			b.  How could this happen?  Is God that weak? Defeated?
			c.  He is now in the hands of the enemy
			d.  Now they have the power right?
	C.  God displays his power among the Philistines
		1.  They set the Ark up in the temple of Dagon in Ashdod
			a.  Wanted to add Yahweh's strength to their own
			b.  Following morning, Dagon has fallen flat on his face
				- Hmmm, or Dagon is bowing before Yahweh
				- Who is exalted, who is humble here?
			c.  People had to prop their god back up
			d.  Following morning, Dagon has fallen again, and is broke
				- Pagans just don't know how to handle their gods?
				- Maybe need to use super glue, prop them up better
				- As God displayed his power of Egypt and its gods, 
  				  God does so among Philistines as well
				- All the kings horses and men not put Dagon together
		2.  God smote Ashdod with plague of tumors
			a.  Ashdodites recognized what God was doing
			b.  Said, "Ark of the God of Israel can't stay here, his had is 
			     severe on us and on our god Dagon"
			c.  So, they decided to send the ark to Gath
		3.  God smote Gath with plagues as well
			a.  Men of Gath couldn't stand up to Yahweh
			b.  They decided to send the Ark to Ekron
		4.  Ekronites saw the Ark coming, and cried out in fear
			a.  Said, "They have brought the Ark of the God of Israel 
			     around to us to kill us and our people!"
			b.  Decided to send it back to Israel away from them
	D.  1 Sam 6 - Ark comes home!
		1.  Sent the Ark back on a new cart to Beth Shemesh
			a.  Text not say, but Ark probably on cart ever since it was 
			      captured by the Philistines
			b.  Now they put it on a new cart and send it back
			c.  Comes to Beth-Shemesh in Israel, they are glad to see it
		2.  (2 Sam 6:19-21) - God struck down 50,070 men
			a.  That would be like all of Leavenworth and Lansing
			b.  People of Beth-Shemesh send Ark away
			c.  Treated the Ark just like the Philistines did
		3.  Send Ark to Kiriath-Jearim to Abinadab's house
			a.  It stays there a long time
			b.  Ark was separated from Tabernacle, God's "house"
			c.  All through reign of Saul, it was neglected
				- No mention of the Ark during Saul's reign
				- Does not occupy a central place in Israelite life
				- In fact, it occupied no place in Israelite life
				- 1 Chr 13:3 - Says that they did not seek it in the 
				   days of Saul
			d.  Irreverence piled on top of irreverence
		4. Fast forward a whole generation
			a.  Now we are in the time when David is King
				- Fast forward through the leadership of Samuel
				- Fast forward through the kingship of Saul
				- Now David is King, things are about to change
			b.  David man after God's own heart, wants Ark close 
				- Lot more details in Chronicles
				- David institutes what amounts to a reform
				- Will organize worship around the sanctuary
			c.  David moves the ark to Jerusalem - 2 Sam 6
				- He puts Ark on a new cart
				- Procession of 30,000 choice men
				- Uzzah steadies the Ark and is struck dead
			d.  What can we learn from all this?

II.  Lesson:  We are to honor God as holy
	A.  It means recognizing that God is not something to be "used"
	B.  Were they really trying to use God?
		1.  Both Philistines and Israel treated him the same way
			a.  To the Philistines, Ark was a war trophy
			b.  To Israel, it was nothing more than secret weapon
		2.  Ark of the Covenant was where God symbolically dwelt
			a.  Ark of the covenant of Yahweh
			b.  Called by the name of Yawheh, Lord of Hosts
			c.  Sits enthroned above the cherubim
		3.  Not a weapon, not a trophy, not sometime to used like a charm, 
		     spell, incantation, talisman
		4.  To tread God as that way was irreverent
	C.  ILL:  Many, many people have talismans of one sort or another
		1.  Think there are special powers if do the right thing
		2.  Rub the lamp, genie will grant me what I want
		3.  May not be something like that, but it may be something else
		4.  God does not work that way
	D.  If you are not treating God as holy in all of life, then 
		1.  Wearing a cross will not defeat evil any more than marching out 
		     the Ark of the Covenant in front of us
		2.  Saying the Lord's Prayer as some sort of spell or incantation will 
		     not have any effect at all
		3.  Placing an unopened Bible in a prominent place in your house 
		     will not in itself bring any sort of blessing to your house
		4.  *God is not a talisman, but is to be honored as holy...

III.  Honoring God as holy means submission
	A.  That lesson comes out clearly here
	B.  Look at what happens
		1.  David put together a procession of 30,000 chosen men
			a.  1 Chr 13:1 indicates this was a military procession
			b.  But God had instructed that those who minister to him in 
			     the sanctuary and the Ark were to be priests, Levites
		2.  Uzzah touched the Ark 
			a.  According to God's design, no one was to touch it
			b.  As we will see, it is much more than this 
		3.  Putting the Ark on a Cart
			a.  God gave explicit instructions on how to carry it
				- Rings on the corner of the Ark for poles
				- Levites were to carry it on poles
				- If had done that, not problem with a cart tipping
			b.  There is also the indignity of the cart
				- Master is not in the cart, what is in the cart?
				- Eggs, furniture, hay, possessions
				- You carry what you will USE
				- You don't carry dignitaries on a cart
			c.  Different on poles
				- Carry dignitaries on poles - elevated above others
				- Those carrying poles are servants
				- One on the poles is the master
				- Like riding a horse - Rider is the master
	C.  Many of you own things similar to a cart, wheelbarrow or pickup truck.
		1.  What do you carry in the bed of the truck?
			a. Lumber, auto parts, junk, furniture, commodities
			b.  If going to airport to pick up a VIP, do you put into bed?
			c.  They don't get the truck, but the limo.
		2.  So, not only was the cart disobedient, it was also undignified
		3.  It treated God as a common commodity, something to use
	D.  This all could have been avoided
		1.  1 Chr 15:13 - David realized that they didn't inquire of God 
		    according to the ordinance
		2.  God had given explicit instructions on how to do this
		3.  If they had followed them, would have avoided this
		4.  Second attempt was successful

IV.  Submission is obedience to principle and precept
	A.  The second attempt to bring the Ark was successful (2 Sam 6:9-15)
	B.  Why was it successful? 1 Chr 15 gives more detail
		1.  (1 Chr 15:2) - Only the Levites carried the Ark
		2.  (1 Chr 15:4) - Procession was now a priestly one, not military
		3.  They were honoring God in principle and precept
			a.  Precept - Like speed limit sign
				- 35 mph - That's a precept
				- Explicit, means 35 mph, not 36
				- 35 mph in the morning, evening, night
			b.  Principle - "Drive Carefully"  
				- Drive carefully can mean different things
				- It one thing to drive carefully in city during rush hour
				- Another thing to drive carefully on deserted road
				- Principle is to be applied with wisdom
		4.  Submission means honoring God in both precept and principle
			a.  Precept - These are explicit instructions 
				- Levites are to carry the Ark on Poles = Precept
					- This was obeying his precept
				- Repent & be baptized = precept
				- Do not commit adultery = precept
			b.  Principle - 
				- God is worthy of honor  = principle
					- Carrying God on poles was honoring him
				- Beware of Satan's schemes = principle
	C.  Result is great joy
		1.  Final scene in the chapter is David dancing about with all his 
		2.  Treating God with honor was not a drudgery, but the greatest joy 
		3.  God can make your heart dance too

1.  First step is submission (inv)
2.  If you are a Christian, remember that God desires you to treat him as holy 
     with honor
	a.  Means recognizing he is God, not a wish granter, talisman, lucky 
	b.  Means recognizing he has precepts and principles
3.  God is worthy of our honor, respect, loyalty, and love.  Will you give it to him today?


Small Group Notes:  God vs. The Rabbits Foot

Summary: The history of the Ark from the time of the judges to the time of David demonstrates 
that God desires that his people treat him as holy, which means treating him with the utmost 
honor in following his principles and precepts, not in trying to treat him as a commodity we 
can use or even manipulate for our own benefit.

Text:  2 Sam 6

- What was the most memorable celebration you have ever attended?


1.  What was the occasion of the celebration in this text?  Reflect - Why was it a cause for 

2.  Why did God react in the way he did?  What was wrong with what they did?

3.  Does this seem like an extreme overreaction?  Why or why not?  Might there be more than 
meets the eye in this text that would offer more information? (You may want to browse 1 Sam 
4-6 for more background)

4.  What was different about David's second attempt to transport the ark?  (compare to 1 Chr 15, 
which offers more information).  

5.  What does this reveal was wrong with the people's attitude and approach to God?   


6.  What does this story teach you about your relationship with God?  What should be your approach 
and attitude toward God?  

7.  Identify some ways that you honor God in your prayer life daily life and some ways that you 
might forget to honor God in your life.

8.  What do you feel good about in your relationship to God right now?  What do you feel needs