C. H. Spurgeon
Sermon Notes From Charles Spurgeon
These Notes from Spurgeon, famed for his expository preaching in England at Park St.
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to this day as "the Prince of Preachers," and is arguably the greatest
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29. The Lesson Of Uzza.

And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets." (12) And David was afraid of God that day, saying, how shall I bring the ark of God home to me? (15:25) So David and the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the house of Obed-edom with joy. - I Chronicles 13:8, 12, 15:25.

David loved his God and venerated the symbol of his presence. He desired to restore the Lord's appointed worship, and to place the ark where it should be, as the most sacred center of worship. But right things must be done in a right manner, or they will fail. In this case the failure was sad and signal, for Uzza died, and the ark turned aside to the house of Obed-edom.

I. THE FAILURE. First Text: 1 Chron. 13:8.

Here were multitudes, "David and all Israel," and yet the business came to naught. Crowds do not ensure blessing.

Here was pomp singing, harps, trumpets, etc. yet it ended in mourning. Gorgeous ceremonial is no guarantee of grace.

Here was energy: "they played before God with all their might." This was no dull and sleepy worship, but a bright, lively service, and yet the matter fell through.

But there was no thought as to God's mind. David confessed, "we sought him not after the due order" (1 Chron. 15:13).

There was very little spiritual feeling! More music than grace.

The priests were not in their places, nor the Levites to carry the ark: oxen took the place of willing men. The worship was not sufficiently spiritual and humble.

There was no sacrifice. This was a fatal flaw; for how can we serve the Lord apart from sacrifice?

There was little reverence. We hear little of prayer, but we hear much of oxen, a cart, and the too familiar hand of Uzza.

Now, even a David must keep his place, and the Lord's command must not be supplanted by will-worship. Therefore the Lord made a breach upon Uzza, and David was greatly afraid.

May we not expect similar failures unless we are careful to act obediently, and serve the Lord with holy awe? Are all the observances and practices of our churches scriptural? Are not some of them purely will-worship?

II. THE FEAR. Second Text: 1 Chron. 13:12.

The terrible death of Uzza caused great fear. Thus the Lord slew Nadab and Abihu for offering strange fire; and the men of Beth-shemesh for looking into the ark. The Lord has said,"I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified" (Lev. 10:3).

His own sense of wrong feeling caused this fear in David, for we read, "and David was displeased" (verse 11). We are too apt to be displeased with God because he is displeased with us.

His own sense of unworthiness for such holy work made him cry, "How shall I bring the ark of God home to me?"

His feeling that he failed in that which God expected of his servants created a holy fear. "Sanctify yourselves, that ye may bring up the ark of the Lord God" (1 Chron. 15:12).

He meant well, but he had erred, and so he came to a pause; yet not for long. The ark of God remained with Obed-edom three months, but not more (verse 14).

Some make the holiness of God and the strictness of his rule an excuse for wicked neglect.

Others are overwhelmed with holy fear; and therefore pause a while, till they are better prepared for the holy service.

III. THE JOY. Third Text: 1 Chron. 15:25.

1. God blessed Obed-edom. Thus, may humble souls dwell with God and die not. Those houses which entertain the ark of the Lord shall be well rewarded.

2. Preparation was made and thought exercised by David and his people when a second time they set about moving the ark of the covenant. Read the whole of the chapter.

3. The mind of the Lord was considered: "And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders, with the staves thereof, as Moses commanded, according to the word of the Lord" (verse 15).

4. The priests were in their places: "So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves." Men and methods must both be ruled by God (verse 14).

5. Sacrifices were offered: "And it came to pass, when God helped, the Levites that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, that they offered seven bullocks and seven rams" (verse 26). The great and perfect sacrifice must ever be to the front.

6. Now came the exceeding joy (verse 28).

Do we draw near to God in all holy exercises after this careful, spiritual, reverent fashion?

If so, we may safely exhibit our delight, and our hearts may dance before the Lord as king David did (verse 29).

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