Thursday, February 20

God’s presence rests on us

Scripture: Numbers 7, Psalm 23, Acts 27

Numbers 7:9  But he gave none of the wagons or oxen to the Kohathite division, since they were required to carry the sacred objects of the Tabernacle on their shoulders.

Observation

All of the other Levite clans were given oxen and carts to transport the various parts of the tabernacle.  But the Kohathites, who were responsible for the “sacred objects” (such as the ark of the covenant) were not given a wagon or ox; they were required to carry the sacred objects on their shoulders.

Later, when the Philistines captured the ark in battle, God punished them and they decided to return the ark to the Israelites, sending it back on a new cart pulled by two cows who had never been yoked (1 Samuel 6).  

After David became king, he sought to bring the ark to Jerusalem the same way, using a new cart, perhaps influenced by the Philistine’s success and ignoring God’s instructions.  But when the oxen stumbled, Uzzah reached out to steady the ark and God struck him dead.  David stopped the procession and left the ark with Obed Edom, afraid to go farther.  (2 Samuel 6)  

Later, David tried again.  But this time, the ark was carried on the Levites’ shoulders, as required.  David had done his research! 

Application

Why was it so important that the ark and other sacred objects representing God’s presence be carried on men’s shoulders, rather than on a cart?

My pastor said that God wanted us to know that His presence rests on people, not on machinery.  EM Bounds, writing on prayer, said that God is looking for better men, not better methods.  He places His presence and blessing on people, not processes, strategies, machinery or methods.  That is not to say that those are wrong or don’t matter.  I’d rather have a good machine than a bad one, a good strategy vs. none at all.  But in the end, God works through people. I think Bounds is right: God is looking for better men, not better methods.

2 Chronicles 16:9 The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

Prayer: Lord, thanks for the reminder that what I really need is not just better methods, but to be a better man—a man whose heart is fully Yours, a man on whom Your presence rests.