1 Samuel 4:11, 1 Chronicles 13:1-14, 2 Samuel 6:6, 12-15
Stumble means a fall, trip or substantial misstep, an error or blunder.
A. Enjoying old glory! I Chronicles 13: 3
As we begin to look into 1 Chronicles 13:1-14 there is a very compelling statement found in I Chronicles 13: 3. That one sentence tells us that the nation of Israel did not seek the ark during the days of Saul. From the time that it was lost in battle until David decided to pursue the presence of God most commentaries believe it was approximately 20 years. It is an indictment against the entire nation. This means the glory and tangible presence of God was absent for 20 years and no one missed it. It was out of sight and out of mind. They continued to conduct business as usual.
Saul didn’t pursue the ark but he continued to be king. He continued to live in the opulence of the palace. He continued to be surrounded by blessings. Saul’s life teaches us that you can experience the anointing of God’s Spirit, you can be called out and chosen and then you can get away from that presence and reality and continue to live a blessed life and a satisfying life.
You can live your life like everything is perfect. However, you have to examine your life because you can make it without pursuing the ark and be blessed, but you can’t stay there. There will be a day when the blessings will end if there is no presence of God to sustain it.
By the way David reveals that it takes everyone to bring the glory back! Even the king can’t bring it back by himself. It is a joint effort! It requires teamwork and corporate desire.
B. Applause doesn’t equal approval. I Chronicles 13: 8
David hasn’t sought the mind of God. He is just doing what he wants to do the way he wants to do it. All the time the cart is carrying the ark. The Word says the people were celebrating, dancing, singing, playing instruments, and slapping each other on the back. However, just because everyone was excited and clapped didn’t mean that everything was okay or in order.
Just because everyone is slapping you on the back, clapping for you and telling you that you are the best Christian they know doesn’t mean that everything is in order. Some of you believe the hype and you mistake man’s approval for God’s. A lot of the time all the applause means is that someone has learned to play the game and that they haven’t got to a stumbling point yet! Applause speaks to talent. Approval goes deep to character!
C. Easy doesn’t equal right! I Chronicles 13: 7
David took the path of least resistance. He did what was easy. It had worked for others! A cart must be okay because it worked for them! However, easy doesn’t equal right!
Too many of us do the same thing. We see others live a certain way and it works so we just buy in without even checking to see if it is right. They lived together and then got married and it worked out okay. It must be right. They didn’t pay tithes and they seemed to prosper. It may be easy to avoid confrontation, but that doesn’t make it right. Walking upright isn’t always easy.
Time after time in the Old Testament, when describing Kings that were blessed by God, Scripture says they did what was right in the eyes of God! It doesn’t say they did what was easy. In fact, it usually says they did right in the eyes of God after they have done something difficult like tear down their father’s idols!
D. Someone else’s cart won’t withstand your stumbling point. I Chronicles 13: 9
The cart had worked for the enemies of Israel, but their cart didn’t work for David. David’s cart wasn’t suited to handle the stumbling point. David learned very quickly that you cannot ride someone else’s cart. When the stumbling comes their cart won’t carry you! David tried to copy the method and experience of the Philistines. It worked for them so he thought if it was good enough for them it is good enough for him. There is a prescribed way or in other words each man must work out his own salvation, relationship, experience with fear and trembling. You can’t make it on your mom’s, pastor’s, or best friend’s, spouses relationship or revelation. Get your own presence. Get your own experience. Get your own relationship and revelation. It is time to get your own ride! It is time to press in for yourself, worship for yourself, pray for yourself, read for yourself! What is God’s prescribed method for you to get glory?
E. Worship doesn’t make a cart cool! I Chronicles 13: 8
No more carts! That cart was a sin. That wasn’t the prescribed method of transporting the glory of God. The people saw the ark on the cart and worshipped like crazy. The problem is you can’t ‘out worship’ a curse that you are bringing on yourself by direct disobedience. I won’t tithe, but I will worship my way into a blessing. That is a cart attempt at being blessed! I won’t serve, but I will worship a little harder in service. I won’t break my addiction to porn, but I will spin and shout! Unfortunately, as soon as the stumbling comes you are doomed for destruction because your cart won’t handle the stumbling. You can’t worship your cart into being approved by God. You can’t worship your way into a blessing that your lifestyle contradicts. David’s disobedience wasn’t ignored because they worshipped. Note this “radical obedience in one area of your life will not dismiss radical disobedience in another area of your life”!
F. Stumblings are the threshold of harvest! I Chronicles 13: 9
I want you to notice the timing of the stumbling that David faces. David’s stumbling reveals a great truth that we must learn. It is right when David arrives at the threshing floor, the place of harvest that he experiences the big stumble! Isn’t it interesting that the trouble always comes right at the place of harvest? Right at the place of breakthrough? If we would learn this, we won’t quit at the stumbling point! Hang on just a little longer. If you can hang on past the stumbling point harvest will come! It never fails right when you think you are about to move into breakthrough and triumph, the stumbling will come, but hang on! The devil knows you are on the brink and he is trying to get you to stop short! When you hit a stump you ought to focus on harvest!
G. Stumbling points don’t reveal weakness. I Chronicles 13: 10
Uzzah means “He is Strong”. It doesn’t matter how strong you think you are you will get to the stumbling point. You may be the most talented, gifted person in the house, but that won’t excuse you from the big challenge. A challenge is coming. Some of us feel like we are beyond the reach of a challenge. Stumps expose the fallacy of strength! Some of us are too tough for a stump! Some of us miss blessings because we want to be seen as tough! In our weakness, He is made strong! Our strength builds walls/blockades to His strength! Without stumps he wouldn’t trust us!
H. Stumbling points are prepared.
A Challenge is prepared for you. The threshing floor where the stumbling happened, according to 2nd Samuel 6, was at a place called “Nachon”. Nachon means “Prepared”. Your stumbling is prepared for you. Why? Does God just enjoy knocking you down? Does He just want to make your walk difficult? No, He prepares a stump for you because God doesn’t want you to arrive at places that you cannot occupy.
He challenges us to reveal our lack. Don’t despise the stumbling point. Understand that God prepares those places to shake us. Otherwise we would trick ourselves into thinking that everything is okay and that God is approving of the way we are living because everything is going so smoothly. He prepares Stumps so that we don’t prepare excuses! Prepared stumps keep God from having to prepare rescues!
The stump is supposed to slow you down but not stop you!
Too many of us never recover back from the stump. We experience a tough moment and we stop and never move/try/attempt again. David’s life teaches us to embrace the stumbling point. The stump simply caused him to realize that he had to get it right. So three months later he returns.
Some of us need to realize that the Stump was strictly to get our attention. It was a wakeup call.
David goes about it differently this time. He gets the priests together and they sanctify themselves before God. This time he gets rid of the cart. He isn’t trying to get by on somebody else’s ride. He doesn’t let the applause and celebration mislead him into believing everything was okay. Notice the other thing he does. The first time he just gets that ark and starts home oblivious about using the correct order. This time after every sixth step he stops and checks to make sure that the journey is being done right. For 7 to 10 miles from Obed-Edom to Jerusalem they stop after every sixth step and offer a sacrifice. There was still applause and celebration, but David stopped after the sixth step to check in to make sure everything was right and that they had God’s approval.
Have you checked your walk or have you thrown in the towel? The stump was supposed to wake you up to the facts that you have taken too many steps. You need to stop and make sure everything is in order. Every 6th step pause, hesitate and see if all is well with your soul! (That is why Sunday is important you have taken 6 steps this week on the 7th step you need to check back in!)
Pastor Oluwayimika Anibaba
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