God is Particular - Part 3

Scripture: 2 Samuel 5:, James 4:17
It is important to obey God and do exactly what He asks of us. We can't interpret His commandments any way we want. The Bible gives examples of people who made light of God's specific laws and the consequences are grave. We should never excuse sin.
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We've been talking for two days now about the importance of obeying God and doing exactly what He asks us to do. We've learned already that God means just what He says. We can't take His commandments and interpret or apply them to our own lives according to our own convenience. Some people are doing this. In fact, this is the great modern method of doing it. Young people today have taken this so-called "freedom" and misused it terribly. They seem to think that they don't have to worry about the commandments of God. They can apply them in their own way, which usually means that they leave themselves open to disobey. But that's not right friends. There are many stories in the Bible which prove exactly the opposite. We've heard some of them already and we're going to have some more in today's broadcast. But before getting into the Bible story, let me tell you a little modern story of something that happened more recently.

A man was going away for a journey. He left his builder-son in charge of a project which had recently been planned. Blueprints had been drawn for a beautiful new home on a choice location. The father gave the blueprints to his son and asked him to complete the project while he was gone on this trip. He said, "Be sure to make it according to the exact specifications of these plans." Well, the son, being an expert builder, followed the plans his father had left, and soon the beautiful home was a reality. It was completed. Sometime later the father returned and made a tour with his son through the new building. Everything seemed to be acceptable and according to the plans until they came to the barn, which had also been a part of the building plan. The father noticed that the well was not near the barn as the plans had required. So he asked the son, "Where is the well?" The son said, "Oh, it's right over there by the house. I realized, of course, that the architects had made a mistake in drawing the plans by putting the well by the barn, so I put it back there where it belonged near the house."

Nothing else was said right then, and soon they were seated in the house after the tour of inspection. Then the father spoke again, "Son, I'm very sorry that you've not followed my desires and plans in the least bit of this building project." The son objected, "Father I have followed. I followed exactly what you said except in just that one thing of the well, and that was obviously a mistake." The father said, "No, son, I deliberately put the well near the barn as a test. You followed my plans only as far as they fitted in with your ideas. But when you came to one thing that you didn't like you changed it and made it the way you wanted it to be. So you were not following me in the least bit in those plans. You were doing what you wanted to do, and as long as your ideas fitted in with mine you were willing to follow, but when there was the least change, you chose your own way instead of mine."

Friends, that's something to think about, isn't it? That's the way it is with too many Christian people today. They serve the Lord as long as it is convenient , as long as it fits in with their own plans, but when God's way conflicts with their own desires, they often choose to go their own way instead of following God. This is why people say that it is not necessary to do certain things that are included in the commandments of God. What a blessing it is to just take God at His word, and not quibble about the wording of His commandments.

Now let's go on to a Bible story that makes this truth even more clear, simple and understandable. This story is found in2 Samuel 5, and several verses are involved in this chapter. This is the story of Uzzah, which has been so often misunderstood. I wonder if any of you have heard of a boy in modern times by the name of Uzzah? I don't believe that anyone has. I don't believe that there is a modern day youth by the name of Uzzah. Now what's the reason for this? Because Uzzah was slain by the Lord. Let's look at what happened in verses 6 and 7 of 2 Samuel 5 and I'll just give a little background of the story briefly.

The ark of God had been taken captive by the enemy of Israel. Now the ark, you remember was this box which contained the ten commandments. It had been taken away by the Philistines into their own country after a terrible battle. They thought that it was some god of Israel, so they put it right in their own temple beside their heathen deities. But they found out that this didn't work, because it brought all their gods tumbling down in a broken heap. Then some terrible disease and sickness broke out on all of them. By this time they were really frightened. They said, "Let's send it back home. We'll be killed if we keep this god of the Jews among us." So they made a beautiful new ox cart, yoked some oxen to it, and took it right across the border of Israel.

Well, it stayed there for a little while, and then afterward David decided to bring it back to the temple in Jerusalem. So a great delegation was sent out to bring back the ark of God to its proper place. They found it on this ox cart, so they decided to leave it there. They just brought their own oxen and harnessed them up to the cart and started pulling it along. Now friends, this is not the way God commanded them to move the ark at all. He had told them it was to be carried by the priests on their shoulders. Special places were prepared for it so that they could put poles through and then transport it by carrying it on the shoulders of the priests. No one but the tribe of Levi was allowed to touch this holy container of the ten commandments. All others had been warned to stay clear of it and not even come near where they could possibly touch it.

So the journey was started. For a while this new modern method of transportation seemed to work fine, but suddenly they came upon a rough spot in the road. The cart was jostled, and apparently the ark was going to fall from its place. Walking nearby was a man of the people by the name of Uzzah. Now this man was not a priest. But he was walking close enough to the ark to see that it was about to fall, so impulsively he reached out and touched the ark as though to steady it. And instantly he fell dead on the spot. He was slain under the judgment hand of God.

Now friends, what do we learn from this experience today? We learn that there is no emergency that can excuse sin. Many people are struggling over decisions to obey God. They think that God is not particular, that He doesn't mean what He says. God does mean it! We have a perfect illustration of it right here with this man Uzzah. He disobeyed God and no matter what his intentions were, it was still disobedience and the judgment of God came upon him.

I repeat that people are struggling today about whether to keep the Sabbath, whether to pay tithe, whether to be baptized. Listen friends, certain things have been set aside as holy, for God. And God says don't touch them. There is the Sabbath; God says it is holy. There is the tithe also which is holy, and God sets it aside. He says, "You must not use it for yourself." Oh, there are many, many other things in the Bible that we could mention just as well. But friends, if God sets it aside and tells us to leave it alone we do well to remember. The ark was also holy and had been set aside. And when Uzzah forgot, and touched that sacred thing that was God's, he lost his life. We can lose our lives too, our eternal lives, by disobedience.

This also proves another wonderful truth. We are only held accountable for what we know. Those heathen people were not punished with death because they touched the ark. Did you notice that? Because they didn't know any better, they didn't understand the commandment of God. They just gave it preferred treatment, because they had a lot of reverence for it, but they still touched it and nothing happened. But as soon as it crossed the border into the land where people did know, God required more of them. The very first touch of disobedience brought death. In James 4:17, we read: "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." So to the Israelites this constituted a sin which brought immediate judgment and death. For the heathen people who didn't know that commandment it didn't bring death when they touched it. God means exactly what He says when we have His word. There is no confusion. There is no contradiction. A person may say, "I see, and just as soon as a way clears up I am going to obey God." O no, God doesn't work like that. We walk by faith and not by sight. If we see clearly His requirement then we shouldn't wait for any kind of feeling. We ought to obey instantly without any further question.

People who plan to obey God at some future time are making a deadly mistake. Many say, "Well, when I get caught up a little bit financially, I'll begin to pay my tithe and I'll begin to keep the Sabbath also." By this means and by this argument we tie God's hands, as far as His blessing on us is concerned. Do you know why? Because the devil hears that prayer, and he'll keep us in debt the rest of our lives so that we'll never feel free to obey God. Other People say, "Well, my wife (or husband) holds me back, and if they ever become a Christian, I'll become one too." In that case we're actually challenging Satan to work mightily to keep those loved ones outside of Christ.

Yes, there are some solemn warnings in the Bible for us. Have you ever heard somebody say, "Oh, I'll keep the Sabbath if my boss will just let me have that day off." Don't you realize that Satan will see to it that the boss will never let you off on that day. It's got to be by faith. You have to step out without even seeing how it's going to work. Nothing will clear up until you move forward in faith. By just waiting and lingering and hesitating, the road will always seem to be impossible to pass.

Do you remember Israel at the Red Sea? It was flood stage. I can imagine logs and trees sweeping along. Across on the other side was the land for which they had been waiting for forty years. I can imagine the people saying, "Well, how are we going to get over there. We can't swim. We'll never be able to cross this raging river." But the Lord had an answer. He said, "Go forward!" "Walk out into the water." Now friends, let's be honest. As I thought this thing over, I surely would not want to be that first man in line, would you? Oh, I would want to be far back in that procession somewhere. But somebody was on the front who really believed God. I am thankful there was a man who did, and he simply moved forward and started walking right into the water. And when he came to the edge and put his foot down, it splashed and the water separated, just rolled back and revealed a plain dry path all the way through the sea. From this we understand how faith works. Will you go forward in obedience to God's command?

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