What is your morning prep like to get to church on a Sunday? If it is anything like my house was when my kids were small there is one word - chaotic! Even now that my kids are older there is some element of that to get everyone to church on time. Because I work at church, I have to get up way before the sun (which should be breaking some sort of commandment, but according to Proverbs 31 - apparently is not!
) Usually one or more of my children either choose to or have to come with me because of their volunteer schedule. Anyway - you get the idea.... In my house, unless I am very intentional, we usually arrive to worship the God of the universe pretty much in the same manner we would make a trip to Target or get out the door to school/work.
In my Bible reading I have come to the story of King David returning the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem after being captured by the Philistines and being away from the Israelites for some time. He decided it was time to bring it back to where it belonged and so he made a plan to go get it. Enter problem #1 - David didn't follow the rules. The ark was supposed to be carried by certain people in a certain way any time it was transported. Instead, he had prepared what was, I am sure, a very nice cart pulled by oxen. Of course! Why not? It was probably very heavy and this would make the 6 or so mile trip much easier and quicker.
So they story goes that they are moving along, the ox trips, one well meaning guy (Uzzah) reaches up to steady the ark so it doesn't fall to the ground and BAM! He's dead. Why, you might be asking? Well, no one was supposed to touch the ark but the priests appointed to care for it. Not fair, you might be saying. What was he supposed to do, let it fall? Well, that is exactly what King David said. He was not very happy with God.
2 Samuel 6:8-11 And David was angry because the Lord had burst forth against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzzah, to this day. And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and he said, How can the ark of the Lord come to me? So David was not willing to take the ark of the Lord into the city of David. But David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. And the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household.
So, here is where I have to laugh! David sees the Obed's house is prospering because of the presence of the Lord, so he decided to try to move it again - but this time doe it the right way. He uses the priests to follow all the proper directions for moving it - including carrying it on poles the whole 6 miles. But take a look at the highlighted verse above. David was afraid of the Lord that day... There was now a holy fear going on that should have been there from the beginning. David remembered who he was dealing with. So here is what he did:
2 Samuel 6:12-14 So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing. And when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal. And David danced before the Lord with all his might.
Did you catch that? Every 6 STEPS David sacrificed not 1 but 2, what I would imagine were, large animals. Every 6 steps for 6 miles they stopped and made an offering to the Lord. This was one long and bloody trip, full of work, but also filled with joy and worship before the Lord.
Truthfully, I probably need to paste this passage of scripture on the dash of my car, or on the bathroom mirror so I can see it when I get up (REALLY EARLY) to worship on Sundays. I have to remember who I am worshiping. I can not and should never treat coming in to the presence of God like it is something nonchalant.
Through the blood sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, I no longer have to sacrifice animals every 6 steps to come before the Lord in worship, but I am called every minute of every day to sacrifice my life to Him. I love that Jesus made a way for me to boldly approach the throne of GRACE. Thank God for grace! I am grateful to be able to call the one who made me - my father and my friend. But I have to hold Him in the proper place, high and lifted up above all things here on this earth - full of awe, reverence and a holy fear.
So this Sunday as you wrestle with the kids to get ready and into the car, as you wake up exhausted from the weekend which was once again "to full" and think twice about even going to church - consider all those obstacles you face and all the work it takes to get there as a joyful sacrifice to the King of Kings. Put on some worship music and dance before Him as an individual and a family as you prepare to join others to do more of the same.