In the days when Eli, the priest, was old and his sons followed not the way of the Lord, but dealt evil among the people, God told Eli that his days would end and that his sons would both die in the same day (I Sam. 2:22, 31-34). The Philistines came against Israel in battle and Israel was smitten before them (I Sam. 4:1-2). In an attempt to secure victory, Eli’s two sons took the ark of the covenant out onto the battle field, but instead of victory, the two sons were killed and the Philistines captured the ark of the covenant (I Sam. 4:4-11). After seven months in the land of the Philistines, the ark was returned to the land of Israel, where it abode in Kirjathjearim, in the house of Abinadab for twenty years (I Sam. 7:1-2). When David became king, it was his intention to bring the ark of the covenant back to it’s rightful place. He gathered his army and went to Kirjathjearim and the text says, “And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart” (II Sam. 6:3). “And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God. And David was displeased, because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzzah…” (II Sam. 6:6-8). Later, David determined to make another attempt to return the ark, but this time he made sure there would be no disaster such as happened with Uzzah. He explained to the priests and Levites, “For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order” (II Sam. 15:13). The problem had been that they had not moved the ark of the covenant in the manner that God had commanded. Without taking the time and space to cover all the details, the ark was to be transported by way of the staves through the four corner rings, on the shoulders of the sons of Kohath (Num. 7:6-9) and any that touched the ark would die (Num. 4:15). God’s “due order” had not been followed and the end result was failure.
Now, we wish to make application of the truth taught in that event. In short, if we are to be pleasing to God and successful in our efforts to have a home in heaven, it can be done only by seeking out and following the “due order” of God. In other words, all that we do in the realm of serving God, must be done the way God commanded that it be done. We must do what God commanded, but we must also do it the way God commanded. What God has commanded is what God requires. God did not have to tell David not to use an ox cart to transport the ark, for he had already told him it was to be borne on the shoulders of the sons of Kohath. We know not where Nadab and Abihu got the fire they used to burn incense, but we know it was not the fire that God had commanded them to use (Lev. 10:1). The end result was that fire came down from heaven and consumed Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10:2).
Many are the doctrines taught on how one obtains salvation. They no doubt seem right to those who are teaching them and to those who embrace them. However, as Solomon once said, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12). A thorough study of the New Testament will show that God’s way begins with one hearing the gospel. Every account of conversion in the book of Acts begins with God’s word being taught. Faith comes by hearing God’s word (Rom. 10:17). That gospel must then be believed. When Jesus began His earthly ministry he said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). One must then repent (Acts 3:19). Repentance is a determination to turn from that which is contrary to God’s will, to obedience to God’s will. The Bible then teaches that one must confess Jesus Christ before men. This is not some confession stating that God has already saved you, but one confessing that you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. An example of such is found in the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch. His confession was, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37). However, there is still one more step that must be taken in order to be saved. Contrary to the teachings and belief of many, God’s commands include baptism in order to be saved. Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). It is at this point that one receives remission or forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16). This is the step that puts one into Christ (Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27), where salvation is found (II Tim. 2:10; I John 5:11). The one who has done all this has been born again (John 3:3-5) and at this point, the Lord adds that saved person to His church (Acts 2:47; I Cor. 12:18). Man may make all the new carts and provide all the fancy music, shouting and rejoicing he wishes to, but one must seek God after his due order if he is to have eternal life.
Robert Oliver is pastor of The Church of Christ and a long-time columnist for The Sampson Independent. Send any questions or comments to: [email protected]