Today two scripture passages (or really two different sections of the same scripture passage) leapt out at me as I was listening to the Bible during my morning run. The first was 1 Chronicles 15:11-15:
Then David summoned the priests Zadok and Abiathar, and the Levites Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab, and said to them, “You are the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites. Consecrate yourselves, you and your brothers, so that you may bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place that I have prepared for it. Because you did not carry it the first time, the Lord our God broke out against us, because we did not seek him according to the rule.” So the priests and the Levites consecrated themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. And the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord.
When the ark was created God had given specific instructions as to how it was to be cared for and transported. He’d also warned that if anyone touched the ark, they would be struck dead. For many years the ark lay, not quite forgotten, but at least out of mind. Earlier in the book of 1 Chronicles David remembered the ark and had attempted to transport the Ark of God to Jerusalem. They’d set it on a cart (not the mode of transport God had stipulated). During the trip the ark started to topple out of the cart and a man reached out to steady it – and was immediately struck dead. Apparently this time David sought God on the matter. David’s vision wasn’t bad. The people’s desire wasn’t wrong. Their manner of execution had been incorrect and contrary to God’s design. The passage made me wonder how often I run toward a God ordained vision in a manner contrary to God’s revealed will. I become pragmatic rather than obedient.
Another verse that leapt out at me was 1 Chronicles 15:29:
And as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David dancing and rejoicing, and she despised him in her heart.
It made me think of your average evangelical church worship service. Some churches raise their hands, some don’t. Some dance, most don’t. Have you ever felt compelled, though, by the music leader or the congregation to raise your hands when you didn’t feel like it? Or ever felt like raising your hands but didn’t because no one else was? People will look and people will judge. Does that matter? It took me many years to feel comfortable remaining in my seat while all around me people were standing with their arms raised to the sky. It’s not that I didn’t “feel” it. Rather I felt something else. I needed to ponder. I need to meditate on the words, or on my sin, or on grace… I needed to remain seated and silent worshipping the Lord God in quietness.
We can’t assume because someone is sitting or not singing that they aren’t worshiping. As a worship minister I need to be aware of many different ways and means of worship. I need to lead while allowing the individual the freedom to encounter God in the manner that God has made most fit for them to do so.