Written By: Olivia Caldwell
Let's talk about worship...pure and unadulterated worship.
David learned how to worship before the Lord. You may be familiar with the story of David shedding his kingly robes and dancing before the Lord, but there is so much that David walks through just in 2 Samuel 6 before he strips down and leaps and dances with all the house of Israel.
How is it that the king became so "undignified" to the point of declaring, "I will make myself even more undignified than this,"?
He saw just who God is, just how holy He is. David learned how to rightly worship a holy, holy, holy God.
A few months before this, David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the LORD, "with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals." (2 Sam 6:5b) After many years, since the ark was lost in battle, the ark was now finally being returned to the tabernacle, to be set in the Most Holy Place. God's glory and presence was returning to its rightful place, in the center of Israel and in the center of the hearts of God's people!
David and the 30,000 Israelites are bringing the ark back and look at how they dance and worship! Look at their rejoicing! Isn't this incredible? Surely the Lord is pleased!
Well, no. See, God gave very specific instructions for transporting the ark. It was to be carried. And it was only to be carried by Levites of the family of Kohath. And yet...
"And they carried the ark of God on a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. And Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart, with the ark of God, and Ahio went before the ark." (v. 3-4, emphasis added)
So, here we have this large production and this worship and so much joy and celebration- and gracious, doesn't it seem like their hearts are in the right place? But how holy our God is. How worthy He is of our reverence towards Him and His commandments.
And how quickly David and the Israelites will be reminded.
"And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God." (v 6 & 7)
Not only was the ark of God to be carried by Levites of the family of Kohath, but there were also very specific instructions outlined in Numbers 4 of how every thing of the ark of God was to be covered: "but they must not touch the holy things, lest they die." (Numbers 4:15)
Perhaps one of the most profound statements I have heard that will stick with me forever is this: “Uzzah assumed that his hand was less polluted than the earth.” (R.C. Sproul)
David was angry and he was afraid of the LORD that day. "How can the ark of the LORD come to me?" (v. 9)
Can you imagine how that must have been for him? He wholeheartedly wanted for his people to be centered around the glory and the presence of the Lord and His desire seemed to be to honor the Lord above all else. How confused he must have been after this. How heart wrenching it must have been, to have had this horrifying realization wash over him that what he had been doing was not, in fact, honoring to the Lord.
"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." (v. 10 & 11)
"David did this in fulfillment of God's word. Obed-Edom was a Levite of the family of Korah and Kohath (1 Chronicles 26:4).
When God's word was obeyed, and His holiness was respected, blessing followed." (Enduring Word Commentary)
When David heard how the Lord had blessed the household of Obed-edom, David went and brought the ark of God to the city of David. Verse 12 says, "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. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn." (v. 13-15)
How different this was.. we see that the ark of the Lord was being carried, "bore" by men, and then this elaborate sacrifice followed.
And David. David dancing before the Lord with all his might in his linen ephod. Note that 1 Chronicles 15:27 says this, "David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who bore the ark, the singers, and Chenaniah the music master with the singers. David also wore a linen ephod." (emphasis added)
David encountered God in all His holiness and his worship was transformed accordingly.
Isn't that beautiful? How convicting and inspiring.
Well, not everyone thought so.
"As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart." (v. 16)
David finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings and went to bless his household, but his wife, Michal, confronted him, saying, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!” (v. 20b)
This sarcastic vitriol could have been so deflating. And maybe it even could have even hindered a full and righteous worship of the Lord. But because of what David had experienced in those months and how he had seen with his very own eyes the holiness of God, he did not bend. He was not deterred. He was not swayed. He responded, "It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel--I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.” (v.21-22, emphasis added)
Hey, sister? There may be times when your obedience to and honoring of the Lord will not make sense to others. What He is doing and what He has done will compel you to offer to Him that which is pleasing and even that which is costly and that which will require levels of humility that could only come about from being in the presence of God. Once you have tasted and seen, you will not dare offer up anything less to the King.
There may come those who revile you and those who question you, confront you and accuse you, even.
May you stand firm in your convictions and in your devotion to a right worship of a worthy King.
May you be even more undignified - more and more and more, as you heap more and more and more glory and honor on the Lord of lords and King of kings.
Let it be so.
Written By: Alexandria Brown
Anna: There is little scripture written about her and, still, this prophetess had the privilege of seeing the Savior. Anna saw this tiny baby called out and thanked God for the Savior to be. The prophet Anna lived a life of worship to God. The Bible tells us first that she was a prophet, that she was married for 7 years and became a widow, and after that seven years she devoted her life wholly to God until the time see saw Jesus. When she encountered Jesus, Anna was 84. That’s a lifetime of worship.
Anna had a glimpse, a glimmer of understanding, of just how much God loved her and what that meant and she chose to love God and worship Him in return. I believe Anna understood that God loves to give gifts to us and she recognized that encountering the Savior was a gift for her.
All through out the Bible we see scripture after scripture that reveals to us "if we ask…"
I believe for myself that sometimes…sometimes I don’t ask because I am afraid of not getting the answer that I am looking for. "What if it doesn’t happen?" "What if I don’t deserve it?" And I’ll admit, sometimes I allow that to shift my perspective of what are “acceptable” and what are “unacceptable” asks of God depending on my behavior. I begin asking according to what I believe I deserve rather than asking from the place of beloved daughter, precious treasured one.
Anna lived, breathed, spoke, and stayed where God’s presence could be found. She devoted her life, all her life, to God. Fully surrendered, fully committed. She intentionally surrendered herself to God. It would be safe to say that Anna did not only talk about God, she lived it. She breathed it. She moved in it.
The key to power & authority is proximity to the King and with proximity to the King you get intimacy with the King. And because of Jesus we all have access to God in a way that Anna never did. We have access to the presence of God whenever and wherever we are. Still intimacy is not created by one night stands. Intimacy is created when we continuously surrender, submit, and allow access into every part of our lives, both with people and with God.
Intimacy & presence is where we begin to develop the heart knowledge that God’s love for us is not dependent on the words we say and the things we do. That’s what the Bible means when it talks about the unshakeable love of God. There is nothing we can do or say to make God love us any more and there is nothing we can say or do to make God love us any less.
Anna knew that God’s love was not dependent on her, but how she received and accepted God’s love was up to her response. Anna had decided that her life was going to be a “living sacrifice” as we read in Romans 12. Anna spent her time worshiping, praying, and seeking the Lord. She devoted herself to ministering to the King of kings and Lord of lords. She made herself an offering unto the Lord and the Lord blessed her.
Not all of us are in a position where we can drop everything and spend our day at the church. We have jobs, families, and ministries. Still God gives us the incredible opportunity to spend our days at the tabernacle of His presence because of what Jesus did and the Holy Spirit in us. The Bible says that we are the living temple of the King! We don’t have to spend our day hanging out IN the presence of God, because we have the opportunity to spend our day WITH the presence of God. We get to invite Him into every moment of every part of our day. WOW!
I have heard it said, "If you’re confused about who you are supposed to be and what you were created to do with your life, try ministering to the Lord." Spend time in His presence. Please, please, I double dog dare you! Pray. Worship. Lean on the Lord. He wants to see you. He wants to know you. And just like He did for Anna He will show Himself to you.
Written by: Gay Idle
So much has been wrapped up in her story in the garden.
We have placed so much emphasis on the fall of man, i.e. Eve, that we have lost who she was created to be. We tend to find our identity within the fallen Eve. So much so that we attach that identity, (the fallen Eve), to the way God created woman to function, and in turn to ourselves.
For the sake of brevity and getting a true grounding in who we as women were created to be, I want to look at Eve before the fall. Before sin entered the world. Eve…as God’s Image Bearer and as man’s strong Ezer.
A side note about sin entering the world: Scriptures indicate that sometime between the creation week and the fall of man in the garden Satan and ⅓ of the angels rebelled against God and were thrown down to earth. This rebellion had to take place after the creation week because God pronounced on each day that what He had created was good, including man(i.e. Humankind: man and woman). If rebellion had entered before creation, through Satan, I hardly think God would have pronounced it good. Satan was a created being, as were the angels who followed him in his rebellion. Satan, as a created being, was pronounced good. Ezekiel 28:15 says of Satan, “you were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.” So that gives us a little background to consider what happened. Satan as well as humans had the ability to choose to obey God, or turn from Him. It was his own prideful desire that led him to his rebellion. So sin was not a created thing, but rather a choice to follow our own desire over God’s desire for us. When we choose our own desire over and against God’s desire for us then we can blame no one but ourselves, not God and not even Satan.
Now let’s get back to Eve before the fall. If we want to know who God created the very first woman in all of creation to be, we have to get back to Genesis…in the beginning…before the fall, before that serpent slithered onto the scene.
“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. ” Genesis 1:26-28 (emphasis mine).
Did you get that? The designation, ‘man’ in the first part of these verses is referring to mankind…both man and woman. And man, as male and female were created to be the image bearers of God.
Eve… as Image Bearer
The fallen view of a woman says that she is a temptress, or at the very least that she is morally weak and unable to withstand Satan’s scheme. After just one bite of the forbidden fruit, we forget that the female was originally created equal to her male counterpart as an image bearer of our creator almighty God. Yet the blueprint for the woman is found before that fatal bite. She was created to be God’s image bearer…in His image and likeness.
Let’s dive into that scripture a bit more. It begins with the words, “Then God said, Let us …”, so here we see God basically in discussion with Himself. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit…the triune God were all present and active in creation. That’s one God in three. It’s where we get the concept of the Trinity. I don’t have the space or bandwidth to dive into that concept in this article, but we see in this that God, who is in relationship with Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, created us for relationship as well. There is no hierarchy within the Godhead. Therefore there is no hierarchy in the relationship between man and woman. God created man, male and female, as one flesh and they were given one name. Man.
“This is the written account of Adam’s line. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them ‘man.’" Genesis 5:1-2 (added emphasis).
In referring to the one name ‘man’, Herbert Lockyer, in his book All the Women of the Bible, says it this way, “This inclusive name implies that the divine ideal for man and wife is not merely that of association but an indissoluble unity. God made them ‘one flesh’ and gave them one name.”
So in unity, they share in the role of being God’s image bearer. And as such, God blessed them and then gave them the mandate to be fruitful and multiply, to rule and subdue the earth. As His own image bearers, God gave them the same name (Adam=man), the same blessing, and the same function.
We are given the invitation as God’s image bearers to learn all we can about Him. To fully know Him and be fully known by Him. To know and be fully known is the desire of every man and woman’s heart isn’t it? Only God can fill this seemingly insatiable need. Insatiable, because we seem to look to everyone and everything but God to fulfill that role in our lives. As God’s image bearers…we were created to intimately know and walk with God and to be a reflection of His character. Our great high calling is to make Him known.
Eve… As ezer
As God’s image bearers we are to be in strong and healthy relationships with one another. The second chapter of Genesis gives us further understanding of man in relation to woman. We see in this account how Eve, as an image bearer of God reflects the ‘ezer’ facet of God’s character.
Here we read again (the same story as Chapter 1, but in greater detail), the story of the creation of man. God created man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and take care of it (Genesis 2:15). And then God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). And so God brought all creatures he had created to Adam to see what he would name them (Genesis 2:19). Still no suitable helper was found. The created animals were not suitable for only man was the image bearer of God.
“So the LORD caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked and they felt no shame.” Genesis 2:21-25.
Note that ‘woman’ was not her name. She was called ‘woman’ because she was taken out of man (literally part of man), this was more of a general designation than an actual name. Remember further on in Genesis 5:2 we read, “male and female he created them…and called them Adam.” So the first woman came out of man. She is the female part of man, God’s image bearer…and at this point man (who was two in one), becomes two separate physical beings. This, I believe, is part of the mystery of God’s creation that is so hard to wrap our heads around. So I am just trying to lay it out as I have found it written in His Word.
Also, note that we don’t even know her as Eve at this point in the creation story. Adam renames her Eve after the fall. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
In Genesis verse 20, we read, “no suitable helper was found” for Adam. What exactly does that mean? In this passage, the word helper in the original language is Ezer (pronounced ay-zer). The word helper in our English language does not adequately render the true meaning of this word. On its surface, we might think it just means that woman was created as a lowly servant. And so we might then derive that woman is subservient to man. Some people think that the first woman, and therefore all women in general, were created to be nothing more than sidekicks to men…basically subordinate assistants. But this could not be further from the truth. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible gives us this definition for helper:
5826 - ‘azer - aw’ - to surround i.e.) protect or aid. Help, succour.
Biblical scholars have pointed out that the word ezer is used on 16 separate occasions in the Old Testament in reference to God. These are times of powerful acts of God as man’s rescuer, protector, helper/ezer in times of trouble and need.
Moses named one of his sons Eliezer. In Hebrew, this means “My God is my helper”, (Eli = my God” Ezer = “my helper”). In Exodus 18:4 we learn that Moses named his son Eliezer because God had powerfully delivered Moses from Pharoah’s sword.
Ezer has also been found to be a powerful Hebrew military word. So, instead of seeing the first woman as a weaker counterpart to man, we see her as a warrior, created to be man’s strong helper. Wow…just wow!
Adam was in need of an ezer. One who would come alongside him in this spiritual war zone. They were about to face their adversary. And while it didn’t quite turn out the way we would have hoped, nevertheless this team was God’s choice. And it still is…we are still in a war zone.
And so what does all this mean? It is clear that the intention of God in creating humankind was for men and women to be working together as equal partners in God’s created world. God created them and blessed them.
Just as the first woman was, we too are God’s image bearers and ezers. And so, we are to love God with our whole hearts. When we do that it leads us to love our neighbors (beginning with the men in our lives) as ourselves. While sin entered the world and wrecked creation as it was meant to be, God made a way through the seed of woman…Jesus Christ… to redeem and restore all of creation to its original purpose. Because of His great sacrifice, we are not bound to the effects of sin. We are not bound to the strife and struggle of man against woman/woman against man … that began all the way back in the garden when that serpent slithered onto the scene. We need only to take Him as our Lord and Savior, to turn from our own sin, and turn back to God to begin to reclaim this world once again as the Kingdom of God. Let’s do it! Let’s advance the Kingdom of God on earth!!
Thank you, Jesus!
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