There were a few rules for the ark. The cherubims atop the ark was where God spoke to Moses. The ark wasn't an idol, but it was "holy ground". It's where God revealed himself to mankind (Immanuel-God with us) and was the place where The Word spoke. The mercy seat between the cherubim was symbolic of Jesus.
Being holy, the ark could only be uncovered under cover of the tabernacle. It was in the Holy of Holies within the tabernacle and only a ceremonially clean righteous priest could approach it, let alone see it uncovered! When it was to be transported it was to proceed well ahead of the people and be carried only by the carrying poles. Furthermore, the ark was to be used for God's work under his direction. When God was properly honored the ark allowed enemies to suffer defeat, the walls of Jericho to fall and the idol Dagon to destroy itself!
When David's "light" flashed within his mind, his good idea was to parade the ark. It certainly wasn't being transported properly: it was on a new cart, not carried by poles, it was apparently not covered and it was among the people, not ahead of them. Furthermore, the ark was being used for David's purposes, not God's! David failed to have proper reverence for God and the rough road caused the ark to tip when Ussa caught it. Because he touched the ark, Ussa died. Ussa died in place of the king who bore the guilt because of his disobedience to The King! David was responsible for Ussa's death and God's wrath!
David did what was right in his own eyes and so did all the people:
1 Chronicles 13:3 And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we enquired not at it in the days of Saul. 4 And all the congregation said that they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.People do what's right in their own eyes. They have a herd mentality! If it's the popular thing to do, then we shall do it. The Hebrew people always did what was in vogue. It took many trials, many defeats and tens of thousands of deaths and the Hebrews still failed to heed God. With the advent of Jesus (God With Us), the Jews still failed to listen and killed their Savior. They did "the thing that was right in the eyes of all the people"! They did wrong!
Where am I headed with this story? I'm looking at the modern church.
Revelation 3:14 "And unto the angel of the church of the Lydians write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."Laodicea was the home of a church which really did exist. They allowed sin to be mixed with the worship of Jesus. This is syncretism. That's the fusion of two different beliefs. Mankind seldom abandons God. Man just adds another god or participates in heathen worship. If worship fails to be scriptural, it's heathen and is heretical! The Laodicean Church was syncretic. They mixed heathen practices with the worship of God. They were wasting their time! God said "because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth!" It's apparent that the spittoon for that church is a pit of fire!
The Laodician Church of Revelation is not only their contemporary church, but is symbolic of the church age at the end of time! It's a portrait of what the church will be. Revelation speaks of Nicolatians "who God hates". They brought sexual immorality into the church. They were licentious, adulterers and apparently engaged in same-sex as was popular then as now. They worshiped God, but with sinful worship!
There are many denominations today which are Laodocian in practice. The obvious ones are the United Churches of Christ and the Unitarian-Universalism churches. However, many traditional churches are neither cold nor hot. There are many lukewarm churches out there and they too will be "spewed"!
It's not my intent to create animosity nor spread dissension. I will not list list churches which are modernistic, but will let you examine yours! Churches with the following characteristics are Laodician:
- Scripture is not divinely inspired, but are the writings of "good" people.
- The death of Christ is questioned as is his ministry.
- Profess that salvation is by any other means (or other religions)
- Neglect the "born-again" experience in favor of inherited or ritual Christian status.
- Deny the creation and support or integrate evolution.
- Minimize the necessity of faith and obedience.
- Allow women ministers.
- Fail to condemn sin, especially homosexuality and fornication.
- Condone same-sex marriage.
- Teach social justice rather than the gospel.
- Worship according to the world, not as a place of holy ground.
- Having a kind of religion, but not in a biblical sense.
- And many more. This is an endless list!
Modern churches take on the characteristics of a night club. Rather than taking sinners to God they take sinners to dens of iniquity. One new mission I read about this week meets in a bar, the preacher buys the first drink and none of the music is Christian music. The evangelical preachers offer pleasures of the flesh so that people will have a desire to come! I assure you, that if they add strippers and lap dances, attendance will grow exponentially. That is a "lukewarm church" if even that, and will end up in God's spittoon!
When worshiping God we are standing on holy ground! When we worship, God is right there and sees it. There can be no sin in the presence of God unless sinners either repent or suffer the consequences. David disrespected what was holy and God struck Ussa dead! David bore the guilt, but as the leader of those disrespectful, David was taught a lesson. David listened! If he had not, David would have been in God's spittoon!
The preacher shares the same fate as did David. They will be held accountable for their syncretism. Preachers should never even allow fleshly worship, let alone lead it!
It's okay to frequent the places of sin to call men to Christ, but church is a place to worship. We leave those who fail to listen, not join them. We're to shake the dust off our feet and move on. We are not to satisfy the pleasures of sinners when praising, but are to do everything to magnify God!
Modern churches do what they want to do "for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people"! What's right in the eyes of the people is wrong in the eyes of God; and yes, a loving God seeks justice. Those who do what's right in their own eyes will be spewed out!