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Amos 9:11 & Acts 15:16 2 Samuel 6; 1 Chronicles 13,15,16  

Aim: God is passionate about us, He wants to restore and rekindle our relationship with Him, our first love, so that we can truly be a vibrant end times Church that is reflecting the glory of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amos 9:11 & Acts 15:16.

When God chose David as King for His people, He chose a man after His own heart (1 Sam 13:14 & Acts 13:22). It was time in the history of the Jewish nation for God's plans and purposes to move forward, and David was to be God's chosen instrument for that time. He was the youngest of eight brothers, and his duty was to look after his father, Jesse's sheep.

In those early years, what was to happen to David, through his life, would doubtless have seemed impossible, but when God's hand is on a person's life, nothing is impossible! David's relationship with God began as a shepherd boy on the hills around Bethlehem. It was here his relationship with God grew. He learned from very practical day by day experience who God was, and His ways. But it was not just a one way relationship, but a very real and tangible relationship. A relationship that evoked from David a response of worship, that overflowed from his heart.
David would sit on the hills, with his harp, perhaps when the days work was done, and compose psalms to God, pouring out his heart to "His shepherd." They weren't couched in meaningless religious jargon, they weren't to impress those who would hear, but in music and word David would speak of how great God was, and his need and longing for Him. This practise that began as a young lad, continued throughout his life. Many of his greatest times of dependence on God would bring a new psalm. "David was an enthusiastic worshipper of Yahweh. All the records of his life agree in representing him as devoted to Israel's God. In the midst of life's dangers and disappointments, "David strengthened (encouraged) himself in Yahweh (the Lord) his God" I Samuel 30:6 (from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia).

When King Saul was troubled by an evil spirit, and subject to moods of depression and insanity, his attendants advised him to secure a harpist, to soothe him. It was David that was chosen for the task, and he would travel between Bethlehem to Gibeah, to play for Saul when summoned.

God wants each one of us to have a personal relationship with Him. He does not want us just to know about Him, but to know Him. He loves us, He wants to break down the hardness and the barriers we have built to stop us from getting hurt, the unforgiveness, the bitterness, the self-consciousness, the anger, etc. He wants to do away with the religion and bring reality. He wants to take our lukewarmness and make us HOT. Not just for the moment, but forever. He wants to bring something beautiful out of our dry places.
Psalm 84.

Many years passed, and David became King, uniting again the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah. After establishing his new political capital at Jerusalem, he decided it would be good to re-establish and strengthen the worship of God. So he went to Kiriath-Jearim, (or Baalah) to the house of Abinadab to bring back the Ark of the Covenant. Several years earlier the Philistines had captured the ark, but finding it caused them many problems, they returned it to Abinadab's house to get rid of it.

How do you transport a heavy object like the ark? - Well David reasoned, an ox cart would be the obvious way, after all the Philistines had used an ox cart to return it to Abinadab's house. 2 Samuel 6:1-5 Things seemed to be going well, and there was much jubilation and rejoicing. But sadly, disaster struck, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out to steady the ark, but God struck him dead. 2 Samuel 6:7-8. This is a difficult passage, but one from which we can learn several valuable lessons:

i. The Ark represents the presence of God. The Ark that is called by the Name the name of the Lord Almighty who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the Ark.

ii. The next thing is that the ox-cart represents our own man made programmes, we can not decide to do something, using our own reason and logic, then ask God to come and bless it. Although transporting the ark this way would seem right, His ways are different to ours.
Isa 55:8-11 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." God's Glory needs to be Holy Spirit led. The only way for us to see God's Glory in our meetings is to allow Him to show us the way.

iii. The next thing is that the ox is a symbol of strength and power and wealth, but God chooses to use the weakness of man to display His glory. 2 Cor 4:5-7 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

iv. When we try to do our own thing God will often shake it, to get our attention. If we reach out to try steady what God is shaking, this will often end in disaster and confusion. Uzzah was Abinadab's son, he had the Ark in his house for many years, and should have had a reverence for it. It is important that we keep close to God every step of the way so that we are able to hear from Him. We also need His discernment, which that close relationship will bring. We serve a holy God, and although God wants us to come into a relationship of love with Him, we should never treat the things of God lightly. God is also an awesome God.

v. We can even seem to be doing the 'right' thing, and for good motives, like David, but unless we have sought God for His way through a situation, it will not achieve much.

vi. The threshing floor symbolises the place of testing. In the natural it is where the grain was separated from the chaff, and in the spiritual, where the works of man are tested. If we will allow God to correct us, then it can also be the place where we move forward in our Christian walk.

2 Samuel 6:9-11 David became afraid of God after this incident and decided not to take the ark to Jerusalem. So instead he took it aside into the house of a man named Obed-Edom. Something quite remarkable then happened. Obed-Edom and his whole household started to receive an abundance of blessing, 1 Chronicles 13 says that the Lord blessed all that he had. You see the presence of God will always bring blessing. Not necessarily material things, although it certainly can include that! We read in 1 Chronicles 15:24 Obed-Edom became a gate keeper for the ark, when David did get it to Jerusalem. He had found out that nothing compared to being in the presence of God, and that was where he wanted to be and was prepared to follow it, then remain there!

How much are we hungry for the presence of God in our own lives, in our homes, in our churches, in our towns? That is the place where will see God's blessing and provision, are you like Obed- Edom prepared to follow after it?
David was a man after God's heart and his relationship with God was the most important thing to him. He was also a man who was willing to learn from his mistakes, he recognised the need for repentance when he had gone wrong, and the joy that came with knowing and experiencing God's heart of forgiveness. After about three months he heard the report that Obed-Edom was being blessed.

This whole episode resulted in David having a rethink on how to handle God's holy presence. In the book of Exodus 25 God had clearly spoken of how the ark was to be transported, on the shoulders of Levites. God had said that the priests were to be the ones to minister. So David restored the Levitical office, and very carefully followed God's instructions. 2 Samuel 6:12 & 13 The Levites sacrificed an ox and a fatted calf then moved forward six paces, and repeated the whole process, carrying the ark on poles on their shoulders. The journey was somewhere between 7 and 14 miles. It must have been a long, sweaty, bloody, smoky journey - a dear price to pay to get the presence of God to their town! David said later in his life that he refused to offer God things that had cost him nothing. (2 Sam 24:24) He had learned that you could never outgive God, and that the rewards far exceeded the cost.

I want us to learn five things from this passage:

i. We need to face up to the reality of where we are, it's no good trying to hide our mistakes, pretending that sin is anything other than sin. Praise God that through Jesus Christ the sacrificial system is completely fulfilled, we no longer have to offer ox and calves, the blood of Jesus can cleanse us completely from sin. If we are willing to repent and turn from our wrongdoing we can know and experience God's heart of forgiveness. Ps 32:1-7 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"-- and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him. You are my hiding-place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. We enter God's rest not by running from a situation, but by facing up to it, allowing God to take us through it.

ii. God, in His Word has shown us the way to go, the way to live our lives. The Bible is our measure as to whether we are on track or not, and when we fail (as we all do from to time) it shows us the way of repentance and restoration into His presence. God desires us to live in obedience to His Word.

iii. God is a holy God, He is calling us to be a holy people. It is only 'in Jesus' that we can come before Him, and be acceptable to Him. When we come near to His presence we need to develop a holy fear of God - there is no room for sin, we need to deal with it as God shines His light into our lives. It is important that we know Him as our loving Heavenly Father, as our Good Shepherd, but we also need to develop a reverent awe for Him. He is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Creator of the universe, and the Saviour of mankind……

iv. How much are you prepared to pay for the conditions to be right for the presence of God to come to your town? Rom 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-- this is your spiritual act of worship. I believe God is seeking for people who are prepared to offer their lives as living sacrifices. That will mean different things for different people, and will often mean a whole change of lifestyle, but God will give us the grace in every circumstance.

v. We don't just need 'a touch from God' - we need a life change! When God's anointing comes it isn't to give us a nice warm feeling. There is a world going to a lost eternity - HELL - unless we are prepared to make a difference.

David moved into a new realm of intimacy in his relationship with God that changed his whole concept of worship. What a wonderful procession it must have been that entered Jerusalem that day. The joy in the people's hearts was evident. 2 Samuel 6:14 - 23. David knew a complete freedom in his worship as he leapt and twirled and danced, wildly, unhindered by his outer garments, but wearing a priestly light linen ephod. There was praise, there was worship, there was music and shouting, as the people processed into their royal city. Yet Michal, his wife looked down from an upstairs window and scorned David's freedom and as a result was cursed with barrenness. So what can we learn?

i. Personal intimacy with God should come through relationship. We need to fall in love with Jesus. To rekindle our first love, that it may grow in maturity, and yet also in passion. Read through Song of Songs, Jesus is the lover, he is knocking at the door of our hearts, he is calling, watching, waiting for us to respond to him. Song 2:8-13 Listen! My lover! Look! Here he comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills. My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look! There he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattice. My lover spoke and said to me, "Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig-tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me."

ii. Don't be like Michal, despising the things of God. Perhaps jealous and resentful of David's close relationship with God. A lack of personal intimacy will always bring about barrenness. It is the opposite of a fruitful relationship. Criticism and judgementalism will destroy your relationship, and harden your heart.

iii. The repentant, broken hearted nature of true worship, comes before God as an acceptable sacrifice to Him. Allow Him to melt your heart, your tears are precious to Him. Don't be afraid of crying, when the Lord is doing a powerful work in your life, it is the natural expression. Our emotions are very much involved with what is going on. We need not be embarrassed, or fearful we are making a fool of ourselves. Tears can be very healing, and when we have shed tears of sadness, we shall be able to overflow with tears of joy! We need to let our hearts be so broken and in tune with God, that the things that break God's heart, also break our hearts.

iv. Don't be a spectator, be a participator! As we worship God together, we can be a powerful witness, in unity of heart and mind and spirit. Our praise and worship is a response to our relationship with Him, and it pours out of a security that knows you are chosen, you are precious, and loved. It becomes an expression of that love that you feel in your heart. It is not something that we can whip up, or be passive about, it comes from the overflow of our hearts and needs a wholehearted response.

v. Worship is the key component to God's presence coming. God is not listening to the noise that is coming out of our mouths (Praise the Lord!) He is listening to our hearts. Is it real? Is there a fire? A passion? That is what God is looking for. Though it is possible to hide to others, where we are in that relationship, we can never hide from God. He hears our worship and sees the love and the honesty in our heart and chooses to reveal His presence through our life, that His glory will be seen in us. Our worship becomes an acceptable offering, a sweet smelling sacrifice to Him.

vi. Our worship can be expressed in many ways. We can speak words of praise and worship, we can sing, we can shout or clap, we can worship with musical instruments, we can express our worship in gentle dance, in twisting and twirling or with the scarves, just let it overflow from your heart, a sacrifice of praise, but above all let it be from a life poured out for Jesus! Let God know that you love Him, allow Him to reveal His presence through your life!

David was not interested in the ark - the wooden box, he was not interested in the gold, or the achievement it would be to get it to Jerusalem. He was interested in the presence of God, more than that, he was interested not just in the presence coming, but in the presence of Almighty God staying in that place. (Not His omnipresence, He promised He would be with us always)

He did two things to make sure God's presence stayed in Jerusalem, and His glory was revealed to the people: Firstly he prepared a place for God to come, by constructing a tabernacle, a tabernacle without walls! Secondly he created a living mercy seat of worship in the tabernacle, so that God would remain.

i. When Amos says that God will rebuild and restore David's fallen tabernacle, you ask yourself the question why didn't he say Moses tabernacle, or perhaps King Solomon's temple, why David's tabernacle? David's tabernacle it would seem was little more than a tent to protect the ark. It was not a beautiful building, there was no outer court, there was no holy of holies. That I believe is exactly why, because, it was truly a place where God would meet with man. It was a place marked by relationship rather than religion, and a place of passion - the passion of David's heart for God. The presence of God, would have been seen by all, by worshippers and Israelites, pagans and foreigners. Any passer-by would have been aware of God's presence.

When Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the temple was torn in two, the way to God was open. God wants our meeting with Him to be based, and centred on our relationship with Him. The tabernacle is Jesus, Jesus is God's plan for man, God wants to work in our lives and destroy the things that separate us from Him. God's plan is to bring His restoration into those broken areas in our lives and our churches. He wants our relationship to be HOT. What a powerful witness to the world, when people can truly see God working in power in our lives, and in our churches as He rebuilds us into a place fit for His presence.

ii. Secondly the mercy seat - the mercy seat covered over the law, it was on the mercy seat that the glory of God would come. David created a living mercy seat of worship. The only thing that encircled God's presence in David's tabernacle was worshippers who ministered to Him 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for 36 years!!! The tabernacle was a place marked by unveiled, unfettered worship. In Psalm 22:3 it says But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel. The Japanese translation literally says our praise builds a big chair for God to sit on! God is looking for true worshippers who will worship in Spirit and truth (John 4:23&24).

The covering and the cherubim over the mercy seat were made of gold, refined in the fire, and beaten into the image of perfection and put into the right place. The first thing to come to the top when gold is refined is the dross, but the next thing is silver, a less precious metal, which mixes with the gold ore. As worshippers God wants to refine us, to remove the dross from our lives. But then as we get nearer the throne we are aware other things sometimes have to go. Things that at one time have been important to us, we have to lay down, like the semi-precious silver being skimmed from the gold. Purity, brokenness and unity are the three components for worship under the New Covenant of the blood of Jesus.

The way we can build a mercy seat is to take our place as purified, beaten worshippers. God's glory, His Shekinah Glory can then come. That is the place where we are truly aware of His presence. He wants to reveal His glory to a dying world. Technical perfection may win the praise of men, but only the anointing and glory of God can melt their hardened hearts.

David was a man with a heart after God. God wants restore our relationship with Him, and give us a fire and a passion. We need to recognise that what we are often living in is often not God's best for us, but we so often can't see. One of the things the enemy does is blind us to accept less than God's best. God wants to bring a restoration of what time has stolen, and the weakness of man has allowed to collapse. He wants us to seek Him and be prepared to repent when we go wrong. He wants us to find the place of blessing. He wants us to go His way, and be a holy people. Paul Weaver (General Supt. AoG) said "Holiness can overcome the darkness around us, because holiness is God" He wants to release us into unveiled, and unfettered extravagant worship. That we may create a living mercy seat of worship, pure worshippers, broken worshippers and united worshippers. A place for his glory not just to come, but to stay, so we shall see the restoration Amos prophesied:

Amos 9:11-15 "On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name," says the LORD who does this thing. Behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "When the ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it. I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them," says the LORD your God."

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