There have been many reasons listed why Uzzah didn’t have to die. He was a man not appointed by God to carry the Ark, but he meant well. He may actually have thought he was doing God and the people of Israel a service. After all, he was doing what he had been told to do by the people, despite the fact that he had not been told by God. He had had instructions from the authorities on his responsibilities, so he obeyed. Yes, there might have been the teachings of the Levites from long ago coming into his remembrance about the proper method to carry the Ark, but everyone else thought it was such a great idea. It was so popular. Who was he to disagree? And that reluctance to stand up for God’s Word – everyone’s reluctance – resulted in his death. How often are we in the church guilty of the same – remaining silent because it isn’t popular to object?
Remember how Satan deceived Eve by saying that she really wouldn’t die if she just disobeyed God’s Word in one small way (one “new cart” way)? And Satan was right wasn’t he? Eve did not die…or, at least, not physically. Yet her and Adam’s entire relationship with God died. There were no more walks together with God in the Garden of Eden, no more sweet communion. Instead there was sin and separation and expulsion. Yes, there was death, it just wasn’t visible. So when the “new cart” comes in, death will follow, the death of true communion with God. What a heartbreaking thought.
THE NEW CARTS
Remember the symptoms of the Uzzah Syndrome?
They had good intentions – but were the intentions driven by self or by the Holy Spirit? There was unanimity – popularity is the more modern word. There was passionate singing – but, again, was the singing the excitement of the flesh or the anointing of the Spirit? They had a bright, shiny new platform for God, a new cart – but was that the Holy transport God commanded?
Observe how these symptoms play out in the world today. “The new cart” – the method of the unbiblical Philistines – is the physical evidence of the whole problem in 1Chronicles 13. It comes under the guise of bringing in new ideas mixed in with God’s Word. Most often it is found in new books – usually the most popular books, praised by all the reviewers. The error tries to hide under its popularity, its mixing of the heathen with the Biblical by saying it is a new way to pray or become closer to God. Sadly, as in David’s time, even those in places of spiritual authority who know the Word of God, as the priests and Levites did in David’s time, may keep silent as to its lack of agreement with God’s Word. Because the authors of the works do indeed seem to be so well-intentioned and have a heart’s desire to be of assistance to those they are writing for, the errors in the books are overlooked. The people who read the books seem blessed; therefore, more books of the same character are written. There is, however, one other similarity to 1Chronicles 13 that cannot be overlooked in this picture: what are God’s thoughts on the matter? Is the content of the book in agreement with His Word? If they are not, are we faced with another spiritual death?
Is this a minor problem in the body of Christ? I will let you judge. Think back just one generation ago. Remember that one generation was the time that the Ark was in the hands of the Philistines and not revered by God’s people in the exalted way it was to be. One generation was also the time that Saul did not inquire after the presence of God. One generation ago in our day there were none of these “new cart” practices that intermingled with solid Biblical practices: alpha waves, imaginative meditation, the silence, breath prayers, centering prayers nor Contemplative prayer. All of these are extra-biblical practices presuming to enable the user to “hear” the voice of God and have divine communion with Him. Yet, they are nowhere found in His Word. These practices are often subjective experiences not the “clear, intellectual praying that involves a person’s cognitive thinking…[in which] there is [to be] no hint of the mind being passive.” (Gilley, Biblical Discipleship – Prayer). Yet entire books are written based on these “new cart” premises, many of them highly “popular,” just as popular as the new cart in David’s time.
There are any number of books that fit into the “new cart” category. A series by one author fitting this category will be discussed in an upcoming research paper on this blog site. There is the extensive evidence warning of non-Biblical theories in “Jesus Calling” listed in this blog holdinghiswordhigher (“The Teachings of God Calling”), one of which was the inclusion of mediums and spiritists:
19 When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?20 Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.
– Isaiah 8:19-20 New International Version (NIV)
More disturbing to me as a former Catholic is the steady influx of Catholic influence into today’s church. St. Ignatius Loyola was a Jesuit who received his “visions” for the spiritual disciplines from the Virgin Mary. These disciplines have been translated into the modern-day spiritual formation programs that are being presented in what were once conservative churches. I know of a family where the Spiritual Formation Director shared a practice in “imaginative meditation” that she had recently learned at a Catholic monastic retreat she had attended. Suspecting nothing, the congregation followed her lead as they “imagined” Jesus in their presence as He “healed” them. There is no chapter and verse for this procedure.
There are other Catholic influences of which many are unaware. Women go to conferences hearing references to Teresa of Avila, Julian, Benedict, Brother Lawrence and do not know that not only are these Catholic saints but they are Catholic mystics who were involved in truly bizarre visions, levitation and other unbiblical practices, such as the stigmata. Because these teachings are being taught by popular speakers they are being accepted. But they are “new carts,” supposedly vehicles for God’s Word but, on the contrary, conveyers of heathen doctrines. Their result is the death of truth. Jesus said in John 17:17 “Sanctify them by Thy Word. Thy Word is Truth.” If non-Biblical ideas are being mingled with Biblical ones, it is no longer the truth that is being spoken. Is this truly as grave a matter as it seems? These are the words of Henry Ironside one of the most famous teachers of his time:
Error is like leaven, of which we read, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Chris died. (Reese, Henry Ironside)
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I would like to thank my fellow consultants for all their assistance in getting this blog published: Michelle Arrington, Hannah Hall, Ariel Mcgarry, Carol White, Tracy Yoder, and J.P.Wilhelm. Their encouragement and patience have been invaluable to me.
Gilley, Gary. “‘Biblical Discipleship – Prayer’ by Dr Gary Gilley (Part 1).” The Narrowing Path, 23 Mar. 2014, thenarrowingpath.com/2014/03/20/biblical-discipleship-prayer-by-dr-gary-gilley/.
Reese, Ed. “Henry Ironside.” Symbols of the Apostles, Reese Publications, wellsofgrace.com/biography/english/ironside.htm. This bibliography is one of 46 booklets by Ed Reese in the Christian Hall of Fame series. These short biographies provide good material for Sunday School lessons, family devotions, and reading for young people and adults. Order/information from: Reese Publications, P.O. Box 5625, Lansing, IL 60438; Fax: 708-895-0298; E-mail: Kgreese@aol.com