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Knowing God with the heart vs. the head

Obed Edom, the Levite, loved to worship God, his Heavenly Father. As written from last week’s column, he loved being close to God’s presence. From the narrative in 2 Samuel 6:2-4, there is another Levite who housed the Ark of the Covenant, Abinadab.

“Again, David gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.

“And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the Lord of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubim.

”And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart.

“And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark.”

Abinadab was a Levite who was trained to handle the sacredness of the Tabernacle furniture, utensils, and especially, the Ark of the Covenant. For 50 or so years, the Ark was in his house. The Scriptures never mentioned that God had blessed his home for taking care of the Ark, which represented the presence of God. One may wonder why no heavenly blessings were bestowed on his household. As a Levite father, he was to instruct his sons on the proper care and respect of handling the sacredness of the Ark. For around five decades, no one sought after the presence of God. No one wanted to worship in His presence at the home of Abinadab. No one wanted to take the Ark to King Saul’s palace so that the king’s administration could seek God’s wisdom in their decisions. No one sought after God’s favor.

When Abinadab died, the care of the Ark fell to his sons, Ahio and Uzzah. They were Levites who supposedly were trained in the proper method of its care and transportation. When King David came to transport the Ark to Jerusalem, they built a new cart for its transportation. Ahio and Uzzah somehow helped others place the Ark onto the cart totally ignoring the proper method of transportation. Four Levites were to carry the Ark upon their shoulders, not place it in a cart. Verse 7 says, “And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.” His error was his disregard for the sacredness of the things of God.

Compare that passage to verse 11, “And the ark of the Lord continued in the house of Obed Edom the Gittite three months and the lord blessed Obed Edom, and all his household.”

Both men, Obed Edom and Abinadad, were Levites. Both were trained in the proper handling of the Ark and the furniture from the Tabernacle. Both men knew the Scriptures concerning Levitical mannerisms and procedures. However, both men had opposite views of the things of God.

Obed Edom loved the presence of God and worship. He lovingly guarded the Ark in his home and taught his family how to respect the presence of God. On the other hand, Abinadad had very little respect for God’s presence. He housed the Ark in his home, but notice that his sons, Ahio and Uzzah had very little respect regarding the Ark. They knew the Levitical procedures, but willingly disregarded them. They did not lament over the removal of the Ark, but seemed to be glad to get it out of the house. They had a head knowledge of God, but not a heart knowledge. They housed the representative of the presence of God, but they failed to house His presence in their hearts. Their attitudes were far from a personal relationship with God.

With that comparison in mind, do we maintain a head knowledge of God, or do we seek a personal relationship with God? May we follow the example of Obed Edom and place a value on God’s presence and favor in our lives.



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