Come Follow Me

IT WAS A COOL, CLEAR MORNING. IT LOOKED GREAT, BUT IT FELT TERRIBLE.

THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT THE FEAR OF DYING THAT WILL FOUL UP A PERFECTLY GOOD MORNING.

AND THERE WAS PLENTY OF FEAR YOU COULD ALMOST SMELL IT.

YOU SEE, THE WHOLE PHILISTINE ARMY WAS JUST TO THE WEST, UP THE ROAD AT APHEK AND YESTERDAY THE PHILISTINES HAD WON THE FIRST BATTLE AND KILLED 4000 ISRAELITES.

NOW THE ISRAELITES WERE HEADING INTO BATTLE AGAIN AGAINST THE PHILISTINES. LETS TAKE A PEEK AT THEIR BATTLE STRATEGY THIS MORNING-- HOW THEY WOULD HANDLE FEAR: TURN WITH ME TO 1 SAM 4:3.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS LOGIC? THIS BATTLE PLAN?

WAS THE ARK SOMETHING THAT COULD TURN DEFEATED MEN INTO VICTORS? SOMETHING THAT WOULD GIVE YOU THE CONVICTION THAT YOU COULD WIN?

THE ARK, OF COURSE, WAS THE SYMBOL OF GOD'S PRESENCE - LIKE THE PILLAR OF FIRE IN THE WILDERNESS. THEY REMEMBERED WHEN GOD TOOK ISRAEL OUT OF EGYPT, AND THE TOUGH SPOT THEY WERE IN THEN. EXODUS 14 TELLS US THE EGYPTIANS WERE BEHIND THEM, THE RED SEA WAS IN FRONT OF THEM THEY WERE TRAPPED LIKE RATS AND GOD DIVIDED THE RED SEA AND ISRAEL WAS SAVED.

THEN YOU REMEMBER IN JOSHUA CHPT 3 HOW THE RIVER JORDAN AT FLOOD STAGE SEPARATED ISRAEL FROM JERICHO AND THE PROMISED LAND. THE PRIESTS CARRYING THE ARK WENT FIRST INTO THE JORDAN AND IT SEPARATED JUST LIKE THE RED SEA.

LETS READ ON. 1 SAM 4:4-5.

DID THE MEN REMEMBER ABOUT THE ARK? YOU BET THEY DID!

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN AT A SPORTS EVENT WHERE THE FANS MAKE THE GROUND TREMBLE?

MANY YEARS AGO I WAS ON THE MORTON DOWNY, JR. TV SHOW WHEN IT TRAVELLED TO DETROIT'S ORCHESTRAL HALL. IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST INCREDIBLE ADRENALIN PUMPS I HAVE EVER HAD. AS I STOOD ON THE STAGE, HIS FANS ROCKED THE HOUSE. THEY SHOOK THE HALL. THERE WAS TREMENDOUS ENERGY POURING TOWARDS THE STAGE.

THAT IS WHAT THE BIBLE, IN v.5 SAYS HAPPENED HERE. WHEN ISRAEL SAW THE ARK COME INTO THEIR WAR CAMP THEY ROCKED THE HOUSE. THE GROUND SHOOK.

LETS READ ON. v.6-8. YOU THINK ISRAEL REMEMBERED ABOUT THE ARK? THE PHILISTINES REMEMBERED, TOO. THEY KNEW ABOUT ISRAEL'S GOD AND WHAT HE DID TO EGYPT AND THEY TREMBLED.

SO ISRAEL, BY SOME SMART THINKING, HAD THE PHILISTINES JUST WHERE THEY WANTED THEM, RIGHT?

LETS READ ON. v.9-11. THE DEFEAT FOR ISRAEL WAS COMPLETE. THEY LOST 30K MEN, NEARLY 8 TIMES THE NUMBER THE FIRST DAY. THE ARK WAS CAPTURED AND THE HIGH PRIEST'S SON'S WERE KILLED.

"HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?" THEY HAD THE ARK, THEY HAD THE FAITH, EVEN THEIR ENEMIES HAD FAITH IN THE POWER OF THEIR GOD! HOW COULD THIS DISASTER POSSIBLY HAPPEN?

LET ME ASK YOU. CAN YOU THINK OF SOME TIME IN YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU THOUGHT GOD WAS WITH YOU, BUT IT ENDED UP ALL WRONG? HAVE YOU PRAYED FOR GOD TO BE WITH YOU, AND IT ENDED UP BEING A DISASTER?

LET ME SUGGEST TO YOU A THREE WORD ANSWER: "COME FOLLOW ME."

COME FOLLOW ME.

REPEAT AFTER ME. "COME FOLLOW ME."

THE WORLD IS LOOKING FOR LEADERS THE GREAT GOD IN HEAVEN IS LOOKING FOR FOLLOWERS. HIS CALL TO US IS "COME FOLLOW ME."

LOOK AT v.3 AGAIN. GOD'S PEOPLE RECOGNIZED THAT GOD HAD CAUSED THEIR DEFEAT.

DID THAT CAUSE THEM TO QUESTION WHAT THEY WERE DOING FIGHTING THE PHILISTINES? DID IT CROSS THEIR MIND THAT THEY MIGHT BE DOING SOMETHING WRONG? THAT JUST MAYBE THEY SHOULD GO HOME? NOO!

THEY HAD THE BIG HEAD. THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE IN CHARGE THEY WANTED GOD TO DO WHAT THEY WANTED HIM TO DO. SO THEY THOUGHT THEY HAD HIM IN THAT LITTLE BOX AND THEY WOULD DRAG HIM OUT TO THE BATTLE FIELD AND THAT WOULD MAKE THEM WIN. LETS NOT ASK GOD, LETS JUST BOX HIM UP AND DRAG HIM ALONG!

AND 30K MEN DIED THAT DAY!

YOU ARE PROBABLY SAYING, "BRUCE, THIS SERMON IS NOT FOR ME! I WOULD NEVER DO THAT!" I WOULD NEVER BE SO PRESUMPTUOUS. I WOULD NEVER TRY TO PUT GOD IN A BOX."

BUT LET ME ASK YOU. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN DISAPPOINTED WITH GOD? HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT THAT GOD LET YOU DOWN? THAT HE HANDLED SOMETHING IN THE WRONG WAY? THAT HE DID NOT ANSWER WHEN YOU WERE WAITING FOR AN ANSWER?

THIS MEANS YOU THINK YOUR JUDGMENT IS BETTER THAN GOD'S.

WHAT THE ISRAELITES DID, WITH HINDSIGHT, SEEMS REALLY DUMB. BUT IT IS EASY FOR EACH ONE OF US TO FALL INTO THE SAME TRAP.

THE CURE IS THREE WORDS, "COME FOLLOW ME."

THERE ARE TWO THINGS I WANT TO DISCUSS WITH YOU THIS MORNING: WHAT IT MEANS TO FOLLOW GOD. AND, ATTITUDES THAT CAN GET IN THE WAY OF FOLLOWING. * * * I REMEMBER SEVERAL YEARS AGO WHEN I WAS OUT IN CALF. VISITING MY BROTHER. HE TOLD ME THAT HE HAD TO GO PICK UP A CHECK AND TAKE IT TO THE BANK. HE OWNED A SPORTS CAR. ALL I HAD TO DO WAS COME ALONG FOR THE RIDE. EASY, RIGHT?

LITTLE DID I KNOW.

AS WE STROLLED OVER TO HIS CAR, HE MENTIONED THAT HE MIGHT HAVE A PROBLEM WITH HIS BATTERY. ALL OF A SUDDEN, I STARTED REMEMBERING ALL THE TIMES WHEN WE WERE TEENAGERS AND HE HAD "PROBLEMS WITH HIS BATTERY," AND I, WELL, I ENDED UP PUSHING HIS CAR TO GET IT STARTED.

TURNS OUT NOTHING HAD CHANGED WITH MY BROTHER, EXCEPT THE GEOGRAPHY. WHERE WE GREW UP IN MICHIGAN IT WAS FLAT. I DON'T KNOW IF YOU'VE PUSHED A CAR. BUT FLAT GROUND IS IMPORTANT.

WHERE HE WAS IN CALF WAS HILLY AND HOT. SINCE I HAD NOT LIVED WITH HIM FOR AT LEAST 5 YEARS, I HAD GOTTEN SOFT. I WAS NOT USED TO PUSHING CARS.

BUT AS I WAS PUSHING HIS CAR UP THE HILL IN MY SUIT, I HAD PLENTY OF TIME TO CAREFULLY CONSIDER THE CONCEPT OF PUSHING CARS FOR EXERCISE. I COULD EASILY IMAGINE THE VIDEO. "JANE FONDA, PUSHING CARS." "RICHARD SIMMON'S: SWEATIN' WITH OLD STUDEBAKERS."

I DID NOT PUSH MY OWN CARS FOR FUN OR EXERCISE. I HAD DISCOVERED SOMETHING CALLED "TOW SERVICE."

APPARENTLY, MY BROTHER THOUGHT "TOW SERVICE" WAS SOME KIND OF PEDICURE.

SO HERE I WAS IN MY SUIT, PUSHING THIS SPORTS CAR UP (MOSTLY UP) THE HILLS TO TRY TO GET IT STARTED. IT FINALLY STARTED, BUT ONLY AFTER I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO PUKE.

SO WE WERE ON OUR WAY, FINALLY. THEN MY BROTHER DECIDED TO FILL ME IN ON SOME OF THE DETAILS OF OUR LITTLE MISSION. I WON'T BORE YOU WITH THE DETAILS. BUT LET ME SHARE WITH YOU THE FOUR MOST CRITICAL FACTS THAT CAUGHT MY ATTENTION.

FIRST, WE HAD TO PICK UP THE CHECK, AND DEPOSIT IT IN THE BANK BEFORE IT CLOSED.

SECOND, IF WE DROVE 65 MILES AN HOUR THE WHOLE WAY, AND THE CHECK WAS READY WHEN WE GOT THERE, WE WOULD GET TO THE BANK ON TIME.

THIRD, IF WE DIDN'T GET THIS CHECK DEPOSITED TODAY, A CRIMINAL PROSECUTION WAS A REAL POSSIBILITY.

FOURTH, HIS CAR HAD A BROKEN REAR SHOCK ABSORBER.

WITH MY BROTHER, YOU JUST KNOW CERTAIN THINGS BEFORE THEY HAPPEN. I KNEW THAT THIS CHECK WOULD NOT BE READY. AND I WAS RIGHT.

SO AFTER WE FINALLY GOT IT, WE WERE LITERALLY GOING 85 MILES AN HOUR ON THE SANTA MONICA FREEWAY WEAVING THROUGH HEAVY TRAFFIC. IF YOUR SHOCK IS BROKEN, YOUR WHEEL JUST VIBRATES UP AND DOWN. SO IT SOUNDED LIKE A JACK HAMMER IN THE BACK OF THE CAR.

IN VIEW OF ALL THIS, MY HEAD WAS BETWEEN MY KNEES IN THE CRASH POSITION.

MY BROTHER HAD SAID, "LETS DRIVE TO THE BANK." CHRIST ASKS US, "COME FOLLOW ME."

LIKE MY BROTHER'S INVITATION TO GO TO THE BANK WITH HIM, CHRIST'S INVITATION IS NOT ONE TO TAKE LIGHTLY. TURN WITH ME TO MATT 10:37-39.

IN MATT 10 JESUS SENDS OUT HIS DISCIPLES. [NOT READ] YOU'VE HEARD OF STUDENT TEACHERS. YOU'VE HEARD OF STUDENT DRIVERS. WELL, THIS WAS STUDENT DISCIPLE TIME. CHRIST GIVES THEM INSTRUCTIONS AND THEN IN v. 37-39 HE TELLS THEM ABOUT THE MISSION. ABOUT THEIR VISION. READ

THIS IS SERIOUS COMMITMENT

JESUS SPEAKS ELSEWHERE ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF OUR FAMILY. BUT HERE HE SAYS THAT FOLLOWING HIM CAN MEAN: GIVING UP YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR PARENTS OR YOUR CHILDREN. GIVING UP YOUR LIFE.

IF YOU KEPT READING IN MATT YOU WOULD FIND IN CHPT 19 THE STORY OF THE RICH YOUNG RULER. THERE, "COME FOLLOW ME" MEANT GIVING UP YOUR MONEY.

THINK ABOUT IT: YOUR FAMILY (YOUR FOLKS, YOUR SPOUSE, YOUR KIDS), YOUR MONEY AND YOUR OWN SKIN ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO YOU. JESUS SAYS THAT THE IMPERATIVE TO FOLLOW HIM IS STRONGER THAN ANY OF THOSE THINGS.

THESE WERE NOT JUST WORDS TO JESUS, OUR EXAMPLE.

FOR JESUS, FOLLOWING MEANT ALL OF THOSE THINGS. HE GAVE UP HIS POSITION WITH HIS FATHER TO COME LIVE WITH US. HE GAVE UP HIS HEAVENLY FAMILY HE GAVE UP THE WEALTH OF THE UNIVERSE TO BE BORN IN A FEED TROUGH HE FOLLOWED THE PATH TO A PAINFUL DEATH. A PATH THAT MATT. 26:39 REVEALS HE WOULD HAVE PREFERRED TO AVOID IF THERE WAS AN ALTERNATIVE.(SEE ALSO MATT 16:22-24 AND JOHN 12:25-27)

"COME FOLLOW ME" IS A SERIOUS COMMITMENT. AND IF WE ARE WILLING TO GIVE UP ALL -- IT WILL BE HARD TO BE DISAPPOINTED WITH GOD.

FORTUNATELY, VERY FEW OF US HAVE BEEN FORCED TO CHOSE BETWEEN OUR FAMILY AND CHRIST TO FOLLOW HIM.

VERY FEW OF US CAN SAY THAT WE GAVE UP A FORTUNE TO FOLLOW CHRIST

NONE OF US HAD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN OUR LIFE AND FOLLOWING CHRIST.

I DON'T THINK WE CAN SAY WHAT WE WOULD DO IF FACED WITH ONE OF THESE CHOICES. WORSE, I DON'T THINK WE ARE READY TO MAKE THE CHOICE.

AND THAT BRINGS ME TO THE PROBLEM. WHAT, AS A PRACTICAL MATTER, GETS IN THE WAY OF "COME FOLLOW ME," IS WHAT I CALL THE BIG HEAD! WITH THE BIG HEAD COMES THE BIG EYES OR THE BIG MOUTH.

LETS TALK ABOUT WHAT I CALL THE "BIG HEAD."

I USE THE TERM "THE BIG HEAD" TO DESCRIBE THE SITUATION WHERE WE FALL IN TO THE TRAP OF THINKING THAT OUR OPINION IS MORE VALUABLE THAN GOD'S OPINION.

NO ONE HERE WOULD ADMIT TO HAVING SUCH THOUGHTS. NO ONE WOULD SAY, "I KNOW BETTER THAN GOD."

BUT I MIGHT VERY WELL SAY THAT GOD'S OPINION IS MY OPINION. GOD AGREES WITH ME. SO WHAT I THINK IS WHAT GOD THINKS.

TWO WAYS TO GET TO THIS POINT.

THE FIRST IS WHAT I CALL THE "BIG EYES."

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A BABY THAT IS FASCINATED WITH EVERYTHING THAT HE OR SHE SEES? EVERYTHING THAT MOVES HAS HIS ATTENTION. HE IS JUST LOOKING ALL OVER THE PLACE.

BIG EYES PEOPLE ARE LIKE THAT. EVERYTHING HAS THEIR ATTENTION, EXCEPT GOD. EXCEPT, MAYBE ON SABBATH. THEY'VE GOT TV TO WATCH BOOKS TO READ WORK TO DO SPORTS TO PLAY CHRIST SAYS IN MATT 6:31 "SEEK FIRST [GOD'S] KINGDOM" BUT FOR THESE PEOPLE GOD IS NOT EVEN CLOSE TO FIRST.

EVERYTHING IN LIFE HAS GOT THEIR ATTENTION

SO THEY DON'T HAVE TIME TO READ THE BIBLE THEY DON'T HAVE TIME TO STUDY THE BIBLE THEY DON'T HAVE TIME TO DISCUSS THE BIBLE THEY DON'T HAVE TIME TO GET TO KNOW GOD.

THEY HAVE MAYBE ONE HOUR A WEEK. AND ITS HERE. AND I MAY BE TALKING TO YOU DURING YOUR ONE HOUR. OUCH!

AS A RESULT, THE "ONE HOUR A WEEK" PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW GOD'S OPINION. THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT HE HAS SAID ABOUT A SUBJECT THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT GOD THINKS ABOUT A SUBJECT THEY DON'T KNOW GOD'S APPROACH.

THEY KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT GOD. BUT THEY DON'T KNOW GOD!

SO NOT KNOWING WHAT GOD SAID ABOUT A SUBJECT, THEY EASILY THINK THAT THEIR OPINION IS GOD'S OPINION.

AND WHEN GOD DOESN'T DO WHAT THEY WANT HIM TO DO, THEY GET UPSET. BECAUSE GOD DID NOT DO WHAT HE WAS SUPPOSED TO DO! AND THEY KNEW WHAT HE WAS SUPPOSED TO DO.

TURN WITH ME TO 2 KINGS 5 WHERE WE FIND THE STORY OF NAAMAN. YOU REMEMBER NAAMAN. HE WAS THE GENERAL OF KING ARAM'S ARMY. CHPT 5, VERSE 1 SAYS THAT THE LORD HAD WORKED THROUGH NAAMAN.

BUT NAAMAN HAD THIS TERRIBLE PROBLEM. HE HAD LEPROSY. AN ISRAELITE SLAVE SUGGESTED THAT THE PROPHET ELISHA COULD HEAL NAAMAN.

SO HE WENT.

LETS READ 2 KINGS 5:9-11.

NAAMAN HAD THE BIG HEAD. HE DIDN'T KNOW GOD. HE KNEW ABOUT GOD. BIG DIFFERENCE! HE HAD FIXED OPINIONS ABOUT HOW PROPHETS SHOULD HEAL IMPORTANT MEN.

THE FIRST THING THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO DO WAS COME OUT OF THEIR HOUSE. ELISHA STAYED IN HIS HOUSE

THE SECOND THING THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO DO WAS CALL OUT FOR THEIR GOD TO ACT. MAYBE CHANT SOMETHING APPROPRIATE.

AND THEN THEY SHOULD WAVE THEIR ARMS AROUND OVER THE PROBLEM AREA.

THAT WAS THE WAY YOU HEALED AN IMPORTANT MAN. THE WAY YOU HEALED GENERALS.

SO WE ARE TOLD NAAMAN WAS ANGRY BECAUSE GOD DID NOT DO WHAT HE WAS SUPPOSED TO DO.

I CAN TELL YOU, IF HE HAD NOT FOLLOWED GOD IN SPITE OF HIS OWN OPINION, HE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN HEALED.

"COME FOLLOW ME."

LETS TALK ABOUT THE BIG MOUTH.

YOU ALL KNOW PEOPLE WITH A BIG MOUTH. I SEE THEM ALL THE TIME GENERALLY IN THE MORNING. WHEN I LOOK IN THE MIRROR. I HAVE ONE.

IT'S YOUR SINS THAT YOU SEE IN OTHERS -- THAT'S WHY I OFTEN PREACH ABOUT MY OWN SINS.

I GOT "THE BIG MOUTH" HONESTLY.

A GREAT DEAL OF MY JOB IS GIVING ADVICE TO PEOPLE WHO CALL. PEOPLE FROM THE CHURCH ASK ME FOR ADVICE WHEN I TEACH MY CLASS, I GIVE MY OPINION WHEN I PREACH A SERMON, I GIVE MY OPINION. PRETTY SOON IT IS EASY TO THINK THAT MY OPINION IS WORTH SOMETHING.

THOSE WHO SUFFER FROM THE "BIG MOUTH" AS I USE THAT TERM -- READ THE BIBLE PROBABLY STUDY THE BIBLE MIGHT EVEN DISCUSS THE BIBLE THEY MIGHT EVEN PRAY TO UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE AND BECAUSE OF THAT, IT IS SO EASY TO SUBSTITUTE THEIR OPINION FOR GOD'S OPINION.

SEVERAL WEEKS AGO I WAS READING AN ADVICE COLUMN IN A CHURCH PAPER.

A MAN WROTE IN SAYING HIS WIFE LOVED TO DANCE AND HE ASKED IF THEY COULD DANCE AT HOME.

SLOW DANCE WITH HIS WIFE AT HOME.

THE AUTHOR OF THIS COLUMN HAS HIS DOCTORATE IN THEOLOGY. HE WRITES AN ADVICE COLUMN FOR THE CHURCH THE CHURCH PAYS HIM TO GIVE HIS OPINION DO YOU THINK HE THINKS HIS OPINION IS WORTH SOMETHING? OF COURSE HE THINKS HIS OPINION IS WORTH SOMETHING!

HE ANSWERED THAT MAN WHO WANTED TO DANCE WITH HIS WIFE BY SAYING THE BIBLE DID NOT SPEAK TO THAT ISSUE.

BUT DID HE STOP THERE? NOOO! HE TOLD THE FELLOW HE SHOULD NOT DO IT. TALKED ABOUT HIS PASSIONS BEING INFLAMED.

MY FRIENDS THE SIN WAS NOT IN THIS FELLOW DANCING AT HOME WITH HIS WIFE. THE SIN WAS IN TELLING THIS FELLOW THAT SOMETHING WAS WRONG WHEN THE BIBLE DID NOT SPEAK TO THE SUBJECT.

LET ME READ SOME TEXTS TO YOU:

DEUT 4:1-2: "HEAR NOW, O ISRAEL, THE DECREES AND LAWS I AM ABOUT TO TEACH YOU....DO NOT ADD TO WHAT I COMMAND YOU AND DO NOT SUBTRACT FROM IT,..."

PROV. 30:5-6: "EVERY WORD OF GOD IS FLAWLESS; HE IS A SHIELD TO THOSE WHO TAKE REFUGE IN HIM. DO NOT ADD TO HIS WORDS, OR HE WILL REBUKE YOU AND PROVE YOU A LIAR."

YOU MIGHT WANT TO CHECK COLOSSIANS 2:20-23 AND ECCL. 3:14.

LISTEN TO ME HERE. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH GIVING YOUR OPINION FOR SITUATIONS NOT CLEARLY COVERED BY THE BIBLE.

THE SIN COMES IN MAKING YOUR OPINION THE STANDARD. AND THEN TELLING OTHERS THEY SHOULD LIVE BY THAT STANDARD.

THAT WAS WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THE JEWS IN JESUS TIME. THEY HAD THE BIG MOUTH. GOD GAVE TEN COMMANDMENTS THEY HAD BLOWN THEM UP INTO HUNDREDS (THOUSANDS) OF RULES.

SO DO YOU SEE THE TWIN PROBLEMS? POLAR OPPOSITES: -NOT KNOWING GOD -KNOWING GOD, BUT ADDING YOUR OPINION AS BINDING.

BOTH OF THESE, THOUGH THEY ARE POLAR OPPOSITES, RESULT IN FOLLOWING YOUR OWN WILL, NOT GOD'S WILL. "COME FOLLOW ME" MEANS FOLLOWING GOD'S WILL!

LETS GO FULL CIRCLE TO OUR STORY. YOU REMEMBER THAT THE PHILISTINES HAD CAPTURED THE ARK OF THE COVENANT. IT WAS A BIT LIKE THE "RANSOM OF RED CHIEF," IF YOU REMEMBER THAT BOOK. THE ARK WAS BIG TROUBLE FOR THEM AND THEIR GODS. WITHIN 7 MONTHS THE PHILISTINES WERE SENDING IT BACK. (1 SAM 6)

THEY PUT IT IN A CART ALONG WITH A "GUILT OFFERING," HITCHED THE CART TO TWO YOUNG COWS, AND THE COWS HEADED STRAIGHT BACK TO ISRAEL.

LETS READ 1 SAM 6:12-13.

ULTIMATELY KING DAVID DECIDES TO GO GET THE ARK AND BRING IT TO JERUSALEM.

LETS READ 2 SAM 6:3-4, 6-9.

IT APPEARS THAT DAVID MADE THE RETURN OF THE ARK A NATIONAL AFFAIR, BECAUSE (v.1) OF THE LARGE NUMBERS INVOLVED.

BUT DAVID BECOMES EMBARRASSED AND ANGRY. HE SAYS, "GOD, WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU? I'M JUST TRYING TO DO A GOOD THING AND YOU ARE KILLING MY PEOPLE!"

WAS GOD BEING UNJUST? NO. DAVID WAS HAULING THE ARK IN A NEW CART, JUST AS THE PHILISTINES HAD BEEN HAULING IT!

BUT IF DAVID HAD FOLLOWED GOD, IF HE HAD TAKEN THE TIME TO STUDY THE ANCIENT TEXTS ABOUT HOW THE ARK SHOULD BE HANDLED, HE WOULD HAVE LEARNED THAT THE ARK WAS ONLY TO BE CARRIED. GOD GAVE SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS ON THIS IN NUMBERS 4. (SEE ALSO NUMBERS 7:5- 9)

ULTIMATELY, WE LEARN FROM 1 CHRONICLES 15 THAT DAVID DID STUDY THE LORD'S WILL, HE LEARNED THAT THE ARK SHOULD ONLY BE CARRIED, AND DETERMINED TO FOLLOW GOD AND DO IT RIGHT.

LETS READ 2 SAM 6: 12b - 15.

MY FRIENDS THAT IS THE RESULT. WHEN WE STUDY TO KNOW GODS WILL, THEN WE ARE IN THE POSITION TO CHOSE TO FOLLOW HIM. WHEN WE DETERMINE TO FOLLOW HIM OUR LIVES WILL BE FILLED WITH JOY AND REJOICING.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN JOY, COME NEXT WEEK, BECAUSE I WILL BE SPEAKING TO YOU ABOUT JOY.

GOD ASKS US TO "COME FOLLOW HIM" AND ENTER INTO THE JOY OF OUR LORD. I INVITE YOU TODAY TO COME, FOLLOW HIM!

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