Do Not Touch (2 Samuel 6:1-9)
I moved to work with a little church in Kentucky several years ago. My first Sunday there, we had a potluck in the basement. There was a couple in the church there who believed eating in the church building is sinful. Therefore, they left the congregation where I was preaching and placed membership at one of the independent Christian churches in town. I have always been baffled by that: a couple who opposed eating in the building were okay with instrumental music.
I’m confident that I’m not the only one here this morning who has seen interesting offenses in a congregation. I know some of you left congregations over doctrinal issues. I am confident that many of you have seen people be offended by what someone did or did not do or say. How many people have left this congregation in a tizzy? This morning we want to discuss, not how to keep from offending folks, but how to keep from leading others to sin.
As you look at Scripture, you will find many people led into sin by the actions of others.
- Think about the man of God in 1 Kings 13. God told him to confront Jeroboam, for the king was making sacrifices. God had said: “You shall neither eat bread nor drink water nor return by the way that you came” (v 9). Yet, an old prophet lied and convinced this man of God that an angel had said they could eat together (vv 11-19). For his disobedience in eating with the old prophet, the man of God was killed by a lion (v 24).
- “I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery” (Matt 5:32). Notice that Jesus says her husband “makes her commit adultery.” What does that mean? Think about the culture of Jesus’ day. With only a few exceptions, women could not work outside of the home. So, if a man divorced his wife, she had to find another husband to provide for her; her life depended upon it.
- Peter carried Barnabas into hypocrisy over eating with Gentiles (Gal 2:11-14).
- “Bad company ruins good morals” (1 Cor 15:33).
King David led Uzzah to sin and to die. You know that each one of us shall give an account of himself to God. “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezek 18:4). “Each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Rom 14:12). “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” (Js 1:14).
Yet, some people make it so easy for us to sin. David made it so easy for Uzzah to sin. We want to think about David this morning. We want to learn one lesson from David: Use your influence to lead people closer to Jesus, not further from him.
Scripture (2 Samuel 6:1-9)
David wanted to bring the ark of God to Jerusalem. He wanted the blessings of God, and he apparently wanted to demonstrate to the nation that God needed to be the nation’s focus.
David moved the ark on a new cart. God said to move the ark with poles (Ex 25:10-15). Yet, David, following the custom of his day (1 Sam 6:7-10), moved the ark on a cart.
How many times do we think God is going to be okay with what we do? David is about to receive a powerful lesson that you do things God’s way!
David and all of Israel were praising God as they brought the ark to Jerusalem.
Do you remember how valuable that ark was? God met Moses at that ark (Ex 25:22). In that ark “was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant” (Heb 9:4). Is it any wonder that Indiana Jones tried to find it? Is it any wonder that Uzzah wanted to keep it from falling?
The oxen stumbled, and Uzzah put out his hand to steady the ark. We would very likely have done the exact same thing. Are you really going to sit idly by and see something as valuable as the ark itself shatter in a million pieces?
The Lord struck Uzzah “down . . . because of his error.” David was moving the ark improperly, but Uzzah made the decision to reach out and to touch the ark. If someone entices us to sin, we are still responsible for our own actions. God killed Uzzah for that error; it’s what God promised, and it’s what God did.
David was angry at God. Isn’t it ironic that David sinned, that Uzzah sinned, but David is angry, not at himself or Uzzah, but is angry with the Lord?
David is doing the classical “blame game” and blames God for his troubles. Adam blamed God for his sin: God it’s that woman YOU gave me. Don’t many folks blame God for sins they have committed? How many have blamed God when they suffer the consequences of their sin?
David was afraid of the LORD. Why was David afraid of God? The Lord had carried out a severe but promised judgment.
God does not take his commands lightly. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31). Maybe it’s time that we start being afraid of God. If you were truly afraid of God, would that change the way you treat your spouse? If you were truly afraid of God, would that change what you watch on TV? If you were truly afraid of God, would that change how you worship?
Do any of you really lead people to sin? You likely do so very frequently without even realizing it. If I get upset with my spouse and start shouting and saying things I ought not, what’s the likelihood that she’ll do the same? If I watch indecent programs on TV, my children could easily be carried along to do the same thing. If I hear some juicy gossip at work and I can’t wait to share it and others begin to share what I’ve shared, have we not sinned? If I habitually miss Sunday evening worship and another Christian holds me in high regard, my forsaking the assembly could lead to his doing so, too. What about the way we treat co-workers?
Obviously, we need to lead people to Jesus, not to sin. How can we keep from leading people to sin?
You need to figure out what sin really is. How can you keep from leading people to sin if you do not know what sin is?
Sin is a violation of the will of God. “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness” (1 Jn 3:4). “There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy” (Js 4:12). Since God is the lawgiver and sin is lawlessness, sin is violating God’s will.
God has provided us very specific lists of sin: 1 Corinthians 6, Galatians 5, and Revelation 21. Read through those lists. Get a piece of paper and write down those sins. Make columns and make these categories: Home, Work, Church, Public. Put a checkmark in those areas where you have sinned recently. Be brutally honest with yourself. Did your sin lead anyone else to sin?
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor 10:13).
Every single sin you have committed in your life could have been avoided if you had looked for that way of escape. I cannot speak for you, but I have a very serious need to look much harder for that way of escape.
Think back to your examination of what sins you’ve committed and where. Be honest. What was your way out? How could you have avoided leading someone into sin?
Focus on how you can do better in the future; plan to do differently.
We need to be careful when planning and remember that our plans are contingent on the will of God (Js 4:15), but there’s nothing wrong with planning. God himself planned; about John the Baptizer we read: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight'” (Matt 3:3). God encourages planning: Proverbs 6:6-8.
Think back over the sins you’ve committed recently. What might you have done differently?
Think about a sin you committed that led someone else into sin. Get off to yourself and play that scenario in your mind over and over. Now think of a scenario where you might lead someone into the same sin. How can you act differently next time? Commit to doing differently and pray for God’s strength.
You must forget all about yourself and seek to serve others.
It’s very possible that David brought the ark to Jerusalem for ulterior motives. David very likely was looking for a blessing for himself. The Lord blessed the household of Obed-edom the Gittite because the ark was in his house. David was certain that if he got that ark the Lord would richly bless him. David had to have that ark: He wasn’t concerned about the wellbeing of his men, he didn’t care how it was moved; David was going to have that ark! How might the situation have been different if David had thought of others before self?
You absolutely must cultivate a servant heart: a heart that seeks to bring people closer to Jesus, not to push him away.
If you do not want to lead someone into sin, you need to look out for his/her interests. Philippians 2:3-8. Are you like Jesus? Are you finding ways to serve your fellow man? Make this week a week of service. What can you do for those around you? Commit to doing one “good deed” a day for someone else.
We’re talking about how we might lead others to sin. So, why would I ask you to serve others? I want you to get into the habit of thinking about other people. You have to stop thinking only of yourself. How can your life, like the Lord Jesus in the flesh before you, be a life of service unto God?
As we think of serving others, realize your life is not really your own.
- Your life is to render service to God. “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl 12:13). “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price” (1 Cor 6:19-20).
- Your life is to render service to others. Matthew 20:26-28. Romans 13:8-10.
Find a way this week that you can serve. Serve a brother or sister or someone in the world. Get out of yourself and get in the habit of thinking about others and serving others.
If we lived in a world where people used their influence to bring people closer to Jesus, what might that world look like? Do you think that might change what programs TV networks produced? Do you think that might change the subjects taught in public schools? Do you think our government would be drastically different? We would not need the Department of Defense in such a world. We would not see our tax dollars spent on abortions.
How might your life be different if you sought to bring people closer to Jesus? Can you make a commitment to bring others to Jesus? Do you need our help? Do you need to repent of sin? Do you need to be baptized for the remission of your sins?
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Dale Ridge church of Christ in Roanoke, Virginia.