Introduction: After Uzzah died for touching the ark, David brought the ark to Jerusalem as God intended. The ark was meant to be a place where the Jews could encounter God’s presence. Here, God reveals seven lessons on finding fellowship with Him. These include: (1) seeking His Word, (2) service, (3) purity, (4) obedience, (5) worship, (6) joy, and (7) forgiveness.
First, the ark (which included God’s Word), remained hidden after Uzzah died from touching it. It was also hidden during all of Saul’s reign. David sought to restore true worship by returning the ark (God’s Word) to Jerusalem where the Temple would be built. He sought to restore God’s fellowship by having His people be in God’s presence through His Word. God also wants you to seek out His fellowship through His Word. Second, David called together the Levites assigned for worship to prepare them for service. They were the ones who would help reconcile the people with God. God also wants you to find fellowship with Him by serving others as His light to the lost. Third, David called upon God’s people to purify themselves and live holy lives as God intended. God also calls upon you to be holy and consecrated for His use. Fourth, the Jews previously failed to properly transport the ark in the manner that God ordained. This time, they learned from their mistake and transported the ark in the manner God required. From the Jews’ example, God reveals that true fellowship includes obeying His Word. Fifth, David led the Jews in worship. God also wants you to find fellowship through worship. Sixth, David was joyful for the chance to be in God’s presence. God wants you to know that you are in His fellowship when you experience the joy of His Spirit. Finally, David’s joyful dancing caused his wife Michal to despise him. She harbored resentment toward him. She could not forgive him for how he had treated her. Unlike Michal, God requires you to forgive others when they hurt you. If you cannot forgive others, God may not forgive you. This will impede your fellowship with Him.
David built a tent to allow for the Jews to be in the presence of God’s ark. To prepare for the arrival of the ark in Jerusalem, David built a tent to house it until the Temple could be built: “1 Now David built houses for himself in the city of David; and he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. 2 Then David said, ‘No one is to carry the ark of God but the Levites; for the Lord chose them to carry the ark of God and to minister to Him forever.’” (1 Chr. 15:1-2; 2 Sam. 6:17). The ark was previously kept in Gibeon (1 Chr. 16:39-40). After Uzzah died as a result of the Jews improper transportation of the ark, David kept the ark with Obed-edom until a tent in Jerusalem was ready, and God told David that the time was right (1 Chr. 13:14). The Jews previously erred in carrying the ark by allowing non-Levites to carry it on a cart (1 Chr. 13:7-10). Only the Levites were allowed to carry the ark and only on poles: “At that time the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to serve Him and to bless in His name until this day.” (Dt. 10:8). “When Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy objects and all the furnishings of the sanctuary, when the camp is to set out, after that the sons of Kohath shall come to carry them, so that they will not touch the holy objects and die. These are the things in the tent of meeting which the sons of Kohath are to carry.” (Nu. 4:15).
David fulfilled God’s plan to bring the ark to Jerusalem. God told the Jews that they were to seek His holy presence at a place of His choosing: “But you shall seek the LORD at the place which the LORD your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come. . . then it shall come about that the place in which the LORD your God will choose for His name to dwell, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution of your hand, and all your choice votive offerings which you will vow to the LORD.” (Dt. 12:5, 11). David obeyed the Spirit by bringing the ark to Jerusalem for the future Temple. Yet, God would not let David build the Temple because of the blood on his hands: “But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 'You have shed much blood and have waged great wars; you shall not build a house to My name, because you have shed so much blood on the earth before Me.” (1 Chr. 22:8). God later confirmed to Solomon that he built a Temple in the place of God’s choosing: “Then the LORD appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, ‘I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice.”’ (2 Chr. 7:12).
God ordered the Jews to move the ark so that He could dwell with His people. The ark was not meant to be hidden from Israel. It was important for David to retrieve the ark because it was from the mercy seat that God promised to speak to Israel’s high priest: “There I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel.” (Ex. 25:22; 29:43; 30:6; Lev. 1:1; 16:2; Nu. 7:89; 17:4; 1 Sam. 4:4; 1 Chron. 13:6; Ps. 80:1). God further ordered the Jews to build the ark and the sanctuary around it so that He could dwell with His people: “8 Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them. 9 According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it.” (Ex. 25:8-9). A “Mishken” or Tabernacle is the noun form of the Hebrew word “shachan”, which means to lodge or dwell. God wanted to dwell with His people the way a husband dwells with his wife. When Jesus became flesh, He “dwelt (“shachan”) amongst us.” (Jo. 1:14). He currently dwells in the hearts of believers. In heaven, He dwells with His bride (the Church) (Rev. 19:7). Like David, God wants you to seek Him out through His Word to encounter His fellowship.
Jesus also seeks your fellowship. Jesus also wants you to seek out His fellowship: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev. 3:20). Yet, many refuse His offer of fellowship: “Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, 2 ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. 3 And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. 4 Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, ‘Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”’ (Matt. 22:1-4). Those who accept His offer to dine with Him in heaven will be blessed: “When one of those who were reclining at the table with Him heard this, he said to Him, ‘Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”’ (Lk. 14:15). Being saved is the first step on a journey towards fellowship. Jesus wants a deeper relationship with you after you are saved. This comes through reading the Word and prayer.
David assembled the Levites to prepare for service after the arrival of the ark. After building a tent to house the ark, David gathered the Levites to prepare for its arrival: “3 And David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the Lord to its place which he had prepared for it. 4 David gathered together the sons of Aaron and the Levites: 5 of the sons of Kohath, Uriel the chief, and 120 of his relatives; 6 of the sons of Merari, Asaiah the chief, and 220 of his relatives; 7 of the sons of Gershom, Joel the chief, and 130 of his relatives; 8 of the sons of Elizaphan, Shemaiah the chief, and 200 of his relatives; 9 of the sons of Hebron, Eliel the chief, and 80 of his relatives; 10 of the sons of Uzziel, Amminadab the chief, and 112 of his relatives.” (1 Chr. 15:3-10). David’s preparations also included the Levites’ help in offering sacrifices to prepare the people for God’s ark: “So they brought in the ark of the LORD . . . and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.” (2 Sam. 6:17; 1 Chr. 16:1-2; 2 Chr. 1:4). Each of the Levites that he assembled had assigned roles for restoring proper worship in Israel (Dt. 10:8). Each had to prepare and perform their assigned role in helping to restore the Jews’ fellowship as God’s light to the lost.
Serve Jesus by helping others. The Levites who appeared before David served God by serving others who sought to be reconciled and in fellowship with God. You were also created for His “good works.” (Eph. 2:10). Jesus wants you to serve Him by humbling yourself and becoming a servant others in need: “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,” (Matt. 20:26; 23:11; Mk. 9:35; Lk. 22:26). Your service to Jesus should include showing compassion and charity for those who are less fortunate: “Thus has the LORD of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother;”’ (Zech. 7:9). “Thus says the LORD, ‘Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place.”’ (Jer. 22:3). “Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” (Is. 1:17). “Vindicate the weak and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute.” (Ps. 82:3). “One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his good deed.” (Prov. 19:17). In James 1:27, you are also told that “pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” Likewise, in Micah 6:8, you are told that God expects you to: “do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” On the Day of Judgment, Jesus will ask each person what they did for the needy: “I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matt. 25:40). Conversely, Jesus warns: ‘“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’” (Matt. 25:45). “He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered.” (Prov. 21:13). How will you answer Jesus when asked what you have done with your talents to help the poor, the oppressed, and the disadvantaged?
You are also Jesus’ light to the lost. God previously used the Levites to represent His light. “I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you, and I will appoint you as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations,” (Is. 42:6). Jesus is the light of the world. “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”’ (Jo. 8:12). Today, every believer in Christ is part of His Holy priesthood. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” (1 Pet. 2:9). As part of the “royal priesthood” belonging to Jesus, you are meant to represent His light to the lost: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;” (Matt. 5:14). When you are seeking to reconcile others to Jesus, you will experience His fellowship.
David calls upon the people to consecrate themselves. After gathering God’s people together, God called upon the people to purify themselves and live as a holy people: “11 Then David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel and Amminadab, 12 and said to them, ‘You are the heads of the fathers’ households of the Levites; consecrate yourselves both you and your relatives, that you may bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel to the place that I have prepared for it. 13 Because you did not carry it at the first, the Lord our God made an outburst on us, for we did not seek Him according to the ordinance.’ 14 So the priests and the Levites consecrated themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel.” (1 Chr. 15:11-14). The Jews previously defiled the holy ark when Uzzah touched it in a misguided effort to save it from falling off a cart (2 Sam. 6:3; 1 Chr. 13:7-9). Because he violated God’s law, God killed Uzzah as an example for others (2 Sam. 6:7-8; 1 Chr. 13:10-11).
David commands the priests to purify themselves and properly transport the ark1
Purify yourself for God. When Moses brought God’s Word down from Mount Horeb, he also told the people to prepare themselves by purifying themselves to be holy: “So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people, and they washed their garments.” (Ex. 19:14). When Josiah led the people in a religious renewal, he also told the people to sanctify themselves: “Now slaughter the Passover animals, sanctify yourselves and prepare for your brethren to do according to the word of the LORD by Moses.” (2 Chr. 35:6). Nehemiah also called upon the people to purify themselves: “And I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves and come as gatekeepers to sanctify the sabbath day. For this also remember me, O my God, and have compassion on me according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness.” (Neh. 13:22). “The priests and the Levites purified themselves; they also purified the people, the gates and the wall.” (Neh. 12:30). God also wants you to purify yourself for His use.
Show your gratitude by living a holy life. Out of gratitude, God also wants you to try to live a holy life as an example to others: “Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.’” (Lev. 19:2; 1 Pet. 1:16). “You shall be blameless before the LORD your God.” (Dt. 18:13). “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48). “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;” (Eph. 5:1). “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love” (Eph. 1:4). Is your life a holy testament to your gratitude toward God?
The Levites carry the ark in the manner God ordained. After the Jews were convicted for their mistake, they obeyed God’s law by carrying the ark in the manner He required: “15 The sons of the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles thereon, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord.” (1 Chr. 15:15). God required the Levites to carry the ark on their shoulders using poles: “You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark with them.” (Ex. 25:14). The Jews finally understood the importance of obeying God’s Word as He required.
Live in obedience to God’s Word. God ordered the Jews to build the ark with two poles made of acacia or shittim wood for carrying the ark. The poles were meant to allow for the ark to be transported on the shoulders of men (Ex. 25:14-15). God further decreed that only the sons of Kohath from the tribe of Levite could transport the ark (Nu. 4:15). The Jews could not claim to please God if they did not follow His Word as it was written.
Obey God’s Word as it is written, not how you think it should be written. When Moses gave the Law, he warned the Jews to follow it without deviating from it in any way: “So you shall observe to do just as the LORD your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left.” (Dt. 5:32). “and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.” (Dt. 28:14). “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.” (Josh. 1:7). “Do not turn to the right nor to the left; turn your foot from evil.” (Prov. 4:27). Josiah was remembered as one of the Jews greatest kings because he “did [not] turn aside to the right or to the left.” (2 Kgs. 22:2). God also wants you to obey all of His Word.
Obedience is a sign of someone living in the fellowship of a covenant relationship. God told the Jews that their obedience was a sign that they were in a covenant relationship with Him: “Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;” (Ex. 19:5). “God said further to Abraham, ‘Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.”’ (Gen. 17:9). Are you living in a covenant relationship with Jesus through your obedience?
Jesus is not your Lord if you refuse to do what He says. A believer may proclaim Jesus as Lord. Yet, Jesus is not your Lord if you openly disobey Him: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” (Matt. 7:21). “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Lk. 6:46). “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” (Jam. 1:22). “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matt. 7:24). “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” (Matt. 7:26). Is your faith evidenced through obedience to Jesus’ Word?
The Jews praise God for His grace in giving them a second chance to be in His presence. After being given a second chance to be in God’s holy presence, the Jews praised God: “16 Then David spoke to the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their relatives the singers, with instruments of music, harps, lyres, loud-sounding cymbals, to raise sounds of joy. 17 So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel, and from his relatives, Asaph the son of Berechiah; and from the sons of Merari their relatives, Ethan the son of Kushaiah, 18 and with them their relatives of the second rank, Zechariah, Ben, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom and Jeiel, the gatekeepers. 19 So the singers, Heman, Asaph and Ethan were appointed to sound aloud cymbals of bronze; 20 and Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah and Benaiah, with harps tuned to alamoth; 21 and Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel and Azaziah, to lead with lyres tuned to the sheminith. 22 Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was in charge of the singing; he gave instruction in singing because he was skillful. 23 Berechiah and Elkanah were gatekeepers for the ark. 24 Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah and Eliezer, the priests, blew the trumpets before the ark of God. Obed-edom and Jehiah also were gatekeepers for the ark.” (1 Chr. 15:16-24). David previously celebrated as they brought back the ark before Uzzah’s death: “8 David and all Israel were celebrating before God with all their might, even with songs and with lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals and with trumpets.” (1 Chr. 13:8; 2 Sam. 6:5). God’s grace in giving the Jews a second chance to bring the ark back was a reason for the Jews to again celebrate.
Praise Jesus for His Word and His grace. God told the Jews that His holy house was meant to be a house of praise: “There also you and your households shall eat before the LORD your God, and rejoice in all your undertakings in which the LORD your God has blessed you.” (Dt. 12:7). David fulfilled God’s law not only by returning the ark to Jerusalem but also by praising Him for the chance to be in His holy presence: “Praise Him with loud cymbals; praise Him with resounding cymbals.” (Ps. 150:5). When the Jews rebuilt the Temple, they followed David’s example in praising God: “Now when the builders had laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the LORD according to the directions of King David of Israel.” (Ezra 3:10). “Now at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought out the Levites from all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem so that they might celebrate the dedication with gladness, with hymns of thanksgiving and with songs to the accompaniment of cymbals, harps and lyres.” (Neh. 12:27). Worship helps to clear your mind to receive God’s Word. Thus, you should never skip the worship at your church. Through Jesus’ model prayer for us (the Lord’s prayer), He also invites believers to begin by praising God’s holy name (Matt. 6:9). In worship and in prayer, are you giving God praise for all your unearned gifts?
The ark symbolized the new life available through the Spirit. Our God is alive and directly connected to our lives. The contents of the ark also symbolized the power of the Spirit. God told Moses to put the budding rod of Aaron “before the testimony.” (Nu. 17:10). The budding rod represents the new life of the Holy Spirit, which is only made possible through Christ’s death. “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” (Jo. 1:4). “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (Jo. 3:16). “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,’” (Jo. 11:25-26; 14:19). The flowers represent the Holy Spirit, and the wooden rod represents Christ. The Spirit has “set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Ro. 8:1; Col. 2:13-14). Today, the Spirit has made you alive by dwelling within you (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19). As a rod, the Spirit also has great power. Turn to the Spirit when you need renewal.
The Jews become filled with the joy of God’s Holy Spirit. The Jews did not just praise God. They were also filled with joy at the chance to be in God’s presence: “25 So it was David, with the elders of Israel and the captains over thousands, who went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the house of Obed-edom with joy. 26 Because God was helping the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams. 27 Now David was clothed with a robe of fine linen with all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and the singers and Chenaniah the leader of the singing with the singers. David also wore an ephod of linen. 28 Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with sound of the horn, with trumpets, with loud-sounding cymbals, with harps and lyres.” (1 Chr. 15:25-28). The Jews did not worship in a somber tone in fear that God would again strike them down. They had faith in His grace and felt the joy of His fellowship.
David’s celebration turns into joyful dancing2
Experience the joy of the Holy Spirit. You will know when you find true fellowship when you encounter the joy of the Holy Spirit “Then those who sing as well as those who play the flutes shall say, ‘All my springs of joy are in you.’” (Ps. 87:7). “Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with joyful shouting; then they said among the nations, ‘LORD has done great things for them.”’ (Ps. 126:2). “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouting.” (Job 8:21). “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation; then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.” (Ps. 51:14). “Sarah said, ‘God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.”’ (Gen. 21:6). This joy should also be visible in your giving: “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:7). “For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.” (2 Cor. 8:12; Ex. 25:2). “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” (Heb. 13:15). If the joy is missing in your life, seek more meaningful fellowship with Jesus.
Michal despises David for joyfully dancing before God. David’s joyful acts of celebration did not inspire everyone. Sadly, his joyful dancing caused his wife Michal to despise him: “29 It happened when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and celebrating; and she despised him in her heart.” (1 Chr. 15:29; 2 Sam. 6:16). Michal was Saul’s daughter (1 Sam. 14:49). David previously married her as Saul’s carnal prize for killing 100 Philistines (1 Sam. 18:27). Yet, after David fled for his life, Saul gave her to a man named Palti to remove David’s claim to the throne (1 Sam. 25:44). Years later, Saul’s former general Abner offered to serve David. David then used Abner to kidnap his former wife Michal, even though she was remarried. David did this to strengthen his claim to the throne and to take back that which he felt belonged to him (2 Sam. 3:12-16). He also struggled with the sin of lust. Before arriving in Hebron, David had already replaced Michal with two wives (1 Sam. 25:43). During his seven-year reign in Hebron, he took four additional wives (2 Sam. 3:2-5). Michal became his seventh wife. After becoming King of Israel, David misused his power to take on even more wives and concubines (2 Sam. 5:13-14). Michal most likely resented David for kidnapping her from her then husband and forcing her to live as part of his harem. Based upon her experience watching Saul as king, she also did not find his joyful dancing to be the dignified acts that she expected from a king. She felt this way because there was no joy in her heart. She practiced idolatry (1 Sam. 19:13) and had no fellowship with God.
James Tissot (1836-1902) “Michal Despises David” (1898)3
David reaped the consequences of the deeds of the flesh that he sowed. Moses expressly warned that it was against God’s law for a king to multiply his wives: “17 He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; . . ..” (Dt. 17:17(a)). The New Testament is also clear that a man should have only one wife (Matt. 19:4-6; 1 Tim. 3:2). When we long for the things of the flesh, God will eventually give us over to our lusts (Rom. 1:28). Her resentment toward David was a consequence of sins of the flesh.
True worship includes forgiveness. Michal had many reasons to resent David. Her complaints about his dancing merely exposed her inner feelings about him. Yet, her worship needed to include forgiveness. God warned His people not to hold grudges against each other: ‘“You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.”’ (Lev. 19:18). Believers are called upon to be God’s holy priesthood today (1 Pet. 2:5). As part of His holy priesthood, you too are called upon to set an example in worship by not holding grudges and by forgiving your enemies (Matt. 22:39; Mk. 12:31; Lk. 10:27; Jo. 13:34; Ro. 12:19; 13:19). Are you showing forgiveness and love to those who hurt you?
Forgive those who cause you harm. Joseph showed that he was Spirit-led when he forgave his brothers for selling him into slavery (Gen. 50:20). Jesus also forgave the people who betrayed Him and crucified Him (Lk. 23:34). You are also likely to encounter people who will cause you harm. Jesus calls upon you to love and forgive these people. “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matt. 5:44; 6:14). Forgiving an enemy is a hard thing to do. Yet, this is what Jesus expects from you. Is there anyone who has wronged you that you need to forgive?
If you don’t forgive others, you are unlikely to experience Jesus’ fellowship. Jesus warns: “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matt. 6:15; Mk. 11:26). “And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.” (Matt. 18:34-35). Unforgiveness will not cause you to lose your salvation. But unforgiveness is a weight that may prevent you from experiencing Jesus’ true fellowship and blessings.
Image credit: James Tissot: Michal Despises David (artbible.info)↩︎