Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"The Ark is Not the Problem"


August 2, 2015

1 Chronicles 13, we read the story about David wanting to bring the ark back to Jerusalem. He's excited about it and they're playing a lot of loud music and they're really happy to be bringing back the presence of the Lord in the form of the ark but they do it wrong. Therefore, God ends up killing this man named Uzzah. David gets upset and so were ... Let's go ahead and look at this in 2 Samuel chapter number 6. We'll start reading in verse number 2.

It says, "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 cherubims. 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, drave the new cart. They brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God, and Ahio went before the ark, and David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals. When they came to Nachon's threshing floor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. 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."

Of course, according the law of God, they were supposed to carry the ark of the covenant on their shoulders. Only the Levites were allowed to carry it and there were poles that went through the ark that were used to carry it on the shoulders of the Levites. Instead of following God's word, they did it their own way where they said, "Hey let's get a new cart." This is a new idea, but it was in violation of what the bible had taught. They put the thing on a new cart and they bring it in, and it gets to a little bump in the road or what have you. The oxen stumble and it looks like the ark is going to literally fall off. They don't want to see something as sacred as the ark fall off and be destroyed or desecrated, so Uzzah puts forth his hand to stead the ark. His heart's in the right place. He just wants to stop it from falling. Because he, not being a Levite, is touching the ark, God actually strikes him dead.

Look at David's reaction in verse number 9. It says, "David ..." Actually, look at verse 8, "David was displeased because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzzah, and he called the name of the place Perezuzzah to this day. David was afraid of the Lord that day, and said, 'How shall the ark of the LORD come to me?' So David would not remove the ark of the Lord unto him into the city of David." David, instead of realizing, "We did this wrong. We made a mistake." He blames God here and he's displeased saying, "Why did God do this to poor Uzzah? His heart was in the right place. He's just reaching out and steadying the ark."

Then, David is afraid of God and he's afraid of the ark. He says, "Well, I don't even want to bring the ark back anymore." He sends the ark, it says, in verse number 10 in the later half there, "David carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite." Then it says in verse 11, "The ark of the Lord continued in the house of Obededom the Gittite 3 months: and the Lord blessed Obededom, and all his household." Now it's interesting how the same object, the ark of the covenant, could be a curse under one group of people and a blessing unto others. Here's it's causing fear, it's causing death. Then over here, it's causing great blessing in the home of Obededom.

Then when David hears about how Obededom is being blessed, look at verse 12, "It was told king David, saying, 'The Lord hath blessed the house of Obededom and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God.' So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obededom into the city of David with gladness." All of a sudden, now he wants it back. First he's like, "I'm afraid of it. I don't want it." Then he sees Obededom being blessed, now he wants the ark back. It says, of course, verse 13, "It was so, that when they that bare the ark of the Lord had gone 6 paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings," and so on and so forth.

Flip over to 1 Chronicles 15. In 1 Chronicles 15, we get a little bit more detail about them bringing it back the second time. Look at 1 Chronicles chapter 15 verse 11. The bible reads, "David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, and Joel, Shemaiah, and Eliel, and Amminadab, and said unto them, 'Ye are the chief of the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel unto the place that I have prepared for it." Here in verse 13, he admits his error, "For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order." He admits here, "It was our fault that Uzzah died because we didn't do things the way God told us to do them. That's why he made that breach."

Then it says in verse number 14, "So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel. The children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the Lord. David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of music, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy." Now this story teaches us so many things. One of the things that's just really obvious on the surface is that God can be your bestfriend or your worst enemy.

God can either bring great blessing and joy and happiness or he can bring a lot of cursing and death and misery, because of the fact that God will deal with people in the same way that they deal with him. Over and over again, the bible says to the Lord, "Unto the pure, thou wilt shew thyself pure." It says, "Unto the forward, unto the wicked, thou wilt shew thyself unsavory." Of course, the famous passage in Romans 1, famous in this church, but some churches it doesn't exist. The scripture where it says, "Of those who are reprobate," it says, "Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient." The person who hates the Lord and doesn't even want to retain him in their knowledge, then God's going to turn around and have that same attitude toward that person.

We can either be blessed by God or we can be cursed by God, and it depends upon our actions. The path to God's blessings is through the door of obedience. Over and over again God says, "I'm standing before you, life and death, blessing and curse." He said, "Choose life." You'll be blessed if you obey the word of the Lord, if you walk in his commandments and follow the statutes. If you break his laws, you're going to be punished. You're going to be chastised. You're going to go through suffering and hardship. So many people today blame God when things go wrong. As the bible says in Proverbs, "They pervert their way and then they threat against the Lord." When their own sin, their own actions will lead them into trouble, and then they're, "God, why are you allowing this to happen?" When in reality is that they made some mistake.

Here, I don't think David or any of the men that were with them were maliciously trying to make some mistake here. I don't think that they're just saying, "I don't care what the bible says. I don't care ... That's old fashion to carry it on your shoulders. Hello, put it on a cart. Put it on wheels." Now, of course God's way ended up being better. Even though in our understanding, we would think, "Well, yeah, put it in a cart." Except, what happens when you put it on a cart? The thing can fall off. It could get unstable and so forth. If they're carrying it on their shoulders, it works better.

We see here that these men unwittingly, unknowingly accidentally did wrong just because they weren't paying close enough attention to what God's word was saying. They're good people. Their heart's in the right place. I'm sure David was excited about bringing it back. It's clear from the passage. They love the Lord, but they didn't obey. They did it wrong and they suffered the consequences. That's how it often is in our lives where we will disregard God's word. Maybe we haven't even read the bible cover to cover, even one time. The whole book, cover to cover. We don't even know some of the commandments and we make mistakes in our lives based on our ignorance of God's word. Things don't go well and then we threat against the Lord, when really, we should be looking in the mirror that we're the problem. We've made a mistake. Life is often like that.

Not just with the Lord, obviously the ark of the covenant represents the presence of God, the presence of the Lord, so we could think of our relationship with God and the fact that we should never blame him. He's not the problem. He could bring great blessing to our lives if we're an Obededom the Gittite who's following his word and he's actually going to help us and he can bring misery to our lives if we choose to disregard his word. That's obviously the main surface meaning.

As I read this story, there are other things that come to mind in our lives that are like this. Things in our life that can either be a great blessing unto us or they can be a great curse unto us, depending upon how we treat them and depending upon what we do with them. You think of people that are constantly switching churches, constantly switching jobs, constantly switching spouses, these days, constantly just switching and changing up because they got the wrong job and the wrong church and the wrong spouse, and really, the problem is them. You see, to one person, it's something that we want to get rid of and don't want, to someone else, that would be a great blessing. The saying goes, "One man's trash is another man's treasure." That's how it how with them, "Get this ark out of here," but then Obededom is like, "Great, bring it on." He gets all the blessings. Then David all of a sudden, "Well, I want that back now. Now that you're getting blessed."

Go, if you would to Ephesians chapter number 6. Ephesians chapter number 6. Because there are so many things in our life that are like the ark of the covenant in the sense that we're doing it wrong, and then we want to blame that thing instead of taking responsibility for ourselves and making a good situation out of whatever we're given, we need to be content with the things that we have. I'm not saying that we should never switch churches because sometimes, there's a need to switch churches. Sometimes, you need to switch jobs. There's not a need to switch spouses, but there's a need to make changes of our house or our car or where we live. That's not what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about people who are just constantly switching. I'm not talking about people who make a logical switch that makes sense. I'm talking about people who just everywhere they go, they have problems. Every church they go ... I mean, people come to me, "I've been thrown out of 4 churches." I'm thinking to myself, "You're the problem." "Yeah, all these churches, they're all ..." It's like, "No, it's you." When you're fired from job after job after job or you're getting into a personality conflict with boss after boss after boss, it's time to look in the mirror. The ark of the covenant is not the problem, you're doing it wrong. It's you that's the problem.

Look at Ephesians chapter 6 verse 5 just in regard to a job. The bibles says in Ephesians 6 verse 5, "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart," and here's the key, "as unto Christ. Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men." Now, 3 times in a row he make the same point. When God is really repetitive like this, he's really trying to drive something in deep here. When he says, "Do it," at the end of verse 5, "as unto Christ." Halfway through verse 6, "As the servants of Christ." Verse 7, "As to the Lord and not to men." Three times he says the same thing. Work like you're working for Jesus.

He says, when you go to your job and he's talking about your earthly secular job, whether you're cutting the grass, cutting the trees, bending pipe, framing a house, whatever, computer program, whatever job you're doing, God says that we are to do is heartily in Colossians chapter 4, "As unto the Lord and not unto men." We should treat our job as if we are serving Jesus Christ. I mean, that's what the bible is saying over and over again. A lot of times people think of their job as some kind of an unspiritual activity, but yet going to your job and working hard and doing a good job is actually service to God. It's actually obedience to God. It's a spiritual activity to go to your secular job and to give it your best and not to just go there, slack off, and give it half of your effort. That's what the bible is teaching you.

Now, this is a situation where a lot of people, they look at their job and they just think, "Well, it's this job that's the problem," but they're not giving it a hundred percent. That's really the problem. They're not thinking of their boss as, "Well, it's not really him, it's Jesus that I'm working for." If they did, they could actually make a lot more out of that job. They could actually succeed at that job, because look at what the bible says in verse 8. It says, "Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free."

What's the bible saying? If we go to our job and work hard, God promises to repay us for that because you can sit there and say, "Well, if I go to my job and work hard, they're not going to reward me because I have a wicked and unfair boss that's not going to notice my effort. Whether I give it half or whether I give it a hundred percent, I'm going to get the same paycheck. It's a dead-end job. I'm not going anywhere." Here's the thing, God is not a dead-end God. It doesn't matter if you're in a dead-end job. If it's worth going to that job, then it's worth going there and giving it a hundred percent.

You know what? When God looks down and sees you giving it a hundred percent at your job, then he will make sure that you get paid. If you don't get paid at that job, maybe he'll just work it out that he gives you a better job next times because he says, "You worked so good at that job, I'm going to give you a better job and you'll make a ton of money at the next job. That will be to pay you for the good thing that you did at the first job." Because the bible says, "Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive, not necessarily from the earthly boos, but the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free."

Maybe you won't get paid this week, but in the long run, God will repay you for every good deed that you do, and this is even in the context of your secular work, the work that you do for an earthly master on this earth. He says, "You will receive the same of the Lord, whether you be bond or free." Instead of looking at that job and not ... Look, if your job is really a bad job that's just a dead-end to work this job, then get a new job, by all means. Get a job that you can get excited about, but you need to go to your job and give it a hundred percent. If you're going to job after job after job and nothing's working out, you need to look in the mirror. You're the problem. You need to become a hard worker. You need to get this Christ-like attitude toward your job.

All kinds of other situations, not just your job. I've talked to pastors who, their church is the problem and they talk about how no matter what they do, they can't get anyone in their church to go soul-winning. I've heard this a bunch of times, "I don't know how you get people out soul-winning because my people just won't go soul-winning." Like, there's just something wrong with their church members that they just got stuck with just a dud of a church that won't do any soul-winning no matter what they do. Now, sure, there are certain people that are never going to go soul-winning no matter what you do, no matter how much you try to light a fire under them. They're just not going to do it, but come on, a whole church that's not going to go soul-winning? No, the problem there is with the leadership.

I guarantee you that another guy, if Pastor David would step aside and Pastor Obededom the Gittite would by in the pulpit, I'd be you he'd get people in that church out soul-winning. Why? Because there are certain churches where everybody's going soul-winning, and then other churches where there's not any soul-winning going on. What's the difference? If you want people to go soul-winning, you got to preach on soul-winning and then you got to go out soul-winning. You also have to be patient because I remember for years, I preached on soul-winning and I went out soul-winning and you didn't necessarily get a lot of people going because it takes a while to show that example and to be faithful and be diligent with it. Eventually, it pays off, but instead it's like, "Oh, I'll just switch churches. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence," when really, it's the leadership that's the problem.

Flip things around, in the pew, people where every church they go to is the problem, "There's no good church in my area, I can't find any good church." Now listen, if you're living in a foreign country, yeah, that's true. I do have some people contact me and say, "No, there really is no church. I live on an island." Somebody told me, "I live on an island and there are 2 churches. There's the Protestant church that uses the King James and the Baptist church that uses the NIB. Neither one of them is teaching salvation by grace or faith. There's only 2two churches. I'm on an island." You're living in an island out of the North Sea, you're the exception. Obviously, people who live in different places, in Europe and everything, where it's very dark spiritually, yeah, it's possible that there's no good church for you to go, but if you're living in the United States of America, there is a decent church for you to go to. Period.

I'm tired of people saying, "Oh, there's no good churches." There's no perfect churches. There's no unicorn Baptist church for you to go to, but honestly there are churches where at least the people are saved and where at least the King James bible is being preached. Yeah, it's not perfect but it's better than nothing. When you're sitting at home and not going to church anywhere, you have this great big beam in your eye of not going to church, of forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, which is a major sin, according to Hebrews 10. You've got this beam in your eye that you don't go to church at all and then you're trying to remote mote out of your brother's eye by picking apart the church that's there.

People who are going to church every week, people who are going 3 times a week, people who are serving God faithfully in a church, God's institution, but you're going to stand in judgment of them because of not crossing the doctrinal T and dotting the doctrinal eye, when you don't even go to church at all. That is hypocrisy my friend. Because their church is better than your church because you're church is no church. I mean, good night. Any church where the people are saved and where the King James bible is being preached is better than no church. It's better than sitting at home, eating chips off your chest and surfing the internet. "This is my church."

No, a church, according to the bible is a congregation. People say, "Oh, the church is the people not the building." Absolutely, it's the people, but it's the congregation of people. The word church means congregation. It's not like, "Oh, were the people. Just wherever we are, floating down the river in our kayak, we're the church." Wrong. "Out fishing on Sunday, we're the church." Wrong. No, it's the assembly. It's the congregation that's the church. Being in the congregation with imperfect people and an imperfect pastor is a lot better than sitting around pontificating about how much better you are than anybody in your whole town or your whole city or your whole state.

I'm not saying the perfect church or even a decent church is always going to be a stone throw from your house, but in the United States of America, you might have to drive a little ways, but you can find a Baptist church to go to, you can find a soul-winning church to go to, and it's possible. Of course, most of the people who I'm preaching to live here. Some are visiting obviously, but most of the people live here. Here's a great church for you right here, Faithful Word Baptist Church. You may find yourself in the future living in another place. I mean, let's face it. A lot of people that are here tonight are going to eventually move and be somewhere else. Then they're going to say, "Well, I can't find anything as good as Faithful Word," of course you can't. No I'm just kidding.

I'm saying, you're going to be able to find a church, an independent Baptist church that's in the ballpark where you can learn something and where you can get fellowship. Plus, some churches that even aren't maybe the greatest churches and maybe the pastor is not even preaching the greatest sermon, but there's still a lot of good people in that church. In fact, if all the best people are going to stay home because no church is a good church, then the church is going to get worse, because all the best people in their own minds are staying home. Why don't you show up and then the church has got a little better because now you're there, oh thou unicorn church member.

If you're there, you can make friends, you can serve God, you can make the best of it, and you say, "Well, I keep getting kicked out." Then quit being an idiot because churches don't just kick you out just ... Sometimes they kick you out for no reason but when you're getting kicked out of church after church after church and rarely, I've heard of people who did everything right and they still get thrown out, but honestly, it's pretty rare because usually you go along to get along. You don't compromise doctrinally in the sense of telling lies or anything, but you don't necessarily have to just take over and straighten everything out and straighten the pastor out.

If you go there with an intent to be a good influence, to serve God, to be an asset to the church, to be a blessing to that church, to get involved in the church's program, you're not going to get thrown out. Plus, 99% of people who tell me, "I got thrown out of my church," did not really get thrown out. You know what really happened? They're asked not to come back. Here's what happens when they ask you not to come back. You say no, and then you come back anyway. Seriously. I'm not going to say who it was just in case they don't want me to say this.

A relative of mine was basically told that he needed to leave his church. They told him like, "Be- ..." I mean, they acted like they're kicking him out but they're just bluffing, because they don't really have the power to just unilaterally the pastor to just say, "Hey, you can't come back," with no scriptural foundation to say, "You can't come back." No basis in scripture. It was over the doctrine of the timing of the rapture, which is a dumb thing to separate from anybody. By the way, for the record, I don't separate from anybody of that. I think the preacher [inaudible 00:24:40] is ridiculous, but I don't separate from pastors who teach that or believe that because to me, it's not the biggest most important issue in the world. It's not salvation. It's not the word of God.

Anyway, over this issue, this relative of mine was basically being pushed out of his church. They told him, "Hey, you can't teach you Sunday school class. You need to leave, this and that." Basically, they acted like they were kicking him out but they didn't bring it before the church or anything. You know what he said? He just said, "Well, I'm not leaving." He said, "I'm not trying to cause trouble. I'm not undermining your position here. I'm willing to get along." He said, "What I do in my personal life or what I post to my personal Facebook page or whatever is my business, and I'm not ..." He even ... I keep almost saying his ... He even printed out a copy of the church's statement of faith and it said, pre-millennial. It didn't say pre-trib.

He said, "I'm not in violation of any of this." He said, "I'm not going anywhere." He said, "I'm not trying to cause trouble, but no, you can't just throw me out over this because you have no scriptural ground and you have no grounds in the church." Basically, go ahead, take it before the whole church. Because you know what? They don't want to take it before the whole church because they're wrong. They don't want people to hear about the issue. He called their bluff and said, "Okay, make my day." You know what they said, "You got us." You know what? This person actually continued to excel at that church and in fact, 6 months later or I think it's even 4 months later, the pastor had to go out of town and had him preach behind the pulpit while he was gone.

Four months after him being pushed out and told, "You need to leave and you need to ..." They told him, "You need to resign your church membership. You need to leave. We need to have unity, blah, blah, blah." What I'm saying is, you can't just, at the slightest pressure, just go running scared at your church. I'm not saying that to be a rabble-rouser. This person wasn't being a rabble-rouser. They were just playing it cool and being a blessing to their church and being an asset and not a liability. You see what I'm saying though? You don't just go run and hide.

Look, I've talked to so many people where they talked about being pushed out of their church and this and that. Just keep coming until you're actually thrown out. Now, if there's a scriptural reason to throw somebody out, then that can be brought out before the whole church. To just, the pastor just, "I don't like you. Get out." That's not really biblical, is it? What I saying is, you have to go to church to be right with God. Again, I'm not talking about people that are living in Timbuktu right now. I'm talking to America right now. The vast majority of the people who listen to my sermons are Americans. You're all pretty much Americans. I know we have some German, Australians. I know we've got people visiting from other countries.

We need to just realize that there are independent Baptist churches in every city in America and we ought to thank God for that, that we live in America. There are so many Baptist church. I mean, look, if Faithful Word cease to exist tomorrow, there are over 40 independent fundamental Baptist churches in the Phoenix area that preach out of the King James bible. I mean, you'd have somewhere to go if this church cease to exist tomorrow. Now, I happen to think this church is the best, otherwise, I'd join one of these other churches if I thought they were better.

The point is that we need to understand that a church is a group of people that's not perfect, the pastor is not going to be perfect, the pastor is not going to preach the exact doctrine that you believe all the time. Sometimes the pastor is going to say stuff that you don't agree with. I'm going to say stuff that you don't agree with and you might never agree with me, and that's okay for us to believe a little bit differently. I mean, we agree on salvation. We agree on the bible. We agree on the big things. So what if we disagree on this little thing and that little thing? That's not the point.

You can make that church a church home. You can get involved. You can get onboard with the program. You can be a blessing. You can be of use to God in that church. The church can be a blessing to you instead of being a pain unto you. When you go and you're a rabble-rouser, you're causing trouble and you're a pain, well then the church is going to be a pain to you and they're going to want to get rid of you because you're a pain in the neck. Some people are pain the neck.

What I'm saying is, all areas of our life, we need to stop and realize that often the things that we criticize and don't like, there's actually, there's no problem with them. The problem is with us. I mean, there are people who get upset at stuff that I preach and leave and then realize later that I was right. Or they leave another church and realize the pastor was right. You're not always right about everything, are you? Nobody's always right.

Now, I think another great area where this story illustrates this principle is in marriage. Because people have this attitude today in 2015 of marrying the wrong person, "I married the wrong person. I married the wrong wife. I married the wrong husband." So many people today are coveting their neighbor's wife or coveting their neighbor's husband, or even if they're not coveting a specific wife, they have this attitude that there's something better out there that they're missing out on.

I've even heard people say, I've literally heard women say, "I'd be a great wife if it weren't for my husband." I mean, I've heard that many time. Like, "I would be a really godly Christian, submissive wife, but it's just my husband. It's just impossible to please him." I mean, that's what many women have thought. Probably all women have thought that at some point, "He's impossible to please. It's impossible to submit unto him. It's impossible to make him happy." Then, husbands are thinking, "You know, I would be such a great husband if it weren't for this rebellious wife that won't listen."

I mean, how many pastors are probably thinking, "Men, I'd be such a great pastor if my church members would just do what I preach. Man, I would just be the most committed, die-hard church member if I could just find a pastor that I could believe in, if I could just find a church that's a decent church. Men, I'd get on there and I'd be on fire. I'd be leading the charge. I'd be working so hard. I mean, I'd scrub the toilet till midnight. I'd be there with the donuts and the coffee on Sunday morning. I'd be out soul-winning until my feet are bleeding. It's just there's no good church in my area, so I just stay home and just chat online."

"Oh man, my husband is just impossible to deal with. He just criticize me and picks me apart. What's the point?" Here's the thing, maybe your wife is not really a bad person. Maybe you're just being a bad leader. That's the hard truth that a lot of men need to face is that the ark of the covenant is not the problem. You're doing it wrong. Your wife, she actually could be a great wife if you would do your part. Your husband could actually be a much better husband if you would start being a good wife. The lesson from this story is to look in the mirror and to realize that often the problems in our lives are caused by us and not caused by these other things. Whether it's our wife, our husband, our church, our boss at work, whatever. We need to look in the mirror and understand that we are often the problem.

If you actually, as a husband, would love your wife, cherish your wife, nourish your wife, care for your wife, spend time with your wife, you know what? She might become a better wife. No matter what, God's going to bless you for doing your part. Wives, you say, "Oh, my husband's impossible to please." Yeah, but did you really try? Did you really give it your best? Had you really submitted unto him as unto the Lord, as the bible says? Had you really been obedient in all things, as the bible teaches? Because honestly, a lot of times, husbands are rude to their wives, pick their wives apart, criticize their wife. Obviously, I'm not condoning. It's wrong. They shouldn't be doing that, but often it's because they're angry about the fact that they don't feel like they're the boss in their home.

They feel that there's a power struggle going on, so then the husband always feels like he's fighting for power, fighting for the upperhand, fighting to be the boss, and it puts him in a position where he feels insecure of his position of authority. People just, "Quit being insecure." You know what? He needs to be the leader in that home. That's what the bible says. Often times, if the wife will just submit and obey and go along, then all of a sudden, that takes the pressure off him. He can relax and go, "Okay, great. I'm in authority. I'm in my proper role." Then he could begin to maybe begin to be more loving and be nice and so on and so forth.

A lot of people just want to throw off their hands and say, "I just married a bad husband. I just married a bad wife. There's something wrong. I don't know what it is, but there's something wrong with the ark of the covenant. It used to always bless Israel for all of these centuries. It's been this great blessing, but there's something wrong. Give it to the Philistine guy. Send it over to the Gittite over to Obededom. Get it over to his house because there's something wrong with it."

Really, no, there's nothing wrong with it. There's something wrong with you. Today, we need to realize that in our marriage, it's not that we married the wrong wife, it's not that we married the wrong husband, it's that we might just not be the leader. Especially if you're the man, you might just not be being the leader that you're supposed to be. Obviously, a lot of times, wives are being rebellious and so on, and they need to do their part as well.

I think there's really dangerous philosophy today in the United States of America in 2015 in our culture. I think part of it has to do with the internet. This idea where people, they have this really idealized views about what marriage is going to be like or what their wife is going to be like or what their husband's going to be like, to where they always think that something better is out there. This idea of, "Hey, I married the wrong person and there's somebody better out there that I missed out on." Instead of just being content with the spouse that they have.

Part of this is also due to Hollywood where Hollywood puts forth these really unrealistic love story. See, what people don't understand is that everything on TV is fake. Everything in Hollywood's fake. They see this really idealized love stories where they find their soul mate. The soul mate and oh, just that one person in the world, and you find that person, and you ride off into the sunset and you live happily ever after. Everything's perfect and you're excited about that person every moment, but that's not real life. That's a fraud just like everything in Hollywood's about.

You know those actors on the movie screen that are falling in love and everything's so wonderful? Those are some of the most horrible people in the world, in real life. They're some of the worst degenerates in real life. They're all failing at marriage. They're all committing adultery. I mean, they're all fornicating. Many of them are not even straight and you look at these people and think like, "Oh man, why isn't my husband more like this guy in this movie or whatever. Who's just this bad dude, but he's so sensitive and so good looking, and he looks like ..." The guy looks like he goes to the gym every single day for an hour, but he also makes tons of money, but he also just spends tons of time with her. It's just this ideal that doesn't exist.

Then men are watching TV, watching Hollywood and it's all these women that are just these beautiful gorgeous babes and they're just so cool and they never start crying for no reason, and just being ... I mean, it's unrealistic. I mean, the way that they look is unrealistic. The way that they act is unrealistic. Everything about it is fake. It's not real people, wake up. Look around the room. This is what real people look like. This is what real people act like. Hollywood is fake. Devious fake. People, literally, they see wives and they think like, "Oh, why isn't my wife like that? Why isn't my husband like that?" Because there's no such thing. It's not real.

I'm not trying to paint a gloomy picture because you know what? There are a lot of great men out there and great ladies out there, but you know what? They're not going to be this perfect unicorn that you're looking for. What you need to do is just pick one that you like. Pick one that you like. Pick a person that you like and you marry that person and you decide you're going to spend the rest of your life with that person. You get to know that person and you know what? You go through the ups and downs. It's for better or for worse. You go through low points. You hang in there. You realize that there's other things in life than just your marriage. You don't just have to freak out every time things aren't perfect. Then it gets better again. Then you have great times together.

Then it's like, "Tit, tit, tit, tit, tit, tit, whoa." Just kidding. You have a lot of good times, you have a lot of bad times, but you know what? It's about the commitment. It's about sticking together. It's about love and compassion that's enduring real love. Not just this excitement and passion of, "Hey, we just hooked up 2 weeks ago," or something. No, it's something that lasts for decades. It's real. Honestly, those who've been married for a long time and have stayed with the ark of the covenant, and not send it off to the Gittites. Those who actually state with marriage, they realized that there are wonderful times in marriage that get better and better, and the relationship deepens and the love is better.

Also, you have those mountain top experiences where it's great. It's like being a newly wed all over again, if you hang in there. You know what? It's not going to be like that all the time and it never will for anybody because that's not reality. Because reality has its ups and downs. You know what? You're the same way because sometimes you're a pain in the neck. Sometimes he's a pain in the neck but so are you. There's no temptation taken you but such as is common to man.

It was so funny, we went to ... This is a silly illustration. My wife and I went out to get a milkshake and an ice cream cone at this little organic ice cream stand in Scottsdale. We were there, I walked up to the place. I found a little cart for the place. I said, "Honey, I'm going to take you to this place. Let's check this out." I walk up, I pick up the menu, chocolate and peanut butter milkshake. That's how I order. It took me like 5 seconds, just pick it up and I see something I like and I order it. Done. My wife walks up, reads everything on the menu, and then starts asking questions about them, "What about the ... What's the ... Now, what's the ..." Ask all these questions and goes on.

By the time she's done ordering, they're already serving me mine. They already put mine in my hand. They'd already scooped out all the peanut butter, mixed it all up, and blended it and given it to me. She's still deciding. She's still asking questions about the menu. Then it's like, "Oh, I changed my mind," after she's made the order. Get something different. Then we sit down at the little table there and I'm drinking my milkshake, she's eating her whatever she decided on. Then another family walks up right behind us. The guy walks up, orders, and then the woman walks up, "Okay, what's this?" I told my wife, I said, "Look." I said, "These people are doing exactly what we did 2 minutes ago. Look, there's no temptation taken you but such is common to man." Everybody's going through the same thing.

Obviously, that's a silly illustration but I'm just showing you that there is basic human nature in all of us, and that man all kind of are the same in certain ways and women are all kind of the same in certain ways, and they're different. There's a difference between men and women, so you can't expect your wife to be like a man. You can't expect your husband to be like a woman. We're different. We're always going to be different. If you just go trade in for someone else, get divorce, remarry, you know what you're going to find?

The next guy doesn't fix up around the house either. The next guy stays real late at work, too. The next guy doesn't ask his boss for a raise enough either or whatever. The next guy doesn't do this or that. You'll find that the next wife also breaks down crying for no reason. The next wife also will nag you or the next wife will also tell you you're spending too much money or whatever. I'm just throwing things out there that are the typical things that people ... It's different for everybody. I'm not saying everybody's spouse does these things, but everybody's spouse does these type of things.

This idea that there's this wonderful unicorn, perfect person out there, is a dangerous doctrine because then when it doesn't pan out, people have this attitude, "I married the wrong person. I made a mistake." Instead of realizing, "You know what? I love this person in spite of their faults, in spite of their flaws. You know what? I love them anyway." That's what real love is. The bible says, "Scarcely for a righteous man would one die, yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die, but God commandeth his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Christ died for the ungodly.

We, as husbands, need to understand that it's our job to love our wife and not be bitter against her and love her in spite of whatever flaws that she has, and to realize that everyone else has flaws, too, and that this person that you're seeing on the internet and where I would bring in the internet to this, is that on the internet, you're basically seeing all these other options in a sense. You go on Facebook, there's all these other women out there. They're all putting their best foot forward on Facebook and it's not real either. Look, Hollywood, not real. TV, not real. Facebook, not real. Dating websites, not real.

I have another relative who went on a dating website and they met wife through a dating website. You know what? When they put their profile, they said they were 10 years younger than they really were. They ended up marrying that person? Why? Because they put it 10 years younger because if they hadn't put 10 years younger, this person wouldn't have given them the time of the day. They put in 10 years younger. They lie about it. Ten years younger. Then once they meet, it's too late because they've really built it up in their mind, they're all emotional about it and everything like that. Look, that kind of deception goes on everyday. All kinds of trick photography. Smoke in mirrors to make people look a lot more good looking than they really are. They'd take like a thousand pictures and put that one, that just made them look awesome. That's the profile pic. In real life, they don't look like that.

What am I saying? I'm saying that people tend to idealize things and they look at their spouse and then they're comparing it to some figment of their imagination. They're comparing their spouse to Hollywood, comparing their spouse to TV, comparing their spouse to all these people on Facebook with all their fake profile and all their statuses about like, "Oh, it's such a beautiful day," and they're posting a verse that says, "This is the day that the Lord has made. We'll rejoice and be glad in it," and drawing of little flowers and bees and they're like, "Shut up and let me be on the computer, you little brat." You know what I mean? I'm saying, people are fake online. It's not necessarily real. "Oh, it's such a blessed day, rarrr." It's not real, friend. We don't want to just get warped in to all of these fake stuff.

Look, having an attitude when you get married of like, "Well, I'm going to marry the perfect, most wonderful person on the planet." Some people, they never get married because they never find that person. They just never get married because there's something wrong with everyone. They just can't find anyone and they just get older and older and older and they never get married because it's just no unicorn. Then, other people, they realized that the goal in getting married is not to just find that most perfect, wonderful person that's just going to serve you and make your life amazing every minute of every day. That's not really what marriage is about.

Marriage is about marrying a fellow Christian. That obviously is the number one concern. We must both be saved. For those of you that are single, that's the number one thing. "Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? What part hath he that believeth with an infidel?", the bible says. We need to understand that first of all, we find someone who's saved, number 1. Number 2, find someone who loves the Lord. I'm not saying that they're going to be perfect, but someone who loves the Lord, somebody who sincerely wants to do what's right and wants to serve God from their heart. Number 3, find someone that you like. You have to like that person. There has to be some chemistry there where you're, "I like this person. I like to be around her. I want to spend my life with this person."

Then, once you marry that person, it's till death. It's a commitment. You know what? That person, you're going to find out stuff about that person or they're going to do things, but you stay with that person and you work at it and you make the best of it, and you don't think, "Did I marry the best person on the planet? Out of 3.5 billion women, did I really pick the best one or was there somebody better out there." I mean, that's just a stupid way to think, but that's the way people think today in America. You got to have the best car, the best clothes, the best food, the best wife, the best ...

No, no, no. Why don't you just pick a person that's a real flesh and blood human being, not a figment of your imagination. Not a checklist of, "Blonde, check. Athletic, check. Happy everyday, check. Likes all my same hobbies and music, check. Check. Check." You're not going to find it. Go on some dating website and find 52 points of compatibility or something. You're going to end up married to your sister like that, because that's the only person that you have 52 things in common with, your sister. You're going to accidentally marry your second cousin once removed or something like that.

The point is, you pick that person and you love that person, and you treat that person right and you follow the bible. If you're the husband, you be a strong leader. You rule the home, but you show love and affection and kindness and you're not bitter and you forgive everyday. Then the wife, she basically submits and obeys and references her husband, shows him respect, loves him, cherishes him, and you know what? That's what you do for the rest of your life and you don't even ask yourself or wonder what else is out there, because the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, but it's a fraud. Also, the grass is greener where you water it.

Here's the thing, a lot of people, they spend a lot of money and effort on committing adultery, which is a wicked sin, which God even said was punishable by death. Think about it, what if they put that same time, money, energy, and effort into their own spouse. Some of you need to rediscover your own spouse that you're married to and remember why you married that person in the first place. It's like Jesus told the church at Ephesus, "You've lost your first love." Couldn't there be marriages where they've lost the first love? He says, what? "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works." He says, "Or I'll come quickly and remove thy candlestick out of his place."

You don't want the fire to go out in your relationship. You don't want the candlestick to go out as it were. You need to get back to the first love. How do you get back to the first love? By doing the first works. What are the first works? Ask yourself, what did you do when you were dating to try to get your wife to like you or to try to get her to want to marry you? Are you doing that stuff today? Are you being like that? Let's say you were writing her notes or giving her gifts or spending time with her or saying sweet things, you need to do the first works to get the first love. Then same thing with the wives. All the things that you did, all the ways that you thought. You need to re-find that.

It's not that the ark of the covenant is the problem. It's that you're not treating the ark of the covenant the way it's supposed to be treated. You're not handling the ark of the covenant the way it's supposed to be handled. It's not your wife that's the problem, you're not handling her right. It's not your husband that's the problem, you're not handling him right. It's not your job that's the problem, you just need to give it your best and work hard and do as unto the Lord, handle it better. It's not the church that's the problem, maybe you're just not getting involved. Maybe you're just not giving it a chance. Maybe you're not giving it your best. Maybe you're not being an asset and a blessing to the church.

I want to ask all these people that got kicked out of all these "churches", what did you do to be a blessing to that church? What did you do to benefit that church? Did you go to that church with an attitude of, "You know what, I'm here to be a blessing and to work hard," or did you just come in and say, "All right. I'm here now. Let me tell you guys everything you're doing wrong. I got to prove it," or whatever. You're a pain in the neck. So many things that we could go on and on, things in our life where we want to blame everything.

Just real quickly, "Oh, it's just my parents. My parents are the problem." You know what? I went through a phase when I was a teenager where I thought my parents were the problem. I felt that my parents were impossible to please. The thing that every wife has said about her husband probably at one point, "He's impossible to please. I've done everything I can. I have tried to submit for 30 minutes and it didn't work. I'm never going to try it again. I've done everything." You know what? I remember as a teenager thinking to myself, "You know what? My parents are impossible to please. Even I were the perfect ..."

I remember, I even said one time to my brother, I said, "If Jesus lived in our house, he would get yelled at everyday." That's what I said to my brother. I was serious. I wasn't being blasphemous or anything. I was serious. I said, "Look, I feel like even if Jesus were born in this home, totally without sin, he would get screamed at," but you know what? I can honestly say I was wrong, because a little bit later on after I said that, a little bit later on, I got in a good church. I got in in an independent fundamental Baptist church that taught me some good things.

I started reading my bible and you know what? I started realizing that I could be a much better son. I started improving myself and I started being more obedient around the house. My parents changed toward me like that. Like that. I mean, just instantly. It was just like, "What do you want son? What can we do for you?" I mean, they were just, "Hey, you want us to help you buy a car?" Sure. They were so nice to me. Why? Because I was being obedient. I was being good. I was doing right. For so many years I was rebellious and thinking they're the problem. I'm doing right and they're the problem. Then once I actually started doing right and actually going above and beyond, you know what? Then immediately they started treating me very well, proving that I was the problem, not them. That's the way it is.

Also, parents with their children, "Oh, it's just these kids that I have. I don't know why I got this demon seed of children, these bad seed children." Could it be your parenting that's the problem? "Oh, my kids are just brats. It's genetics. It skipped a generation." The thing is though, it's really your parenting. Stop looking at everybody else's kids and everybody else's wife and husband, or even worse, TV, Hollywood, internet, dating sites, Facebook, and just looking at other people and their perfect little profile and saying, "Oh men, why can't my ..." Don't even think that way in your head because it's foolishness, because it's a figment of your imagination. Your wife is a real flesh and blood human being who Christ died for, you chose that person. You need to love her and cherish her and rekindle the first love.

If you are a woman and you're married to a man and you think, "Oh, he's lazy. He's rude. He burps," or whatever. Whatever it is, you know what you need to realize, "Hey, this is who I chose and I need to respect his authority and I need to respect his position, and I need to be the best possible wife that I can be." None of this, "He's impossible to please." No, he's not. He's not impossible to please. You just need to figure out what it is that he wants and give it to him, because that's your job. You know what? Find things to make your wife happy and give her want she wants. I mean, that's what it's about.

Honestly, the world just wants to just move on to the next person. Just next person, marry the next person, divorce, remarry. That's the way the world just wants to move on to the next person because it's that person that's the problem. When in reality, what we need to do is realize what we have, realize the treasure that we have. David didn't realize the treasure that he had in the ark of the covenant. It's a one of a kind thing. There's no other ark of the covenant. It's a special item. He's just dropping it off at somebody else's house. Why? He didn't realize the value. We need to realize the value of our church. We need to realize the value of our wife, our husband, our parents, our children. Our children are a great blessing from God. Realize the value.

Instead of being jealous of what someone else has, realize the value of what you have, treat it right, handle it right, and it'll turn from a pain in your neck to being a blessing. Just like the ark of the covenant can go from being suffering and misery to bringing great joy, prosperity and blessing. Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, please just help us Lord to realize the good things that we have in our life. Lord, the wife that we've been blessed with or the husband we've been blessed with, the job that we have, the house that we have, the kids that we have, the parents that we have, the church that we have, the church members that we have. Lord, help us to be thankful for what we have and to make the best of what we have and to realize the value of it, treat it right, and get the most blessing out of it. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.



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