DAVID BROUGHT UP THE ARK OF THE LORD TO JERUSALEM
2 Samuel 6:1Ė6:23†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
Key Verse: 6:14-15
ďDavid, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets.Ē
In the previous chapter we learned that God raised King David up as the shepherd King over all Israel. After David settled in Jerusalem, what was his primary focus? David wanted to focus his kingdom on bringing Godís presence to him and his people. Therefore, David wanted to bring the ark of the Lord to Jerusalem. Though his intention was good to bring the ark to the capital city, he did not follow Godís instructions carefully. The first attempt ended in disaster with the sudden death of Uzzah. But he did not give up bringing the Ark of the Lord. David learned a spiritual lesson and tried again according to Godís way. He succeeded this second time. This event brought great joy and satisfaction to David and all people. He danced before the Lord. David wanted God to be the true King over his kingdom. Later, our Lord Jesus, the descendant of David came to us to dwell among us as Immanuel. Who is the center of your heart today? Letís us place God in the first place of our heart. I pray that we may worship God with all our heart and soul and strength through todayís passage.
PART 1 THE FIRST ATTEMPT TO BRING THE ARK TO JERUSALEM (1-11)
It is important for us to know what the ark is. The ark of God has several names in the Old Testament. This ark was the most highly revered object of the first Tabernacle that Moses had constructed. Pic tabernacle The ark was a chest made of acacia wood and overlaid inside and out with gold. Pic the ark The length of the ark was 5 feet and the height and width were 3 feet. †It had rings on the sides through which two acacia poles were inserted, never to be removed. The purpose of these poles was for carrying the ark from place to place as the Israelites crossed the desert. On the cover of the ark were two cherubim, facing each other with their wings touching. The ark contained sacred items such as the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments, scrolls of the Law, manna, and the rod of Aaron. It was always kept inside a tent until Solomonís temple was built.
It was the ark of the Lord that led the way when the Israelites broke camp to travel across the desert. The ark was the first to cross the Jordan River when the Israelites finally entered the Promised Land. The Israelites lost possession of the Ark when they tried to use it like a lucky charm to defeat the Philistines. (1 Sam. 4:1-11) The ark of the Lord was the center of Jewish life as the symbol of Godís presence among the people of God. We did not hear about the ark of the Lord for 50 years after King Saul tried to use it for his battle against the Philistines. It was forgotten and neglected for a long time. As a man after Godís own heart, David was deeply concerned about the presence of the ark of the Lord. So he decided to bring it back to the capital city. He decided to honor God as the true King of the people of Israel. David was yearning the presence of God as his true shepherd.
Look at verses 1 and 2.† ďDavid again brought together out of Israel chosen men, thirty thousand in all. He and all his men set out from Baalah of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the ark.Ē God told Moses how to handle the ark of the Lord in Exodus 25:21-22,ĒPlace the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you. There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.Ē The mercy seat between the two cherubim was a place where God had given his commands to all Israel. General Joshua carried the ark of the Lord around the walls of Jericho seven days and God brought the great victory to the Israelites. In the times of the Judges, it had been carried into battle, as though it were merely a magical mascot. During the reign of Saul, the ark of God fell into the hands of the uncircumcised. The Philistines carried it in triumph through their cities, and then housed it in the temple of Dagon. Disaster plagued the Philistines and the ark was sent back to Israel. The ark was then removed to the forest seclusion of Keriath Jearim. Now David mobilized thirty thousand people to bring the ark back to Jerusalem. He had resolved to establish a place where people could worship God. David did not forget Godís grace upon his life. David wanted to place God in the center of his heart. Jesus said in Matthew 6:9-10, ďThis, then, is how you should pray: "'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.Ē We should honor Godís holy name and give our heart to serve the will of our heavenly Father in our life on earth. We should give our first place to God as the center of our life like King David.
How did David carry the ark? Look at verses 3-5. ďThey set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, was guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals.Ē Pic cartcarringtheark So they prepared a new cart and Ahio was carrying the ark in front of it and Uzzah in the rear and David and all Israel followed the ark behind them. All Praise team and orchestra team joined the procession. No doubt it was with a full heart that David now acted, with deep longings after God, with fervent rejoicings before God. He celebrated with all his might with many musical instruments. He did not hide his joy before the Lord.
However, something terrible happened and his hope of honoring the ark was dashed to the ground. Look at verses 6-7. ďWhen they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD's anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.Ē †David had holy desires to give honor to God and inquire the Lord in all situations and establish spiritual order for his new kingdom. But he did not carry the ark in Godís way. His method in doing Godís work was not right. Godís work must be done in Godís prescribed way. There is no short cut or compromise in carrying out Godís command.† This is a spiritual warning to all Godís people. This is a wake-up call. We must take this matter to our heart. What was wrong with Davidís first attempt to bring the ark to the capital, the city of David? Numbers 4:15 says, ďAfter Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy furnishings and all the holy articles, and when the camp is ready to move, the Kohathites are to come to do the carrying. But they must not touch the holy things or they will die. The Kohathites are to carry those things that are in the Tent of Meeting.Ē God gave a precise command to follow: the ark must be carried by the Kohathites and they must not touch the holy things or they will die. The Scripture specified clearly how to carry the ark. There is no other way. It did not matter whether the cart was new or old. They supposed not to carry the ark on the cart. They were also not supposed to touch it. They did not follow the word of God in doing Godís work. They did Godís work in their own convenient way. God was not pleased with the way they carried the ark. The death of Uzzah was caused by Godís disapproval of their way of doing Godís work. Uzzah was killed due to his irreverent act. Today, we do many irreverent acts. By the grace of Jesus we are not killed. Here nothing had been said about placing it on ďa new cartĒ. Maybe they were following the example of the Philistines who carried the ark on the new cart. They were influenced by a pagan practice. The Philistines did it because they did not know the word of God. But Godís people must follow the word of God because they belong to him. The Holy Scripture is our standard guide in doing Godís work. Our standard action must be based on ďBecause you say so.Ē (Luke 5:5) Peter followed Jesusí word and he caught a large number of fish. Godís blessing overflowed. Sometimes we follow the trend of the world because the majority rules. David thought that thirty thousand people cannot be wrong. Also David did not pray to the Lord before bringing up the ark to Jerusalem. He consulted with military commanders and elders but did not inquire of the Lord.† In 2 Samuel 5:19 and 5:23 he inquired of the Lord but here there was no prayer in this passage. Jesus always prayed to God his Father before major miracles like feeding the five thousand and raising Lazarus. God raised Daniel Seo Jr from his sickness when we depended on God and prayed for his behalf. Before the summer conference we prayed for the messengers earnestly, God blessed all messengers. Before the First Look Fair we prayed eagerly, God sent so many new students and 6 new students came to the Armory meeting. Praise God.
There was good intention but bad result. David was a man of prayer but this time he did not inquire of the Lord how to do it in the prescribed way. This is a painful lesson David learned from this tragedy. It was a big setback for his desire to honor the ark of God. God brings disaster to give us a spiritual warning when we do not follow his prescribed way. God shows his anger when his people forget his grace and do not live by faith because he loves us. God warns us to prevent bigger problems because he wants to save us from his terrible judgment.
PART II THE ARK OF THE LORD BROGUTH TO JERUSALEM (12-23)
Because of Godís anger, David was filled with anger and fear. It was a guilty conscience which made him ďafraid of the Lord.Ē ďBut David carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite.Ē That was Davidís loss; but, as we shall see, it was Obededomís gain. The presence of the Lord in our lives and in our homes is the limitless source of Godís blessing. David learned the spiritual lesson and he waited patiently for three months. When God did not approve the way we do his work, we should sit back and wait for Godís time. Thatís what King David did. Though he had all the power under his disposal as king, David waited for Godís message patiently. Look at verse 11. ďThe ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the LORD blessed him and his entire household.Ē David heard the good news that God blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has. He knew that the Lordís anger was subsided. He realized that God was pleased with his motive but did not approve of his method. So he made the second attempt to bring the ark to Jerusalem. He followed the Lordís instruction very carefully. He carried the ark differently this time.
Look at verses 12b-15. ĎĒSo David went down and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. When those who were carrying the ark of the LORD had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets.Ē Probably David offered this sacrifice to God with a twofold design: to make atonement for his errors, and as a thanks-offering for Godís mercy. He must have been full of gratitude and joy when he perceived that all was ok with God. After his previous disappointment David was now transported with delight. He danced before the Lord. His leapt for gladness, which he did ďwith all his might.Ē And David was wearing a linen ephod instead of kingís robe. David laid aside his royal robes, and as taking the lead in the worship of God he wore a linen ephod. He mobilized all his body parts to praise God and to express his joy before the Lord. There was no reservation and limit. He gave all to the Lord.
How did Michal daughter of Saul interpret Davidís actions? Look at verse 16 and 20. ďAs the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart. 20When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, "How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!" There was one person who was unhappy. It was Michal. She despised David in her heart because David did not act like a king. She insulted him. She did not understand his heart of love to God. When we do not understand Godís servants, we should not despise them in our hearts. By doing so, we despise God. We have to pray for them. David came home excited and was ready to bless his household. But Michal met him at the door and ruined his mood and he ended up quarreling with her. How did David explain his actions and rebuke her? Look at verses 21Ė23 ďDavid said to Michal, ĎIt was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD's people Israel-- I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.í And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.Ē David was saying that I do not do this before you or before others. I will do it again if it is before the Lord. We will face many peer pressures to conform to the pattern of the Lord. It is easy to live before manís eyes. We may be misunderstood by our friends and family members because they do not understand our desire to please God. We look extreme and crazy in serving God. They ask us to limit our actions in serving the Lord. But we must stand firm before the Lord and follow his will.
In conclusion, we have to follow God in Godís prescribed way. The Holy Scripture must be our guide and our prayer is the way we obey God. We must dance before the Lord and we must serve the Lord with our heart, soul and strength as we worship God with spirit and truth. May God bless us to do the work of God in his way! Letís read the key verse 14-15