Yesterday we left Uzzah dead; dead because 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 (2 Sam. 6:7). This month we are introduced to an angry David; angry because God has killed Uzzah. However, the story does not end there. Let us see in 2 Samuel 6:9-23 how David gets it right and is changed from an angry man to a praising and effective man.
The fear of the LORD The situation starts to change in v9 when we are told that David was afraid of the Lord that day ( 2 Sam. 6:9a). We are always on the right track when the fear of the Lord descends upon us. When we appreciate the greatness of our God, then we always in a position where things might start to move forward. When David’s anger with the Lord subsided and he started to properly appreciate the situation in a godly way then he was gripped by the fear of the Lord. God had come in judgement and David feared such a God.
Carefulness. The casual attitude previously observed with regard to the ark of God was now replaced by a careful thoughtful consideration of what a significant article this ark was. After all, the ark did represent the actual presence of God among His people. Actually, David now, initially, seems to swing too far the other way. He was now so in awe that He felt that he could not bring the ark back to Jerusalem. However, he did not just leave behind the ark rather he made sure it would be cared for in the house of Obed-Edom (see v10).
The presence of God brings blessing. Many people are falsely kept from coming to Christ because they feel it will spoil their lives. However, God’s overwhelming desire is to bless. We read in 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. God wants to bless. David comes to realise this when he receives reports that the house of Obed-Edom has been mightily blessed whilst having the ark of God present.
Obedience Encouraged by this David now ventures to bring the ark up to Jerusalem. He does so with great delight. The delight here though is appropriately conditioned by a desire to please the Lord. When the attempt had originally been made to bring the ark back to Jerusalem the delight did not have this control. We need to notice in particular at the beginning of v13 that the ark is being carried. The clear implication is that the requirements of the law of God in Numbers 4:15 are being followed.
Offerings Previously all the excitement at bringing the ark back had failed to include the making of offerings. There was lots noise and clamour, but no true worship. Relentlessly throughout the law the people of Israel were taught that in order to come before their holy Lord God they needed offerings. We cannot come in our own merit before the Lord we come on the basis of a life given up. David appears to have learned the lesson and rectified the situation He was almost immediately making offerings. We read on v13 When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. This reminds us to soak all of our lives in the finished work of Christ. Always we should be aware that we need the offering of Christ for us to have access to our heavenly Father. The Lord has given us a weekly opportunity in church to visibly remind us of the offering of Christ, the Lord’s Supper. We always miss out when we fail to participate in this great remembrance feast.
Energy True worship is not boring. Half-heated worship is very likely to be boring. David certainly was not half-hearted. He was engaging with the Lord with a passion. And others were joining in. Perhaps if you worshipped in church with a bit more passion others might be lifted and the whole service would be lifted.
True thankfulness. When a job is finished we can very easily fall into the trap of just breathing a sigh of relief and getting on with the next job. David was certainly not going to be guilty of this. As soon as the ark is safely in Jerusalem he is again bringing offerings (see v17) to show his thankfulness to the Lord. He sets us a good example.
Sharing the blessing There was a danger that the people would be very wary of the ark because of what had happened to Uzzah. David, though, wanted all to know that the ark meant blessing. His blessing of the people and sharing of bread and cakes was surely meant to convey this. Everybody tasted of the blessing is what we learn when we are told that both the men and the women received (see v19).
Not all will appreciate God’s blessings. We are first informed of the lack of appreciation that Michal David’s wife had for the Lord and His blessing in v16. She despised David for his exuberant worship. If we are devoted to the Lord it is very possible that others will not appreciate this at all. Sadly in church this can happen when those who fervently seek the Lord can be mocked. This should never be. How sad it was for David that his wife had no appreciation of his love for God. As an interesting, but sad footnote we read in v23 And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death. This was ever a sign in Old Covenant days of the disfavour of God.
We live before God. David had started to get things together when the fear of the Lord came over his soul. And in his altercation with his wife it was an acknowledgement of the Lord which took priority. Fear of man will prove to be a snare (Prov. 29:25a) says Solomon. Let us make sure that we always make sure that the pleasing of the Lord has precedence.
As we see the situation turned around and the ark was brought back to Jerusalem let us learn from the conduct of David. Let get the right attitude to the Lord and put Him first. Like David we need to learn from our failures and other experiences of life and align our lives with God’s purposes.
(Taken and adapted from Feltham Evangelical Church Newsletter of Dec 2012)