Sunday, June 18, 2023

David brings the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem

David has gone from watching over the few sheep of his father, to be anointed as king of Israel. He was anointed, but then he waited. He waited many years, being persecuted by the ruling forces. He was on the run. He was hiding in caves. He fought battles. He dealt with foreign kings. He refused to harm his enemy king Saul. David ruled in Hebron for 7 years. Then he was made king of the entire nation.

All of it had come true, because God was with him, and made sure it would happen. David’s part in that was to obey God, trust God, and follow God’s leading.

During this time in Israel’s history they had something that represented the presence of God among them. It was called “the ark of the covenant.” It was this gold chest, with depictions of angels on it, and inside was a staff that belonged to aaron, as well as the stone slabs where the ten commandments were written. And it was said that God’s presence was there in between the two angels on the ark of the covenant.

It was a symbol of God’s presence and all he had done for them. He had used the staff to help guide them out of slavery in Egypt. He had given them the ten commandments, a design for living for them, to live rightly and to avoid evil.

It’s similar today, we have the cross as a symbol of our faith. We have the Salvation Army flag, we have different symbols to show who we are in Christ. But in the time of Israel, God would actually dwell with the ark of the covenant. His presence would be in the tent of meeting with Moses. 

Today, with Jesus Christ as our savior, we have God’s presence living within us. Instead of going to a tent, or a temple, to meet God, God lives within us, by His Spirit. Think about that, what an amazing thing indeed!

That’s why our physical body is called a temple of God. And we ought to be careful with that temple. Because our body is a temple of God. God dwells within us, by faith.

So in 2nd Samuel 6 we see the Ark of the Covenant being brought to Jerusalem. David intends to bring it to the new capital of the nation.

It says, “David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand. 2 He and all his men went to Baalah in 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 on the ark. 3 They 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, were guiding the new cart 4 with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. 5 David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with castanets, harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums and cymbals.”

This is like a parade going on, David has 30 thousand men gathered, and they are bringing the ark. But there is a problem here. They’ve set the ark on a cart and they’re using oxen to move it. This is not how the ark is supposed to be moved. It was supposed to be carried by men.

So we’re going to see something terrible happen here. It’s pretty scary, actually. And it’s a good reminder, that we should reverence God and regard God as holy, and to fear God.

It says this: (verses 6-11) "When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. 7 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.

8 Then David was angry because the Lord’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah.

9 David was afraid of the Lord that day and said, “How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?” 10 He was not willing to take the ark of the Lord to be with him in the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. 11 The 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.”

David feared God that day. He was in fact angry at what happened. We should have a healthy fear of God. It helps keep me on the right track. Fear isn’t always a bad thing. Worldly fear is bad. Godly fear is good. The cool thing is, when I fear God first, I don’t have to fear anything in the world or even in myself.

God strikes this man dead because he was mishandling the ark of the covenant. This is obviously a very rare occurrence. God doesn’t often just strike people dead. It does happen though, as far as I know. It happened with Ananias and Sapphira in the new testament, they lied to the Holy Spirit, and they were both struck dead by God for what they’d done.

There are moments in our lives that are very important. Moments where it’s very important we make the right decision. Think of Moses, when God told him to speak to the rock instead of strike the rock. He struck the rock in anger, and God said because you’ve done this irreverent act, you will not be able to go into the promised land.

There will be key moments in your life when you need to make the right decision. God will convict you in those moments, and help you to make the right decision. But you’ve still got to make it. Avoid the temptation, do the right thing, or it may badly disrupt the course of your life.

We often want to change what God says. We want to tweak it a little. We say well we’re supposed to carry the cart, let’s have some animals pull it. We change things. We twist the word of God. We say well, I don’t like God’s design for marriage, I’m going to change it to fit the worlds view. Just a little tweak. I don’t like this in the Bible, so I’m gonna change it. And those small decisions, they seem small, end up having huge consequences.

They tweaked it a little bit here, changed it, and there were major consequences. David is stunned. And he basically says well, we can’t move the ark then, so he leaves it with a family for safe keeping.

But then David notices later, this family has been blessed by having the ark in their home. So he decides to try again to bring it into Jerusalem. And this time, things work out better.

It says in verses 12-15: “Now King David was told, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. 13 When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. 14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.”

This is one of the greatest moments in the entire Bible if you ask me. Israel has suffered, struggled, they were divided in civil war, they had demanded a king from God, even though they had the prophets as God’s voice to them. Things were terrible under King Saul and Saul was rejected by God, and lost everything.

The nation has been dragged along for all this. But finally, the nation is united, under a leader who is leading them to worship God in truth. And it’s great. They can watch and learn to have a heart like David, who dances furiously before the Lord. 

Maybe we should dance before the Lord! We should be that excited about God, because he’s our Lord, we should dance before God with joy. I’m sure in heaven we will.

If we do things God’s way, and don’t change it, don’t twist it, things will work out, like they do here for David. David dances before the ark as they bring it into the city of David. Amazing! Glorious, victorious moment. The presence of God enters the city, the new capital, and everyone celebrates, led by the true King, David, the King in exile who at last has taken over the nation. Finally, the evil king is gone, the good king takes the throne, and everything is ok at last. A man after God’s own heart is on the throne.

Next in verses 16-19: “As 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.

They brought the ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the Lord. 18 After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord Almighty. 19 Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.”

David makes these sacrifices, these offerings, on behalf of the people, and blesses the people, they celebrate, and everyone gets a loaf of bread, dates, raisins, and they go home in peace. They have cake, celebrate, such a great day, and then they go home.

Sometimes we just gotta celebrate. Last week I went to the ordination service for the class of 21-23’ from The Salvation Army seminary and we celebrated their ordination and their first appointments as officers. It was a wonderful celebration. When good times happen, we celebrate, praise the Lord!

King David honors God, keeps God first, and the ark of the covenant and the tent of meeting is set up in the new capital of Israel.

In verses 20-23 we see an incident with Michal, David’s wife who was Saul’s daughter.

It says this: “20 When 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, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”

21 David said to Michal, “It 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. 22 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.”

23 And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.”

It was irreverent for the man to grab hold of the ark of the covenant. But for David to dance before the Lord, that was reverence. Michal didn’t seem to understand that. She felt David’s dancing was an offense. She thought one must be quiet and dignified, but that’s formality talking. That’s not true living faith. That’s not spiritual faith. Spirit led faith is dancing excitedly before God. It’s celebrating God with shouts of praise and glorious singing and vibrant worship.

Remember that about God, he wants your passion, he wants you excited, he wants you to shout for joy before the Lord, and dance furiously before Him. But do it God’s way. Don’t make your own way. Don’t change what he’s said.

Often in formalism we change it to fit what makes us comfortable. But that’s not God’s way. God’s way is passionate, excited, joyous, celebratory, even dancing in an ephod before the Lord, is acceptable worship to God.

David isn’t worried about how he looks to himself, he thinks, who cares if it seems silly to me, if it’s reverent to God. Keep God first, and things will work out. Keep God second, and your life with crumble.


1. Your body is God’s temple, honor God with your body

2. Fear God in your life, it will help keep you on track

3. Make the right decision when it’s hard, at key moments in life

4. Don’t Tweak/Change what God has already said

5. Be Excited about your Relationship with God

6. Celebrate Victories in your Life and in your friends, family, and churches life

7. Reverence is Joyous as well as Solemn / Irreverence is an offense to God