David and the Ark | 2 Samuel 6
"Then Jesus took his disciples up the mountain and gathering around him, he taught them saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the meek.
Blessed are they that mourn.
Blessed are the merciful.
Blessed are they who thirst for justice.
Blessed are you when persecuted.
Blessed are you when you suffer.
Be glad and rejoice for your reward is great in heaven.
Then Simon Peter said....
Do we have to write this down?
And Andrew said....
Are we supposed to know this?
And James said...
Will we have a test on this?
And Philip said....
I don't have any paper.
And Bartholomew said....
Do we have to turn this in?
And John said...
The other disciples didn't have to learn this.
And Matthew said....
Can I go to the boy's room?
And Judas said....
What does this have to do with the real world?
Then one of the Pharisees who was present asked to see Jesus's lesson plan and inquired of Jesus...
Where is your anticipatory set and your objectives in this cognitive domain?
And Jesus wept.
Details! They are a part of life but just like the disciples we do not know how to deal with them at times. Which ones can we ignore and which ones should we remember?
Israel had become spiritually malnourished under Saul's reign. The tabernacle had deteriorated, its furnishings had been scattered, the worship had become virtually meaningless. Since God's presence was associated with the tabernacle furnishings, the people of Israel no longer felt his nearness. As Israel's new king, David wanted to re-establish the center of worship. He wanted to renew his people's fear of God and fatten their spiritual fervor.
David once again displays that his life pulsed to the heartbeat of God. He was committed to obeying the Lord God of hosts. He was Man after God's own heart.
The theme of this chapter is a theme that we have heard before. But it is a theme that we need to hear over and over. We need to apply to our Life what King David knew about God's will. How can we know if we are a person after God's own heart? How can we know if we take God's will seriously? Is your heart linked to God's heart or does your heart follow a different agenda than that of God? For you see, the better you know where you stand with the Lord, the freer you can be.
II Samuel 6 tells us a interesting story about David and the Ark of the Covenant. It is not only a story about David, Uzzah and Michal. It is a story about us. This morning I invite you look in a spiritual mirror and see if the characteristics of your life matche that of the characteristics of one whose life is pulsing to the heartbeat of God.
First - If our life pulses to the heartbeat of God we will know where to meet Him.
King David knew that the existence of his new kingdom depended on strong center of worship. He knew that meant gathering the articles of the tabernacle, particularly the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant was the very place that God met His people.
And David arose, and went with all the people who were with him from Ba'ale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who dwelleth between the cherubims. (II Samuel 6:2)
The ark was a chest of acacia wood, gold plated inside and out. It was rimmed with a border of Gold. It was over three feet long, two feet wide and two feet high. Its pure gold lid, the mercy seat, held two cheribs of hammered gold with wings outstretched over the cover. It contained only three objects: A golden jar containing manna, Aaron's rod, and the Ten Commandments. It was the most important part of the tabernacle.
Even before the cross worship was highly symbolic. When the Israelites looked at the ark, they saw more than a box made from acacia wood and gold. They saw holiness...the very glory of God.
Although there is no longer a tabernacle, an ark of the covenant, or a holy of holies, God's presence is still found in a valuable vessel. This vessel is our heart.
We are creatures that have an incredible thirst and hunger for God. Augustine of Hippo once prayed:
O God, thou hast made us for thyself and our Souls are restless, searching, 'til they find their rest in thee.
King David knew where to meet God. He knew that his wholeness depended on knowing where to find God. As you look in the mirror do you see a person that knows where to meet God? Is your life pulsing at the heartbeat of God? Paul wrote:
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for you are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (II Corinthians 6:16)
Second - If your life pulses to the heartbeat of God we will respect His holiness and will follow His precepts. In his zeal to bring the ark to Jerusalem, David overlooked God's instructions on how to transport it, bringing it instead on the wheels of haste and convenience.
And they placed the ark of God on a new cart that they might bring it from the house of Abinadab which was on a hill; and Uzzah and Ahio were leading the cart...But when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out toward the ark of God and took hold of it for the oxen nearly upset it. And the anger of the Lord burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down for his irreverence; and he died their by the ark of God. (I Samuel 6:3,6-7)
Instead of being carried on the shoulders of Levites, the ark was carried on a cart. and instead of revering the ark, Uzzah touched it, desecrating its holiness. Clearly, David had overlooked the details of God's plan, details so important to God that He took Uzzah's life.
There is no doubt that Uzzah had the best of intentions. But he did the right thing in the wrong way. The means did not justify the end. John Newton said, "If you think you see the ark of God falling you can be quite sure that it is due to a swimming in your own head!"
God has given us general principles as well as specific precepts to follow. We ourselves will be stricken for our sincere but half hearted attempts to do His will. Some say it doesn't matter what a person believes as long as he or she is sincere. I am sure that would be very comforting to Uzzah. One cannot go down a wrong road in life with good intentions and expect to end up where God wants. Our sincerity only matters when we follow God's precepts, the specific plan of God for our life.
How about it? Are you banking on God to accept you because of your intentions? I hope you are depending on the grace of God through Jesus Christ as your way to God? Is your life pulsing to the heartbeat of God?
Third - If your life is pulsing to the heartbeat of God you will fear Him. Do you live life with the awareness of God's presence?
As Uzzah's body lay alongside the ark, David's anger burned against God, until an awareness of God's presence gripped his raging heart and turned him back.
And David became angry because of the Lord's outburst against Uzzah. So David was afraid of the Lord that day; and said, "How can the ark of the Lord come to me?" (II Samuel 6:3-9)
David was not perfect. But he was sensitive to sin. He admitted his wrong and began to take God seriously. He humbly refused to move the ark to Jerusalem and took it to the house Obed-edom instead.
During the three months the ark was with Obed-edom. David watched the blessing it brought to his house, which made David eager to bring it to Jerusalem.
What happened to make David change his mind? The answer: he did his homework. He discovered the proper way to carry the ark. He said to the Levites:
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. (I Chronicles 15:13)
King David not only admitted his wrong, the next time around he made it right. He instructed the levites that they were to carry the ark on their shoulders, with the poles that the Lord had instructed them to have.
When it comes to obeying God, it's the details, the rings and the poles, that snag us. Either we don't want to go to the trouble of getting the poles, or we don't want to carry them upon our shoulders. So we grab a cart, rewrite the rules and do our own way.
Are there some rings and poles that you have been ignoring? What are the details of God's will that you have been ignoring? Your study life? Your prayer life? Your church life? Being a child of God means more than just being aware of the details. It means doing those things God wants you to do, caring for the things God wants you to care for, grieving over what grieve him, being willing to do His will, His way.
As you look at your life do you see someone who fears God? Are continuously aware of his presence? Is your life pulsing to the heartbeat of God?
Fourth - If your life is pulsing to the heartbeat of God you will have a deep wisdom of what it means to be free.
Some might think that following every detail of God's will would make you unbending and stern. But this wasn't the case with David. When he followed the detail of God we find that David was anything but rigid.
And David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all of the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouting and the sound of the trumpet. (II Samuel 6:14-15)
For David, it was more than a religious rite. It was the release from his remorse; the restoration of his joy in the Lord after profound repentance; the liberation of his whole person from fear of having offended the Almighty. He acknowledged that God once deigned to come and dwell among his people.
During the celebration, David composed one of his most magnificent psalms. Few others match this one for the honor, praise and majesty poured out upon God. (I Chronicles 16:7ff).
Do you have a deep wisdom of what it means to be free? If not, place your burden in the hands of God and begin to experience what it means to be free instead of in bondage.
How does your life compare to that of what God would have? Every direction has a destination. In 5, 10, 15 years you will have made it. The question is where? Will your life be one that pulses to the heartbeat of God?