Praise in Dance

2 Samuel 6:1-5, 14-19

SS Lesson for 09/12/2021

 

Devotional Scripture: Ps 150:1-6

Lesson Background and Key Verse

Background from the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

Today’s lesson focuses on the relocation of the Ark of the Covenant to David’s new capital city, Jerusalem (see the parallel account in 1 Chronicles 15). The Ark of the Covenant was Israel’s most sacred object. It was an ornate chest constructed to God’s specifications in about 1446 BC. The lid of the ark was called the atonement cover. That lid featured two winged cherubim facing each other from opposite ends; that’s where God said he would meet with Moses (Exodus 25:10–22). One detail of the ark’s construction is especially important for today’s lesson: the gold rings and wooden poles (see 2 Samuel 6:3). The ark itself contained the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s staff, and manna from Israel’s wilderness wanderings (Hebrews 9:4; compare Exodus 40:20). These were reminders of deliverance from Egypt and provisions on the way to the Promised Land. The ark was housed in the innermost part of the tabernacle, “the Most Holy Place” (Leviticus 16:2). Only the high priest was ever allowed to enter, and that only once a year after extensive acts of ritual cleansing (16:3–25). That ark was so holy that those responsible for its upkeep and transportation were not allowed to touch it, lest they die (Numbers 4:15, 20; see 2 Samuel 6:5). After God led the Israelites into the Promised Land, they forsook the covenant during the period of the judges (about 1380–1050 BC). Repeated numerous times was the dreary cycle of rebellion, retribution, repentance, and restoration. As that period drew to a close in the days of Samuel, the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant and took it to Ashdod (about 1070 BC). That was a city near the Mediterranean coast and about 45 miles west of Jerusalem. But God inflicted health problems on the Philistines, so they sent the ark back to Israel (1 Samuel 5:6–6:12). The cart transporting the ark made its way to the Israelite city of Beth Shemesh (1 Samuel 6:13–15). Unfortunately, the people there disrespected the ark by gazing on its contents, and 70 people died as a result (6:19). So residents sent it to Kiriath Jearim, where it stayed for 20 years (1 Samuel 7:1–2) until the days of King David. The first seven and a half years of David’s reign was a time of distraction as he was occupied with securing his position as king (2 Samuel 1:1–5:5). Having successfully done so, and having secured Jerusalem as his capital as well as defeating the Philistines again (5:6–25), David turned his attention to the ark.

 

Key Verse: 2 Sam 6:5

Then David and all the house of Israel played music before the Lord on all kinds of instruments of fir wood, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals.

 

Commentary from the Bible Knowledge Commentary

6:1-5. For 100 long years the Ark of the Covenant had been separated from the tabernacle and other places of worship. After its capture by the Philistines at Aphek (1 Sam. 4:11) it remained in Philistia for seven months, then briefly at Beth Shemesh, and the rest of the time at Kiriath Jearim. Now David had taken Jerusalem, a neutral place, and made it the political capital of the kingdom. All that remained was to retrieve the ark, place it in the tabernacle he would erect on Mount Zion, and declare Jerusalem the religious center of the nation as well. David first went with 30,000 men to Baalah of Judah (the same as Kiriath Jearim; Josh. 15:9) to bring the ark from the house of Abinadab, its custodian. Described as that which bore the name of God Himself, the ark represented the presence of God who dwelled among His people in a special way (cf. Ex. 25:22). As such, it was to be handled with reverence, even in its transportation from place to place. The Law specified that it be carried by Levites who would bear it on their shoulders by means of poles passed through gold rings attached to the ark (Ex. 25:14; cf. Num. 4:15, 20). Even the Levites could not touch the ark or even look in it because of its holiness. Why David overlooked these requirements it is impossible to know, but he and Uzzah and Ahio, two descendants of Abinadab, placed the ark on a cart and proceeded, with great musical celebration, toward Jerusalem. The use of musical instruments (2 Sam. 6:5) was common in Israel’s worship as may be seen, for example, in Psalm 150 where most of the same instruments are listed.

6:6-11. Along the way they passed over a rough outcropping of stone, a threshing place belonging to Nacon (or Kidon; 1 Chron. 13:9), and the oxen stumbled, threatening to throw the ark from the cart. Instinctively Uzzah, one of the attendants, laid hold of the ark to prevent its fall, an act of irreverence that cost him his life. The harshness of the Lord’s discipline must be seen in the light of His absolute holiness which requires that sacred tasks be done in a sacred manner (cf. 1 Sam. 6:19-7:2). Since God had broken out (pāraṣ) in wrath on Uzzah, David named that place Perez (“outbreak against”) Uzzah. David learned his lesson. He would not move the ark again until the Lord gave him instruction. It remained, therefore, in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite (a native of Gath) for three months.

6:12-15. At last the procession began again, this time according to divine requirement. As the ark was carried along, David offered sacrifice, dressed in priestly attire (a linen ephod), and dancing and shouting for joy with the Israelites. Here trumpets were played (cf. other instruments in v. 5). David was not a descendant of Aaron, and could not therefore ordinarily qualify to be a priest. He was, however, the anointed of the Lord, the founder of that messianic line that would be fulfilled in the King who would also embrace the offices of priest and prophet (7:12-16; 1 Sam. 2:35; Deut. 18:15-19). Some other Davidic kings functioned religiously as well, though not always properly (1 Kings 3:4; 8:62-63; 2 Chron. 26:16-19).

6:16-23. At length the procession made its way into Jerusalem itself. Michal, David’s first wife and Saul’s daughter, saw the king... dancing excitedly before the Lord and, chagrined and embarrassed by his celebrating, later rebuked him for it (v. 20). David defended his actions, affirming that he had done nothing wrong (vv. 21-22). David apparently separated from her and she never had any children. Michal had impugned his holy zeal to be nothing but exhibitionism, a charge which hurt him deeply. (See 21:8.) The ark had been placed in a tabernacle which David had prepared (6:17). There the king continued his burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord and climaxed the festivities with food gifts, a loaf of bread, a cake of dates, and a cake of raisins to each person in the assembled crowd.

 

Major Theme Analysis

(Scriptural Text from the New King James Version; cross-references from the NIV)

Praise in Moving of the Ark (2 Sam 6:1-5)

 

1 Again David gathered all the choice men of Israel, thirty thousand.

2 And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, whose name is called by the Name, the Lord of Hosts, who dwells between the cherubim.

3 So they set the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart.

4 And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill, accompanying the ark of God; and Ahio went before the ark.

5 Then David and all the house of Israel played music before the Lord on all kinds of instruments of fir wood, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals.

 

Gathering the people (1-2)

Gathering to simulate love and good deeds (Heb 10:23-25)

23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Gathering in the presence of God (Matt 18:20)

20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

Gathering for fellowship (Acts 2:42-47)

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Gathering for prayer (Acts 1:14)

14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

 

Gathering around the Ark (3-4)

Around the Ark to bring offerings (Num 7:9-12)

9 But Moses did not give any to the Kohathites, because they were to carry on their shoulders the holy things, for which they were responsible. 10 When the altar was anointed, the leaders brought their offerings for its dedication and presented them before the altar. 11 For the Lord had said to Moses, "Each day one leader is to bring his offering for the dedication of the altar."

Around the Ark to keep watch over it (1 Sam 6:7-10)

7 "Now then, get a new cart ready, with two cows that have calved and have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up. 8 Take the ark of the Lord and put it on the cart, and in a chest beside it put the gold objects you are sending back to him as a guilt offering. Send it on its way, 9 but keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh, then the Lord has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us and that it happened to us by chance." 10 So they did this. They took two such cows and hitched them to the cart and penned up their calves.

Around the Ark to praise God for His works (Josh 3:3-7)

3 giving orders to the people: "When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about a thousand yards between you and the ark; do not go near it." 5 Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you." 6 Joshua said to the priests, "Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people." So they took it up and went ahead of them. 7 And the Lord said to Joshua, "Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.

Around the Ark to praise God with music and songs (1 Chron 15:14-16)

14 So the priests and Levites consecrated themselves in order to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. 15 And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord. 16 David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brothers as singers to sing joyful songs, accompanied by musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals.

 

Celebrating with music (5)

Celebrating with thanksgiving and music (Ps 95:2)

2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.

Celebrating with singing (1 Chron 16:9-10)

9 Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. 10 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.

Celebrating with instruments (2 Chron 5:13)

13 The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: "He is good; his love endures forever." Then the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud,

Celebrating through praise (Rev 7:12)

12 saying: "Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!"

 

Dancing before God and the Ark (2 Sam 6:14-16)

 

14 Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod.

15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet.

16 Now as the ark of the Lord came into the City of David, Michal, Saul's daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart.

 

Dancing by the king (14)

Dancing to exalt God (Exodus 15:20-22)

20 Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. 21 Miriam sang to them: "Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea."

Dancing to praise God for His help (Ps 30:10-12)

10 Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me; O Lord, be my help." 11 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, 12 that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.

Dancing to exalt God’s Name (Ps 149:3)

3 Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp.

Dancing to praise God (Ps 150:4)

4 praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute,

 

Praising by the people (15)

Praising God for what He has done (Ps 52:9)

9 I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints.

Praising God for His ways (Ps 77:12-13)

12 I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. 13 Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God?

Praising God for His holy Name (Ps 105:1-3)

1 Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. 2 Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. 3 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.

Praising God for His mighty power (Ps 147:5)

5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.

 

Despised by the daughter (16)

Despised because Jesus was also despised (Isa 53:3-4)

3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.

Despised because of lack of understanding (Acts 2:11-13)

11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs — we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?" 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine."

Despised because of not having spiritual discernment (1 Cor 2:14-15)

14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment:

Despised because there is a time to dance (Eccl 3:4)

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

 

Offerings to God for Return of the Ark (2 Sam 6:17-19)

 

17 So they brought the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place in the midst of the tabernacle that David had erected for it. Then David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.

18 And when David had finished offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts.

19 Then he distributed among all the people, among the whole multitude of Israel, both the women and the men, to everyone a loaf of bread, a piece of meat, and a cake of raisins. So all the people departed, everyone to his house.

 

Peace offerings to God (17)

Peace offerings that are without blemishes (Lev 3:1)

1 'When his offering is a sacrifice of a peace offering, if he offers it of the herd, whether male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the Lord.

Peace offerings out of our own free will (Lev 19:5)

5 'And if you offer a sacrifice of a peace offering to the Lord, you shall offer it of your own free will.

Peace offerings to give thanks (2 Chron 31:2)

2 And Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests and the Levites according to their divisions, each man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and peace offerings, to serve, to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the camp of the Lord.

 

Offerings that result in blessings from God (18)

Blessings in the heavenly realms (Eph 1:3)

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Blessings through the promises to Abraham (Gal 3:8-9)

8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." 9 So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Blessings of a new covenant through Jesus (Heb 9:15)

15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance — now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

Blessings of restoral (1 Peter 5:10)

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

 

Food offerings to the people (19)

Offerings of food to commemorate and praise God (1 Chron 16:3-5)

3 Then he distributed to everyone of Israel, both man and woman, to everyone a loaf of bread, a piece of meat, and a cake of raisins.4 And he appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to commemorate, to thank, and to praise the Lord God of Israel:

Offerings of food because of holy days (Neh 8:10-12)

10 Then he said to them, "Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." 11 So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, "Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved." 12 And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.

Offerings of food from God who owns everything (Ps 50:10-15)

10 for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. 12 If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it. 13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? 14 Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, 15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me."

Offerings of food from God who supplies all needs (2 Cor 9:10-11)

10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

 

Conclusion and Other Thoughts

Commentary Thoughts from Bob Deffinbaugh

1. God’s holy presence should be the focus of true corporate worship.

God is omnipresent--present everywhere at the same time. But His presence is not realized everywhere. When I talk about the presence of God, I mean His realized presence. When God’s people come together for worship, they ought to focus on His holy presence among them.

A. God’s holy presence was symbolized in the ark.

The ark was a rectangular box about 3 3/4 feet long by 2 1/4 feet wide by 2 1/4 feet high. It contained the 10 Commandments and, in earlier days, at least, Aaron’s rod which budded and a pot of manna. It was made of wood overlaid with gold. On top of the ark was the mercy seat, a solid slab of gold on which the high priest sprinkled the blood of the sacrificial lamb once a year on the Day of Atonement. The ark was kept in the Holy of Holies and was always kept covered when being moved on a journey.

The ark was the symbol of God’s meeting with His people on the basis of atonement. The Lord told Moses, “And there I will meet with you ...” (Exod. 25:22). It was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. The materials of the ark, gold and wood, typified the person of Christ as both God and man. The function of the ark as the mercy-seat typified the work of Christ as the sacrificial Lamb of God.

When we gather as God’s people, we gather unto the Lord Jesus who is in our midst. It is because of His Person, God in human flesh, and His work as the satisfaction of the divine penalty for our sins, that we can draw near unto God.

B. God’s holy presence is an awesome thing.

The ark is described here (6:2) as “the ark of God which is called by the Name, the very name of the Lord of hosts who is enthroned above the cherubim.” The cherubim are angels who dwell in the presence of God. They are awesome in their appearance, being associated with fire and lightning and the blinding brightness of the glory of the Lord (Ezek. 1:4-14; 10:3-22). Two golden cherubim with their wings touching overshadowed the mercy seat on the Ark of the Covenant. The only human eyes that could view that sight were those of the high priest, and that only once a year in strict accordance with the procedures God had ordained.

As David and the people worshiped before this ark, it’s clear that they were worshiping “before the Lord” (the phrase occurs six times in this chapter: verses 5, 14, 16, 17, 21 [twice]). As we’ll see, even though they had this sense of God’s presence, they were too careless about it at first, with tragic consequences. But God made it explicitly clear that to worship in His presence is an awesome thing, not to be taken lightly.

We live in a day of flippant Christianity that has brought God down to the “good buddy in the sky” level, where we’ve lost the proper sense of awe and fear in His holy presence. John MacArthur tells about a pastor friend of his who told John that Jesus often appears to him and talks with him in the mornings as he is shaving. John’s incredulous response was, “And you keep shaving?” In his excellent book, The Ultimate Priority ([Moody Press], pp. 79-80), he writes, “I am certain that if the people today who claim to have seen God really saw Him, they wouldn’t be lining up to get on the latest Christian talk show; they’d be lying prostrate on the ground, grieving over their sin.”

As we gather to worship, it would transform us and our worship if we would focus on the truth that we are gathering in God’s holy presence. We should not come primarily to meet with our friends, although fellowship is an important function of the church. We should come primarily to meet with God. True corporate worship involves focusing on the fact that the Holy God is here. That means that ...

2. Reverence in God’s presence should be our response in true corporate worship.

Since the ark was the visible symbol of the presence of God in the midst of His people, you would think that there would have been a uniform response of reverence on the part of all who were in the presence of the ark. But if you go back about 75 years and trace the history of the ark, you find quite different and instructive responses to its presence.

The Israelites: “A good luck charm” (1 Sam. 4): The worship of God was a dead ritual for most of Israel at this time. The two priestly sons of Eli were corrupt, committing immorality with women at the doorway of the Tabernacle (2:22). When they encountered difficulties with the Philistines, someone got the idea, “Let’s get the ark and carry it into battle” (4:3, 5-11). They were using it as a good luck charm. God allowed them to be defeated, and the ark was captured by the Philistines.

There are churchgoers in our day who attempt to use the church as a good luck charm. They’re having problems in their lives, so they think, “I’ll go to church and try to rub God the right way and maybe He will solve my problems.” But for them, worship is nothing more than a good luck charm to try to get God on their side. They know nothing of God’s holy presence.

The Philistines: “A plague” (1 Sam. 5): The Philistines set up the ark next to their god, Dagon, but the Lord caused their idol to fall down and break into pieces. Next, God struck them all with tumors of some sort (some scholars have suggested hemorrhoids) and with mice (5:6; 6:4-5). As you can imagine, the Philistines wanted to get rid of the ark as quickly as possible. They were quite uncomfortable (literally) with the presence of God.

Even so, there are some who feel a plague of guilt when they come near a church where God’s presence is known. They are uncomfortable around those who manifest the presence of the Lord.

Abinadab: “Ho hum!” (1 Sam. 7:1-2; 2 Sam. 6:3): The Philistines sent the ark back to Israel on a cart, and it wound up in the house of Abinadab. It had been there for almost 70 years by David’s time. It is significant that we do not read of any results in Abinadab’s household for having the ark there all those years. We’ll see in a moment that it was in Obed-edom’s house for just three months and resulted in great blessing. But it was 70 years in Abinadab’s house, and nothing happened.

Some churchgoers are like that. They can come for years into a church where God is present, but it has no appreciable effect on their lives. “Huh? What’s that gold box up there on the mantle? Oh, it’s the Ark of the Covenant. Interesting piece of furniture, isn’t it? Ho hum.” You can be in the very presence of God and have it glance right off, if your heart isn’t seeking after Him.

Uzzah: “Don’t have a cow, man!” (2 Sam. 6:6-7): That’s what Uzzah might have said if he had lived in our day and if he had lived to say anything! As David and company moved the ark toward Jerusalem on an oxcart, the oxen stumbled and the ark almost fell to the dirt. Uzzah reached out his hand to steady it and God struck him dead on the spot.

Some folks think that God was a bit touchy and harsh for doing this. Even David got angry at God, as we shall see. What was so bad about what Uzzah did? After all, he was just trying to help, wasn’t he? Any wagon driver would have done the same with any valuable piece of furniture under his care, wouldn’t he?

Yes, and that was precisely Uzzah’s problem. He saw no difference between the ark and any other valuable article. He was overly familiar with that which was utterly sacred. Uzzah was the son (or grandson) of Abinadab. He had grown up with the ark in his home. It was commonplace to him: “What’s the big deal?” But he should have known that even the Levitical priests who carried the ark were not permitted to touch it, but carried it on poles inserted through rings attached to it.

Some in our day--often they are people who have grown up in the church--trifle with the things of God. God is commonplace to them. I once worked with a young man who was studying for the ministry at a liberal seminary. At work one day he joked about how he had been drunk Saturday night and had spent the night in immorality with his girlfriend, but had to get up and conduct a communion service for some young people the next day. I was horrified at his flippancy toward God! He wasn’t struck dead on the spot, but he was in grave danger spiritually.

Those who have a problem with what God did to Uzzah need to gain the Bible’s perspective on God’s absolute holiness and man’s utter sinfulness. As R. C. Sproul points out (The Holiness of God [Tyndale, p. 141), what Uzzah did was an act of arrogance. He “assumed that his hand was less polluted than the earth. But it wasn’t the ground or the mud that would desecrate the ark; it was the touch of man.” We need to take God seriously!

David: “Angry at God” (1 Sam. 6:8-10): David got angry at God and then he grew afraid--not a healthy fear of the Lord, but an unhealthy fear that caused him to draw back and ask, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” There was some pride behind David’s anger. He was embarrassed in front of the crowd. God had not done things David’s way. God had rained on David’s parade.

But the problem wasn’t that God hadn’t done things David’s way, but that David hadn’t done things God’s way. God’s Word is clear that the ark had to be carried by the Levites in a prescribed way, on their shoulders without touching it, not on an oxcart (Num. 4:15; 7:6-9). Where had they gotten the idea of an oxcart? From the Philistines (1 Sam. 6:7)! It worked in the world; why not bring it into the church?

Any time the church starts imitating the world in its worship, they can’t expect the Lord to give His blessing. And, they dare not get mad at God when He doesn’t! There are folks in the church who think that they want God’s presence, but they don’t understand God’s holiness. Or they play loose with God’s truth. When things don’t go the way they wanted, they get angry and blame God. What they ought to do is get on their faces and figure out why God’s blessing is not on their lives or on their church.

Michal: “Don’t get fanatical!” (6:16, 20). She was David’s wife, but here she is called the daughter of Saul to show where she’s coming from. Notice her relationship to the worship celebration: She was a spectator (6:16). Why wasn’t she a participant? She should have been down in the streets, rejoicing in the celebration. But instead she peeked out the window and got embarrassed by what she saw as David’s fanaticism. Michal loved David the warrior but she could not sympathize with David the worshiper. That embarrassed her. Her problem, like that of her father, was pride. David had dealt with his earlier pride and now he humbled himself to worship the Lord without caring what others thought (6:22). Michal was not willing to humble herself, and so the Lord humbled her with the ultimate disgrace in that society, barrenness (6:23).

The critics of true worshipers are always proud spectators, not humble participants. They’re concerned about what others may think. It doesn’t occur to them to be concerned about what God thinks.

Obed-edom: “Delighted in God” (6:10-11). We’re not sure who Obed-edom was. He was probably a Levite who lived nearby. But he had no problem bringing the ark to his house right after Uzzah was stuck dead for touching it! Isn’t that amazing! Can’t you hear him: “Hey, this is great! Put it over there on the coffee table, guys!” Here was a man whose heart was right before the Lord. The presence of God was not a threat to him. It was a delight! He was totally comfortable living with God in the midst of his home. So the Lord blessed the man and his household (6:11). David heard about it, got his heart right with the Lord and joined Obed-edom in desiring the presence of God again. But Obed-edom had something to teach David (and us) in that he wanted the ark of the holy presence of God with him immediately after Uzzah had been struck dead for touching it.

How would you feel if, as happened in the early church with Ananias and Sapphira, someone here was struck dead for trifling with God and then Jesus appeared bodily and said, “I’d like to come live in your home for three months”? Would you welcome Him or would you be a bit nervous? He is there, you know! If you revere God in your personal devotions and in your corporate worship, you’d be delighted at the prospect, as Obed-edom was.

     (Adapted from URL:https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-6-worship-my-response-god-s-presence-2-samuel-6)

 

Concluding Thoughts from the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary

We Christians get excited when we see God at work in our midst. We are then tempted to respond in ways that come naturally to us; we are inclined to do what our culture has conditioned us to do when things are going our way. Yet David learned that not any and all responses are appropriate to our holy God. In every believer’s life, the end and the means are all tangled together. How a thing is accomplished matters to the Lord. We must consult God’s Word to learn the right means to the ends we seek as we honor the Lord. We must not rush to do what seems right in our own eyes, even when we are trying to do right by God. Let us not assume we know God’s will until we have carefully tested it against his Word.

 

Concluding Thoughts from the Echoes Commentary

The Ark of God - King David resolved to move the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel. The king desired for the congregation to experience God's presence. David sought to show his recognition to Jehovah, and on behalf of the Israelite nation. David danced with high energy and exuberance as the priest carried the ark into Jerusalem. The ark was a rectangular wooden box, overlaid with gold, measuring approximately three feet long and two feet wide. Inside it were the Ten Commandments, Aaron's rod, and a jar of manna. The mercy seat was on the top of the ark. The high priest sprinkled the mercy seat with the blood of a sacrificial lamb once a year. The ark of covenant symbolized God's presence, glory, and throne (Ps. 88:1; 99:1). The presence of the ark also fulfilled the Father's desire to dwell among His people.

 

The Ark Taken and Returned - After an intense battle with Israel, the Philistines seized the ark from the Israelite army. The ark ended up in Kiriath Jearim, secured by the household of Abinadab for over 70 years (1 Sam. 5:1-7:1) until King David carried the ark into Jerusalem. He gathered over 30,000 of his best soldiers to move the ark. Initially, David transported the ark on a cart. But that method of transport went against the Scriptures' instructions. Only the Levites carried the box and only with poles upon their shoulders.

 

David's Celebration - David danced as the procession paraded into the city. He worshiped with nothing held back, declaring his appreciation for God. One of his spouses, Michal, condemned his worship, characterizing his exuberant dancing as inappropriate for a monarch, but David's dance fit right into the jubilation occasion. The crowds played musical instruments, tambourines, and loud trumpets, and sang, cheered, and danced. Scripture speaks about worship in God's presence as a delight, a celebration. Oh yes, we need to take time to repent for sin, but after the sadness is released, joy needs to explode within as we recognize God's forgiveness, mercy, and grace.