Today I am writing from Bellingham. It was great being home after several weeks on the road. This is not for long though, I am off to Bulgaria on Wednesday. Yesterday I got to speak at ALife and it was a great time to be with my local church family. I spoke on the theme of worship as I am also going to continue today.
When David became the king of Israel his first order of business was to recover the Ark of the Covenant of God and to bring it to the place of his rule in Jerusalem. The Ark of the Covenant was a testimony of the manifest presence of God. It had been missing from the Tabernacle of Witness for twenty years. David knew that if he were to rule righteously as the king of the earthly kingdom on earth that represented God’s kingdom from heaven, he would have to have the manifest presence of God in Israel. To rule as a testimony of heavenly order, he there must be a presence of heaven with him. His first attempt to recover the ark was a failure. His attempt was a valiant effort, but the result was a total loss. He used only the best and choice men of Israel and he gathered thirty thousand for the task. His efforts were efforts that he felt would best represent God. It was according to his own thinking of what God is like. His effort to recover the ark was before all the people. They were in a place of praise (Judah meaning praise), but that praise was a false praise – it was a place called Bale Judah (Baale meaning lord; master; possessor; controller; possessor of anything; owner). His efforts were according to his own ability and the present controlling situation.
2 Samuel 6:1 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.
When David recovered the ark of God he put it upon a new cart. He brought it out from the house of Abinadab and Abinadab’s sons, Uzzah and Ahio, accompanied the ark. They drove the cart that was pulled by an oxen. The name Uzzah means strength and the name Ahio means brotherly.
2 Samuel 6:3 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.
Ahio (brotherly) went before the ark. It seems that David’s intentions were what seemed best to the community. The path of direction for the presence of God was led by one who was brotherly (Ahio). Both Uzzah and Ahio were sons of Abinadab, a name meaning father of nobility, my father is noble, father or source of liberality, the liberal father. Like us, they depicted what it means to be children of God. Our Father is noble, a source of liberty, and liberal in His ways. Those ways are His however, and His liberty is not defined by what we define it to be. There seems to have been preparation in the efforts of king David. The presence of God was being ushered in with the best worship and praise music in the land.
2 Samuel 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.
It appears that they had all the latest worship hits. They had the best instruments, the greatest expression of instruments, the best sound system, the best practice, and the best song list. They were likely playing and singing the songs that were popular among the people and caused the people to feel strong. A beast of creation (the cow) was pulling the Creator on a human made cart with big wheels. That cart no doubt had the best boards to make the best structure and the biggest wheels to make it move where they wanted it to go. Every piece of its structure was in its right place for the task of driving the presence of God to they place they wanted it to go. They were taking the ark of God through Nachon’s threshing floor. The name Nachon means prepared or established place. They had made many human preparations for what should be done with the presence of God, but then the oxen stumbled. Strength (Uzah) was driving the presence of God to the place they had prepared for it (Nachon’s threshing floor), while all that seemed seeker friendly and brotherly (Ahio) led the procession. It was not doubt a pleasing sight to the people! Suddenly, one creature in the procession received a revelation that the Creator was in their midst. That creature was the oxen and he stumbled as a symbol of service and worship to the One who was among them. One creature was taking the position of worship before the Creator. Human strength (Uzah) quickly sought to stabilize the presence of God on the cart, as if the Creator needed anyone to support His presence among the people. As strength tried to stabilize the unexpected, the Lord struck strength for his error and strength (Uzah) died. Rather than being a prepared threshing floor for the presence of God, it became a place where the presence of God destroyed every independent effort of human will.
2 Samuel 6:6 And when they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7 Then the anger of the LORD was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God. 8 And David became angry because of the LORD’S outbreak against Uzzah; and he called the name of the place Perez Uzzah to this day.
When we are responsible for God in our midst we must allow God to lead our responses. We cannot create prepared places for God and try to drive a created form in leading the will of God. If we find ourselves in a leadership role, we must let God lead and we in turn must lead others as God directs. True worship and praise does not drive God, drive the people, or drive any human effort to be mistaken for the glory of God’s presence.
King David was afraid of the Lord that day so he sought for a place to take the ark of God. He put the ark in Oded-edom’s house, Obed-edom means a servant of the earth. The ark remained there for three months and God blessed Obed-edom and all of his house.
2 Samuel 6:9 David was afraid of the LORD that day; and he said, “How can the ark of the LORD come to me?” 10 So David would not move the ark of the LORD with him into the City of David; but David took it aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. 11 The ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months. And the LORD blessed Obed-edom and all his household.
When King David saw that God had blessed Obed-edom he realized that he need to try again to bring the presence of God to Jerusalem. The Scripture does not reveal the details of how David knew to deliver the ark on his second attempt, but he must have spent time seeking the will of God in the matter. He likely went to the Scriptures and the priests in his day. His method the second time was one prescribed by God and not by the will of the people. It was a plan prescribed by God’s strength and not the strength of human will. If we want to experience God’s presence among us we must let God reveal to us the prescribed plan. We cannot seek to be friendly toward human seekers, but to be friendly to the One who seeks those who will worship Him in spirit and truth. God responds to our worship, but our worship is also a response to His presence in our midst.
2 Samuel 6:12 Now it was told King David, saying, “The LORD has blessed the house of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the City of David with gladness.
The presence of God in our midst invokes a response of gladness in the hearts of the people. If we are involved in leading worship, we can play a wrong song, break a string on a guitar, hit the wrong note on the keyboard, break a drum stick, fall down on the stage, experience feedback in the sound system, forget the words to a song, or many other things and none of those will grieve the Holy Spirit. When we get a bad attitude over anything it will grieve the Holy Spirit every time. Gladness is a testimony that the fruit of the Spirit is in our midst and we must not quench the Spirit.
2 Samuel 6:13 And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep.
True worship and praise is based upon personal testimonies. The ark of God’s presence must be carried by each and every one. It cannot be placed upon a cart with big wheels. It must become the responsibility of all who are priests before Him. We are a priesthood of believers and the presence of God in our midst is dependent upon God’s presence in the life of each and everyone of us. True worship and praise is a ministry that demonstrates God’s grace at work in our midst. It is not a ministry of law. For every six steps that the priests took, an oxed and a fattet sheep were sacrificed. Six is a number symbolizing man. It is not the strength of men that carries the presence of God to the place that He desire. It is through a willingness to lose our lives that we truly find them. It is in accepting the once for all sacrifice of Christ that we find His anointing in our lives that exceeds any human effort of our own. The presence of God is a testimony of His way and it changes our way and gives us changed hearts before Him.
2 Samuel 6:14 Then David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod.
The presence of God inspired David to dance. He had to be willing to loose control. He danced with all of his might. He was giving God all that was within him. If God has all that is within us there will always be an external witness to it. David was wearing a linen ephod. He had the clothing of a priest and he was demonstrating that true worship and prase does not sweat or strive. It is a place of life, liberty, and freedom!
2 Samuel 6:15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet.
When God is in our midst it inspires corporate responses. Worship and praise are not mere individual performances. They are corporate expressions of God in our midst. David demonstrated shouting. The shout of the King, the shout of God’s presence in in the midst of true worship and praise. It doesn’t always have to be loud, but it is always a testimony of Jesus in our midst. Where the King is, there is the shout of the King ( ) King David released the sound of the trumpets. Trumpets are a symbol of God’s prophetic power. True worship and praise releases a prophetic sound of God in our midst. God speaks, and life happens! God speaks, and lives are changed!
2 Samuel 6:16 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.
David was leaping and whirling before the Lord. The Lord was in control of the room, not King David. He was embracing a NOW experience with God. His wife Michal did not embrace it. She was stuck in a sound from the past. She didn’t see herself as one with her husband David in the experience. She viewed herself as Saul’s daughter, a testimony of the past. If we hold on to the experiences of the past and value them more than the experiences of God in our present we will miss seeing God in the room. We must let God be in control of the room. We must let God be in control of our hearts. If we value some form of religion from the past more than the presence of God in the season of today, we will be barren for the future testimony of God in our lives.
2 Samuel 6:17-19 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. And when David had finished offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts. 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.
The people were blessed when the presence of God became the testimony in their midst. There was a testimony of forgiveness and peace. There was a testimony of being one with God! The people were blessed with the first, the best, and the most of all that God had for them. They were able to go to their own houses ready for the increasing rule of God in the kingdom of Israel. Michal, David’s wife, was stuck in the glory of the past. She was not able to experience the blessing of God in the present and remained barren until her death.
2 Samuel 6:20-23 Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, “How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” So David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the LORD. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor.” Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.
Ted J. Hanson