Read 2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 13,15-16
“David was afraid of the LORD that day and said, “How can the ark of the LORD ever come to me?”
2 Samuel 6:9, 1 Chronicles 13:12
When reading these passages, I feel like I’ve ridden a rollercoaster! First I tear up because of the beautiful worship and wonder of God. Then the tears are ones of sadness because of death or disappointment -then up… then back down again…!
David’s idea is a good one. He has just been established as king and he longs to rule according to the will of the LORD. He wants to bring the ark back to Israel because, he says, “we did not inquire of it during the reign of Saul.” (1 Chr 13:3) He assembles everyone and they are celebrating ‘with all their might before God’ before the ark ( 1 Chr 13:7). Can you hear the harps, tambourines, and cymbals? But they have forgotten how the ark of the covenant is to be moved. They use the method of the Philistines instead of God’s prescribed way (1 Chr 15:13, 1 Sam 6:7). When the cart falters and Uzzah reaches out to steady the ark, he is struck down by God because of his irreverence (2 Sam 6:7). David can’t believe it! Can you now hear the silence of a celebrative song stopped dead? David’s joy turns to anger and fear and he despairs of ever bringing the ark back.
But when David hears of the blessing falling on the house of Obed-Edom where the ark had been left, he tries again. This time – God’s way. This time, he rallies the Levites who consecrate themselves to carry the ark as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the LORD (1 Chr 15:15). This time they present burnt offerings and choose instrumentalists and singers from among the Levites – skillful musicians to lead the procession. How much more beautiful the sound of the procession this time! And David writes a psalm of thanks – one that will fill up your heart each time you read it (1 Chr 16:8-36). He blesses the people in the name of the LORD Almighty then hands out bread, dates, and raisins to each one before all the people head home. Do you know that lovely feeling you get when you’ve spent time pouring out your heart in thanks to God? Then imagine you don’t have to make dinner! Delicious food fills the empty spot left by your walking and dancing. You head home – both your heart and your body satisfied.
David heads home with a full heart as well – longing to share blessing with his own family- but it doesn’t work out that way (1 Chr 16:43, 2 Sam 6:20-23). As soon as he walks in the door – actually, he doesn’t even get in the door – Michal, his wife, belittles and mocks him (2 Sam 6:20). Are you ever that voice that drains the fullness of another’s heart and blocks the blessing? Oh how I don’t want that to be me. I’d so much rather be one of those who danced with David and heard his song and shouted, “Amen” and “Praise the LORD”. (1 Chr 16:36)