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David and The Good Life | Worship
October 16, 2022
2 Samuel 6:2-16
2And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale-judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim. 3And they carried 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, were driving the new cart, 4with the ark of God, and Ahio went before the ark.
5And David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. 6And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God. 8And David was angry because the Lord had broken out against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzzah to this day. 9And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” 10So David was not willing to take the ark of the Lord into the city of David. But David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. 11And 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.
12And it was told King David, “The Lord has blessed the household 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 rejoicing. 13And when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal. 14And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. 15So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn.
16As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart.
For the past few weeks, we have been looking at the life of David, based on 1 and 2 Samuel in order to answer the most ancient and perennial set of questions: What is the good life, and where can I find it? David, as we have learned thus far, was neither perfect in his character as a man after God’s own heart, nor in his rule as God’s anointed king. David lived his whole life in response to God’s presence and power in his life, and for that very reason, David’s life helps us answer the question: What is the good life? And where can we find it?
This week’s discussion is based on 2 Samuel 6. As far as the story of David is concerned, a lot has happened since the day of his entry into Saul’s court. David’s best friend Jonathan is dead, and so is David’s archenemy Saul. In 2 Samuel 5, we read about David’s public anointing as the king of Israel. As a new king, David wastes no time in making significant geo-political moves in order to unify the divided northern and southern kingdoms. David begins with capturing Jerusalem and transforming it into a political stronghold. David’s actions had theological significance as well. By bringing the ark from the house of Abinadab (6:3), David transformed Jerusalem into the place where God was pleased to dwell among his people, to make himself known. In other words, Jerusalem, with the ark of the Lord in it, was the center of the earth, the site of God’s throne, the connecting link between heaven and earth.
This passage records the momentous event in the life of Israel—bringing the ark of the Lord to Jerusalem. However, the journey wasn’t smooth. David, in his enthusiasm, overlooks the mode of transport of the ark of the Lord, which symbolizes God’s presence and holiness. Instead of carrying the ark on poles, Uzzah and Ahio, who were not the authorized personnel to handle the ark, transport it on a cart. In verse 6-7 we read about the death of Uzzah upon touching the ark. It is important for us to understand that Uzzah’s death here emphasizes the holiness of God, and most importantly, it teaches us that we are called to worship God on his own terms and not on our terms.
David realizes the significance of God’s presence. He learns from his mistakes. In verses 13-15, we see David transporting the ark as established by God himself. David’s enthusiasm in worshiping the Lord is seen in his singing and dancing, and in his leading the procession from front. In this passage we also see Michal despising David’s worship of the Lord. This chapter ends on a somber note. Michal and David’s relationship is hampered after this incident, and as promised by God, the line of Saul ends with Michal who remained childless to the day of her death (6:23).
To discover and experience Jesus Christ in our midst
To cultivate mutually encouraging relationships
To participate in God’s mission to the world
Bless your servants, O God, and favor us with your steadfast love. May your love flow through us like springs of living water, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days of our lives. Amen.
Responsive Prayer—Psalm 34:1-8
1I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad.
3Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!
4I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
5Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
6This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.
7The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
8Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
1. Looking at the Bible
What does the text say? Who are the important characters in this passage?
- As mentioned in the summary above, this passage records the momentous event of the bringing of the ark of the Lord into Jerusalem. Why is the ark of the Lord significant in the life of Israel?
- What does the ark of the Lord symbolize?
- In verse 6-7, we learn about the death of Uzzah upon touching the ark of the Lord. What are we to make of this incident? What does this teach about the presence of God, particularly as it pertains to worship?
- In verses 21-22, we see David responding to Michal. What can we learn about true worship from David’s actions, and his response to Michal?
2. Looking at Jesus
At Central we believe that all of Scripture points to Jesus. In other words, Jesus is the theological center of the Bible. Every passage not only points to Jesus, but the grand narrative of the Bible also finds its fulfillment in the person and work of Jesus.
- In this passage we learn that the ark of the Lord symbolizes the presence and the holiness of God. What can we understand about the presence and the holiness of Jesus—in our hearts and in our worship, both privately and corporately as church?
- How does our union with Christ reconcile us to the holy and righteous God who despises false worship?
- How does David’s devotion to God in worship point us to Jesus’ devotion to his Father?
3. Looking at Our Hearts
G.K Chesterton makes an insightful observation about worship. He says, “For when we cease to worship God, we do not worship nothing, we worship anything.” The Bible categorically defines the purpose of human existence—to glorify God in worship and to enjoy his presence forever. As the command center of our thoughts and volitions, our hearts play a crucial role in worship.
- The death of Uzzah reveals to us the danger of putting God in a box by worshiping him on our terms. In what ways do we subjectivize worship to suit our needs?
- David’s zeal and enthusiasm in worship gives us an insight into his heart. What can we learn about devotion to God from David?
4. Looking at Our World
- How is this passage hopeful for Christians living in a city filled with idols of materialism, fame, and pleasure luring us into false worship?
- How is church as the place of true worship a refuge for both saints and sinners alike?
Go forth, relying on the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not according to our works, but to God’s purpose and grace.
View Study Guide Notes
Question 1: The ark of the Lord symbolized the presence and holiness of the Lord God of Israel. David’s actions were not merely political, but most importantly, they were theological in nature. By moving the ark to Jerusalem, David transformed Jerusalem as the center of worship, the place where the presence of God was among his people, as promised to Moses, Abraham, and Jacob.
The incident of Uzzah’s death could evoke questions among the group about God’s character and judgment. On the surface, Uzzah’s death seems like an overreaction on God’s part. In fact, David is said to be upset at God for striking Uzzah to death (6:8). Wasn’t Uzzah doing the right thing by making sure the ark was secure? Take this opportunity to emphasize the centrality and sacredness of worship. We are commanded to worship God on his terms, and not on our terms. Worship of God is not merely subjective, but it is rooted in the revelation of God’s character—his presence, glory, and holiness, as seen in the Bible. David, in his enthusiasm, presumed upon the holiness of God. Uzzah and Ahio, instead of carrying the ark on poles, transport it on a cart. This passage teaches us an important lesson about true worship. God is more concerned about his holiness, glory, and presence, and how we honor him in worship than mere enthusiasm. True worship, in other words, honors God by recognizing his presence and holiness, and by ordering our thoughts and actions accordingly.
David’s response to Michal gives us an insight into David’s devotion to God. Michal despises David for acting like a common man by singing and dancing. Michal, in her spiritual blindness, reminds us of her father, Saul. She is blind to David’s devotion to God, and his true worship of the God who is the source of all blessings and honor in his life. We are called to worship God with zeal and enthusiasm that befits God’s character and his presence. In worship we are called to give God the glory that he truly deserves. God, and not us or our innovative worship style, is the center of worship on a Sunday morning.
Question 2: In John 1 we learn about the Word made flesh. Jesus is referred to as Emmanuel—the presence of God with us. In his incarnation, Jesus, the second person of the Trinity takes on human flesh, to dwell among people. John poignantly describes Jesus’ presence on earth in “temple/ark of the Lord” language. John says that Jesus, as the ark of the Lord, tabernacled among sinful people. Jesus is described as holy, righteous, and sinless in the Bible. In John 2, Jesus established himself as the living temple of God by challenging the religious authorities who dishonored God by their false worship. Jesus offers his presence to us by sending the Holy Spirit who is aptly described as our helper in need. As Christians, we are called to be mindful of our bodies as the dwelling place of God, and as Paul says, we carry the presence of God with us. Emphasize the seriousness of worshiping God by acknowledging his presence in us as the Holy Spirit, and his presence among us as we worship together as brothers and sisters.
The death of Uzzah reveals to us the serious nature of worshiping God on our own terms. God’s presence is powerful and holy. Remember Isaiah’s reaction in Isaiah 6—we are told that Isaiah is overcome by awe and fear of the presence of the Lord. Isaiah reacts by bowing down and acknowledging his unrighteousness in light of God’s righteousness. Unlike Uzzah, Isaiah is not stricken down by God. Instead, in an act of sheer grace and mercy, Isaiah is cleansed by God. God is holy, and in worship we gather into his holy presence, giving him all the glory. If we are honest with ourselves we would readily admit that in our worship we oftentimes fall short of honoring God’s presence. However, like Isaiah we are spared, not because of our devotion, but because of the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Jesus, by his perfect obedience and devotion to God in worship, offers himself as the sacrifice to cleanse all our sins and shame. As Christians who are united with Christ, we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus—who alone truly and fully honors God the Father in his worship and devotion. Jesus, in other words, is the mercy seat who by his sacrifice, gives sinners the access to worship God in his presence.
Question 3: As God’s image bearers, we are created to reflect God’s glory in our devotion to God. God’s worship takes center stage, particularly on Sundays, as we worship God corporately through singing, reading the word, and in hearing of the preached word. God graciously calls us into his presence and receives all the glory through our worship. By subjectivizing worship—be it through emotional manipulation by songs using smoke machines, or by reducing worship to a performative act, we dishonor God, and rob him of his glory. Stress on the importance of worshiping God on his terms.
David’s zeal and enthusiasm reveals to us an important truth about devotion to God. As the king of Israel, David introduced music and verbal elements (psalms) into Israel’s corporate worship. God used David’s musical skills (remember he was introduced as a musician) to receive glory and honor. As Christians we have the liberty to choose the musical instruments, or a particular genre of songs as long as they are employed to glorify and honor God in worship. Worship, in other words, is God’s invitation to us to enter his presence to glorify him. We see it beautifully manifested in the book of Revelation where people from all tongues, tribes, and nations worship God in the new heavens and new earth.
Question 4: Church is called the bastion of truth as it is the place where saints and sinners alike gather to offer true worship to the eternal God. As a church in corporate worship, we honor God who pardons our sins and reconciles us to himself in Jesus. When we gather together to worship, we enter into God’s presence, and when we step out of church, we carry God’s presence as he sends us out on mission. Our mission as Christians is to live a life of worship, reflecting the ongoing transformative work of the gospel. As we live a life of worship, God in his providence will use as his instruments to reconcile sinners to himself to offer true worship that is rightly due his name. Thus, worship is both a Christian privilege and responsibility.