King David was a man who sought the Lord and wanted to know his presence of God in his and the nation’s life, because of this he wanted the Ark of the Covenant to be in Jerusalem.In his zeal to bring the Ark to Jerusalem, he fails to follow the commands of the Law and instead he imitates the way Philistines had used to return the Ark. god uses this incident to remind David and all those who read this account that he is a Holy and Righteous God who commands us to seek him in his own way. David was right to want to practice the presence of God, where he went wrong was trying to do it in a way that seemed right to him. It takes the death of Uzzah to make David realise how awesome God really is.
David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand. 2 He and all his men went to Baalah in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark. 3 They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart 4 with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. 5 David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with castanets, harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums and cymbals.
6 When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. 7 The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God.
8 Then David was angry because the LORD’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah.
9 David was afraid of the LORD that day and said, “How can the ark of the LORD ever come to me?” 10 He was not willing to take the ark of the LORD to be with him in the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite.
The New International Version. (2011). (2 Sa 6:1–10). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
David’s heart was in the right place but he used the wrong means there were strict instructions as to who was to carry the Ark and Uzzah is not one of the Priests and he is therefore not entitled to touch the Ark. Notice that the actions of Uzzah are described as an “irreverent act”, The Lord is able to protect his own ark, he does not need the help of man. We must remember too that as we seek to practice the presence of God, we need to do so as those who realise that our God is holy as well as gracious. We must not explain this away as being just an Old Testament story because we see that God moves in judgement in similar ways in the New Testament. The Apostle John in the book of Revelation shows the greatness ,glory and majesty of our God, yet John and David were to also realise that this Holy God is a Gracious and Loving God. When we realise that God is present and working powerfully in our lives , we encounter God both as holy and gracious. Our sins condemn us in the light of God’s holiness but God in his great grace grants us forgiveness and newness of life. As the account continues we see that God’s grace is manifested,
11 The ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the LORD blessed him and his entire household.
12 Now King David was told, “The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. 13 When those who were carrying the ark of the LORD had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. 14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets.The New International Version. (2011). (2 Sa 6:11–15). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Notice here that Obed-edom is blessed because the Lord is present, this is god acting in his grace towards people. It soon became obvious to all around that the presence of the Lord made a great difference, Obed-Edom and his whole household were blessed. The word soon got back to David and he realised that he needed to bring the ark to Jerusalem in the right way. This next attempt to bring the Ark to Jerusalem was successful because it followed the pattern of the Law of God. At every step of the way, God is honoured. David organises the Priests to carry the ark but he also provides sacrifices. These actions show that David realised that he was entirely dependent upon the grace of God. This time, he comes up to Jerusalem with rejoicing knowing that God is great and that he is gracious. David found the presence of God to be exciting, reverence for David did not mean standing quietly but rather he excitedly dances before the Lord. Sometimes we see others worshipping in a way we are not used to and we find ourselves being critical when we should be rejoicing with others.
16 As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart.
17 They brought the ark of the LORD and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the LORD. 18 After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD Almighty. 19 Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.
20 When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”
21 David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the LORD. 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”
23 And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.
The New International Version. (2011). (2 Sa 6:16–7:1). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Michal, David’s wife was critical of David for his dancing before the Lord and she despised him for it. these actions brought about God’s judgement upon her. David was confident that he was worshipping the Lord with his whole being and he knew that he was not being dishonoured by the ordinary person. David was willing to be seen as undignified if that would exalt God more, David sees his so called lack of dignity as coming directly from his worship of God.
How can we apply this to ourselves today, (1) We should seek the Lord as wholeheartedly as David did, (2) We must remember that we serve a God of holy love, a God who is righteous and gracious? (3) We must realise that God is always present to bless his people and he desires that they walk closely with him.
Will we desire to pursue the presence of God in our lives because we know how great a God he is and because we want to give him all the honour and glory?