Our 1Chronicles chronology is that Saul has died and David has been made king. Most of our last study we spent being introduced to many of David's mighty men, but now we're about to see David's attempt to re-focus the people of Israel on the Lord...
The ark of the covenant had been stolen by the Philistines during the reign of Saul. When the Lord poured out terrible judgments and afflictions on the Philistine cities in which the ark was kept, they didn't know what to do. After seven months, they decided to send it back.
The Philistine priests and diviners said to send it away with a guilt offering. They were told,
1Sam. 6:7-8 "Now therefore, take and prepare a new cart and two milch cows on which there has never been a yoke; and hitch the cows to the cart and take their calves home, away from them. Take the ark of the LORD and place it on the cart; and put the articles of gold which you return to Him as a guilt offering in a box by its side. Then send it away that it may go."
The ark was taken by the cows to Bayth SHEH-mesh. But when more than 50,000 people of Bayth SHEH-mesh looked into it, the Lord struck every one of them down.
1Sam. 6:20-21 The men of Bayth SHEH-mesh said, "Who is able to stand before the LORD, this holy God? And to whom shall He go up from us?" So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Keer-YATH Yeh-aw-REEM, saying, "The Philistines have brought back the ark of the LORD; come down and take it up to you."
The men of Keer-YATH Yeh-aw-REEM brought the ark to their city, where it remained for twenty years (1Sam. 7:2).
It was glorious to have the ark back. After all, it represented the presence of God. But in his sin, King Saul had not believed that it was a priority. And so the ark had remained at Keer-YATH Yeh-aw-REEM during the rest of Saul's reign.
Now, David's vision was to bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. He gathered the leaders of Israel together so that they would take the lead in gathering all the people together.
The people assembled in Jerusalem, heard David's vision, and agreed that it was the right thing to do.
Although Keer-YATH Yeh-aw-REEM was only eight miles from Jerusalem, David included the people from all over Israel - from 250 miles north in Kham-AWTH to 250 miles south in the Shee-KHORE of Egypt.
Thirty thousand of them (2Sam. 6:1) traveled to Keer-YATH Yeh-aw-REEM with the intention of bringing the ark to Jerusalem. Their desire was to bring back the presence of the Lord. After all, God had told Moses...
Ex. 25:22 "There I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark..."
As a result, one of the names that the people called God was, "the LORD of hosts who sits above the cherubim" (1Sam. 4:4). And so we can understand why the people thought it was right to transport the ark to their new capitol city of Jerusalem. They were excited about the event. The worship music was playing, and the people were celebrating.
However, there was a huge problem:
1Chr. 13:7 They carried the ark of God on a new cart from the house of Ab-ee-naw-DAWB, and Ooz-ZAW and Akh-YO drove the cart.
The ark was being moved on a new cart. At the time, no one was thinking that this was a bad thing. After all, this is the way that the Philistines had returned the ark. When returning it to Israel, they also had loaded it on a new cart and sent it on its way.
But remember: the Lord had proclaimed this object to be holy. It had been constructed with four gold rings fastened onto the feet of the ark (Exod. 25:12). Acacia wood poles overlayed with gold were supposed to be inserted through the rings (Exod. 25:14) and carried by the Levitical priests (Josh. 3:3) on their shoulders (Num. 7:9). It was never supposed to be delivered as ark a la carte!
The ark was also supposed to be covered (Num. 4:5) so that no one would touch it and die (Num. 4:15).
At the threshing floor of Kee-DOHN, the oxen pulling the cart were acting up. It looked as if the ark might fall off of the new cart carrying it. And so Ooz-ZAW put his hand upon the ark to steady it. Bad decision. He was immediately struck down dead.
Now, we might be tempted to say, "Hey, he didn't have time to think. He just reacted instinctively. How could God hold him accountable for something like that?" But here's the real story: they were doing this in violation of the Law of God. Ooz-ZAW was in a place he never should have been in the first place. The sin for which he had been judged would never have had the opportunity to happen had Ooz-ZAW not been involved.
Saints, this is so important for us to understand. If we disobey the Scriptures and put ourselves in compromising positions, then we can expect two things to happen. One, we will find ourselves in situations where we don't have time to think, meditate, contemplate, and pray before having to react. And two, we will be judged for the sin that results, because the time to think, meditate, contemplate, and pray was when we were deciding whether or not to be involved in the situation in the first place.
The man arrested for being in the bar fight says, "I tried to avoid it." But the way to avoid it was not to go to the bar in the first place. The teenager in the car accident at 3:00am says, "I didn't see it coming." But the time to see it coming was when deciding to go out joyriding in the first place.
When Ooz-ZAW was struck down, David became angry. After all, they were just trying to glorify God. They were just trying to usher His presence into Jerusalem. Why should God be angry? He should be thankful! And David's anger burned.
What is David missing? He is missing the fact that although God desires to be glorified, although God desires to be brought into the midst of the people, God does not want us trying to do these things in our own way, on our own terms.
One of my biggest frustrations in the Christian church today is that so many people don't realize this. Instead of reading the Scriptures and seeing how the ark is to be carried, they imitate the world's ways. "Let's make a new cart! That's the ticket!"
One of the commands given us in Deuteronomy is that we not ask...
Deut. 12:30-31 ..."How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?" You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God...
Saints, Paul's heart was to instruct us so that...
1Cor. 4:6 ...you may learn not to exceed what is written...
They had imitated the way that the godless people had done it. And nothing kills a godly vision faster than the implementation of imitation. We need to stop looking at the way the world runs its programs, its fundraisers, its membership drives, and its events, and get back to what God has written in His Word.
Fortunately, David's anger didn't last long. His anger was replaced by a fear of the Lord. And it was when David feared the Lord that his perspective on the whole situation changed. Instead of saying, "This is how I'm going to do it," as he had, he now asks, "How can I do this?"
This is how David started down the path of wisdom, for,
Psa. 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments...
Paul told us that we perfect holiness in the fear of God (2Cor. 7:1). When David got over his anger and began to fear the Lord, he was finally in the right place to wisely discern and begin to understand that he needed to do the commandments of God
For the time being, David would leave the ark at O-BADE Ed-OME's house. You would think that after what happened to the cities of the Philistines, what happened to the people of Bayth SHEH-mesh, and what just happened to Ooz-ZAW, that O-BADE Ed-OME is doomed. But in fact, his house was blessed. The ark remained there for three months.
We're not going to spend much time at all in chapter fourteen, because I want to keep the flow of the story of the ark fresh in our minds. As the chapter begins, David begins to be recognized by other nations diplomatically as king. He also begins to father many children.
The Philistines had a history with David - from his killing of their champion Goliath (1Sam. 17) to his deception of Aw-KEESH (1Sam. 27). Now that they hear he is king of Israel, they are out to get him. David takes this opportunity to strike them down.
The rest of chapter fourteen detail two decisive victories for David against the Philistines at BAH-al Per-aw-TSEEM.
As the ark remained at O-BADE Ed-OME's house, David spent much of those three months searching the Scriptures. He saw in the Law that the ark was to be placed inside of a tabernacle, a tent. So he had a tent constructed.
He also learned that the Levites were to carry the ark, and instructed the people how the Scriptures said this was to happen.
David gathered the priests and Levites together at Jerusalem.
David told the leaders of the Levites that this time things were going to be done biblically and correctly. The reason for the disaster three months ago, David said, was that "we did not seek Him according to the ordinance." The leaders then consecrated themselves in preparation for bringing up the ark.
The priests who were to carry the ark, the singers, and the musicians were all appointed and assigned their various responsibilities.
This time, the transportation of the ark was a joyous event that wasn't interrupted. They sacrificed and sang, they rejoiced.
Notice that it said, "God was helping the Levites." That is such a key. Ooz-ZAW had been smitten for participating in the event, but the Levites were helped. And the difference was that the first time was done in the world's way, the second time was done God's way. May God help us as we do things His way.
While Ken-an-YAW led the singers, David was leaping in celebration and dancing with joy (2Sam. 6:16). His wife Me-KAWL, the daughter of Saul, saw this taking place and was disgusted.
The ark was brought in and put inside the tent. Sacrifices to the Lord were made, and then David spoke blessing over the people. Then, in celebration of this momentous day, David distributed choice food to everyone.
Some of the Levites were appointed as ministers to celebrate and praise the Lord and to give thanks to Him. Others were given the ministry of playing musical instruments, and others to blow the trumpets before the ark.
The next thirty verses give the lyrics to the song which was sung in thanksgiving to the Lord. After it was sung, all the people said, "Amen" and praised the Lord.
The ministers became full-time ministry, doing the work every day as it was required. The thanksgiving, the sacrifices, and the playing and singing were all taking place every day.
It was a glorious day. The presence of the Lord was in that place. The worship service had been phenomenal. The people were blessed, and God was pleased. David couldn't wait to go home and to bless his family.
2Sam. 6:20 But when David returned to bless his household, Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, "How the king of Israel distinguished himself today! He uncovered himself today in the eyes of his servants' maids as one of the foolish ones shamelessly uncovers himself!"
Saints, this is the reality of the world we live in. When you've been ministered to mightily, are full of the Spirit. and ready to bless, expect someone to try and let the air out of you. Understand that your spouse, your parents, or your siblings may despise you. They may try to rip you off, and to take away your joy. They will want to humiliate you for rejoicing in the Lord.
Remember the words of Jesus:
John 16:22 "Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you."
The world wants to steal our joy, but if we keep our eyes on Jesus, then no one will take away our joy from us.