ZION – MY DWELLING PLACE
Loving Father, your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Help me to keep my feet on your path of righteousness.
Read 2 SAMUEL 6
The Ark Brought to Jerusalem
6 David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand. 2 He and all his men went to Baalah[a] in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name,[b] 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,[c] and Ahio was walking in front of it. 5 David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with castanets,[d] 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.[e]
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. 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.
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.
- 2 Samuel 6:2 That is, Kiriath Jearim (see 1 Chron. 13:6)
- 2 Samuel 6:2 Hebrew; Septuagint and Vulgate do not have the Name.
- 2 Samuel 6:4 Dead Sea Scrolls and some Septuagint manuscripts; Masoretic Text cart 4 and they brought it with the ark of God from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill
- 2 Samuel 6:5 Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint (see also 1 Chron. 13:8) songs
- 2 Samuel 6:8 Perez Uzzah means outbreak against Uzzah.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Take this moment to still your busy life and thoughts. Pray for God’s touch in your heart as you reach out to him. Bow before God’s holy presence.
David has conquered Jerusalem: henceforth, it stands as political center for the new united people of Israel. Now he moves to make it the religious center too. It has been 20 years since the Philistines returned the ark1 – and David wanted it home: ‘For the Lord has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling.’2 The ark’s arrival in Jerusalem is a climactic moment in the religious history of the Israelites: from now on the Lord would place his name in Jerusalem.3
It may be hard for us to see the full importance of this event. Yet Uzzah’s death reveals a stark reality (v 7). David had not taken the ark into the battle for Jerusalem, perhaps demonstrating his feeling that the ark was only symbolic. However, his decision to bring it home reveals a thin division between symbol and reality. For Christians today, baptism and communion are indeed symbolic, but to treat them only as symbols is to treat the Lord’s presence with a dangerous familiarity. God had made clear his instructions for moving the ark (to carry it using the poles).4 Here, the people deviated from God’s instructions. Yet God isn’t intermittently just or unjust. The laws he gave were for the people’s protection. David reacted with anger initially; this was followed by understandable measures (v 10). The ark, however symbolic, represented the presence of the Lord and was to be honored and treated as holy. I am drawn to reflect on Calvary: the cross is symbolic and totally mysterious, because it allows us to reach out to God, as Uzzah could not. I can stand in God’s presence without fear because of Jesus. Yet that freedom, illuminated through this passage, reminds us that God is still holy and it is only by grace that we enter his presence.
Read Psalm 132, reflecting on the captivating promises and lavish blessings as the bridegroom sings over his bride, his people, and over you today.
Father, I praise you for your great power, your righteousness. Thank you for your love, for your grace and mercy poured out for me.
1 1 Sam 7:2 2 Ps 132:13 3 David Tsumura, NICOT The Second book of Samuel, Eerdmans, 2019, p106 4 Exod 25:14
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