Putting the LORD First (2 Samuel #10)

Text: 2 Samuel 6:1-19

David has secured his position as King of Israel. The nation gathered themselves around him and anointed him to be their king. While David was certainly grateful; he knew that Israel was still far away from the Lord. He wanted to bring his people back to God. David led a massive army to retrieve the Ark of the Covenant from the house of a man named Abinadab. David knew that Israel would never be where they needed to be with the Lord until the Ark was restored as the centerpiece of Israelite worship and everyday life.

The Ark of the Covenant was built at the command of the Lord in Exodus under Moses. The Ark was a box of wood that measured 45” long and 27” wide by 27” high. This box was overlaid in pure gold.  It was topped by a golden grate called the Mercy Seat.  On either side of the Mercy Seat were two golden cherubs. Inside the Ark was a golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the two tables of the law that were given to Moses at Mount Sinai. It was here that God promised to meet with His people. It was here that the blood of the atonement was placed on the Day of Atonement. For 75 years the ark had been out of sight and out of mind, David is about to lead Israel to make the LORD the priority in Israel’s national conscience.

It’s time to return the LORD to His place (vss 1-5)

  • David’s desire
    • David as a man after God’s own heart cared about the things that God cared about; who loved what God loved; hated what God hated; and whose heart beat in time with the LORD’s. David’s desire is clear and simple, he wants the Ark returned to its place as the centerpiece of worship and devotion in Israel. He wants God placed back in the center of the national consciousness.
    • David wasn’t motivated by ulterior motives. He was not after glory or power. David merely wanted to see God restored to His proper place as the God of the nation of Israel.
  • David’s understanding
    • Israelites had their property in mind. Israelites had their cattle in their minds. Israelites had their kids in their minds. Israelites had their money in their minds. They carried the cares of this world. But what Israel needed is what we need, that is the LORD at the center of all activity.
    • David knew the presence of the LORD in the minds and hearts of the people was needed.
  • Maybe it’s time you help someone else prioritize the LORD in their lives.
    • David is doing that with the nation.
    • You’ve had your friendship for years now, but you’ve never dealt seriously about putting the LORD first. But it’s tough to have those conversations when the LORD isn’t first in your life.

Return the LORD to His place the right way (vss 6-11)

  • David’s motives in bringing the Ark to Jerusalem were proper, but his methods were faulty. Instead of being successful, David’s methods for transporting the Ark resulted in the death of a man named Uzzah. This angered David and created fear within David’s heart toward the Lord.
  • David’s first problem was the fact that he either forgot or ignored the clear command of God as to how the Ark was to be transported. The Ark was to be lifted by means of two golden staves which were to be passed through golden rings fashioned on the corners of the Ark in Exodus 25:14-15. The Ark was then to be lifted up and carried upon the shoulders of a family of Levites known as the Kohathites. David made good plans, but he neglected to do it God’s way. 
  • David’s methods were the same methods that had been used by the world. When the Philistines had the Ark and wanted to return it to Israel, they had placed it on a new cart as well in 1 Samuel 6:7. Using the world’s methods to bring the LORD into your life won’t work.
  • For the first two miles of their journey, then the oxen shook the cart and threatened to dump the Ark off the cart. At this point, Uzzah reached out his hand in an effort to steady the Ark and prevent it from falling. This seems like a logical thing to do, but the LORD had already given them direction on how the ark should be carried to avoid something like this happening.
  • Does God’s reaction seem harsh to you? The motive was good, but the method was wrong. And the wrong method caused unnecessary trouble.
  • Trying to carry out God’s business using the methods of the world is a recipe for disaster. We have no business trying to carry the LORD on the new carts of the world’s wisdom. He is to be carried on the shoulders and in the hearts of the people of God!
  • David is frustrated and scared.

Joy of the LORD will be your strength (vss 12-16)

  • David had become “gun-shy” and intimidated by the things of God because of what happened. He is reminded when he hears of the blessings being heaped upon the house of Obed-edom. David goes after the Ark and brings it home. This time there would be no shortcuts and no disobedience; David would do it the right way. He would do it the Lord’s way! Just to be sure, the Levites stopped after they had gone six steps and they sacrificed to the Lord.
  • He has also laid the robes of his sovereignty and put on the humble ephod of a seeker.  He has laid aside his pouts and replaced them with shouts.
  • The believer who goes after God with a heart to know Him; and who seeks His face according to His revealed will; is going to receive that which he is after. There are no shortcuts to holiness and obedience.

Generosity marks the LORD in his place (vss 17-19)

  • Offerings are being brought to the LORD.
  • David is giving gifts to all.

Those of his own household criticize David (vss 20-23)

  • Michal has been hurt in many ways. She’s lost her dad, her brothers, the husband she really wanted was forcibly removed by David. But in all this, her scorning is not justified in God’s eyes.
  • David and Michal can’t get along because they don’t feel the same way about the LORD. Michal is ashamed of David’s behavior because Michal cares more about people’s perception than she does about the things of the LORD.
  • If when Jesus Christ is exalted and magnified in someone’s life you can’t be happy about that, it’s because you have no desire to magnify Jesus Christ. On the other hand, when the LORD is magnified the people who love the LORD praise him!