Becoming a Person After God’s Own Heart (50 Days With David)

Proper Worship (2 Samuel 1-7)

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As we come to the book of 2 Samuel we see that David has now been established as king over Israel. Saul has been killed in battle and any one who has had an eye on the throne has been assassinated. In chapter 5 we see David conquer Jerusalem and he begins to rule from the city of David. Chapter 6 records the moving of the ark of the covenant from Hebron to Jerusalem. As one can imagine, this is a great parade and festival as David is now the king and the ark of the covenant, the symbol of God’s glory, is coming into the city. This is bigger and better than the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. David’s best men are assembled. All of the armies are assembled.

The ark of the covenant is placed on a brand new cart. Uzzah and Ahio are guiding the cart as they are coming in this festival procession. Verse 5 describes the celebration as all sorts of instruments are being played in the joyful occasion. I think it is easy to imagine this celebratory scene. But the oxen pulling the new cart upon which the ark of the covenant is resting stumbles. Uzzah, in an effort to protect the ark from falling off of the cart, puts his hand on the ark to steady it. God strikes Uzzah down for this irreverence. Nothing puts an end to a celebration like God killing someone and having his body lay next to the ark of the covenant. In verse 10 we see that David is outraged at this event. How could God kill Uzzah? Uzzah was trying to do something good. He was trying to keep the ark of the covenant from falling. So David refuses to bring the ark into Jerusalem but sends it to the house of Obed-edom. The funny thing is that the house of Obed-edom was blessed for the three months that the ark remain there.

Taking The Way of Convenience (6:6-11)

I think it is appropriate for us to ask what happened in this scene. When we go back to the law of Moses we find out that the procedures used to bring in the ark of the covenant were wrong. God had commanded the ark be transported in a particular way. The ark was not to be resting on a new cart. The ark was to be carried by the poles on the shoulders of the priests. But not just any priests, the sons of Kohath were to be ones who carried the ark by the poles on their shoulders. None of these things happen when David calls for the ark to be brought into Jerusalem. David did not ask about how these things were to be done. David did what he thought would be best. David and the people took the way of convenience. Rather than go through the work of determining God’s will concerning the ark, David assumes that it does not matter. The people are dancing and celebrating, so why would it matter how we bring the ark to Jerusalem?

Further, we act like David when we are told that God wants us to worship in a particular way. We get outraged and the reason for our outrage is that we want to take the way of convenience. We can’t believe that God would want things done His way. Doesn’t God know that we want to do everything our way?

Doing Things God’s Way

Baptism.As much as the religious world is interested in denying this, baptism is required for salvation. Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Our sins are not forgiven by God until we have been baptized in water. Baptism is not sprinkling water. Then he ordered the chariot to stop, and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him (Acts 8:38). If baptism was sprinkling, then Philip and the eunuch could have used the water the eunuch was carrying on the chariot. If baptism was sprinkling, both of them did not need to go into the water. Obviously, baptism is immersion in water, which is the definition of the word. Further, children were not baptized. Only men and women were baptized. And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women… (Acts 5:14). But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized (Acts 8:12). We never read about children being baptized. This makes sense because a believer must not only be baptized, but also confess sins, confess Jesus as Lord, and repent of one’s sins. A baby cannot do this. Children cannot do this. Understanding sin is necessary. Now we can get all upset at God like David did. But God gave us the directions for receiving grace.

Singing. The law of Jesus Christ does not tell us that we are to be singing with mechanical instruments. All of the commands in the New Testament describe singing.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God (Colossians 3:16). People like to say that the New Testament does not say we cannot use mechanical instruments. But the law of Moses did not say not to put the ark on a new cart. God said carry the ark and that ruled out everything else. God said sing and that rules out everything else. Now we can get upset at God like David did. But God gave us directions in how to worship him.

Using God’s money. God also specified how to use the money collected. The scriptures never describe using the money to build hospital or orphan homes. The scriptures never describe using the money to feed the hungry of the world. These responsibilities are given to us as individuals. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world (James 1:27). The money collected is supposed to be used in spreading the gospel to those who know and do not know the gospel. Now we can get upset at God like David did. But God gave us directions in how to worship him.

Divorce and remarriage. We want to be able to divorce and remarry whenever we please without consequence. But that is not what the scriptures teach us. But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery (Matthew 5:32). Now, we want to complain about these consequences. We do not want to have to stay married unless sexual immorality is committed. We want to be able to divorce for whatever reason and remarry whoever we want and still be right in God’s sight. But that is not what God taught. We must worship and serve God the way He has commanded.

David Danced (6:12-23)

But the story is not done. After three months, David is ready to try again, but notice he is doing things correctly. The ark is now being carried (vs. 13) rather than riding on a cart. After taking six steps, a sacrifice is offered to God. Notice that there is more reverence now as the people are concerned that they do things properly, that is, the way God commanded. David is dancing and the celebration begins as the whole house of Israel is there for the arrival of the glory of the Lord. But there is one person who is not participating in this celebration. Michael, the daughter of Saul, is looking down from her window at all of the festivities and she despised David. Michal has some choice words for David.

“How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants’ maids, as any vulgar fellow might shamelessly uncover himself!” (6:20)

But David’s response in verse 21 is perfect. David says that he was dancing before the Lord. He will celebrate the Lord and he will humble himself even more before the Lord. However, others will see what David did as honorable.

I think we see something very important taught to us in the contrast of David and Michal. First, what is Michal doing up in her chambers rather than being out before the ark of the covenant? Here we see Michal as a pretentious person who thinks it is beneath her to worship the Lord with emotion like the common people. She thinks it is deplorable that David is wearing his linen ephod while dancing before the Lord. He should stand still in his royal garments because he is the king. David did not see himself as anything more than a servant when in the presence of the Lord. Second, we learn the need for worship to be full of emotion and heart. Our worship is not supposed to be stiff and stale. The phrase taught by Paul that all things be done “decently and in order” has come to mean that we should not be excited and emotional about our worship. There is nothing wrong with being caught up in tears when we read the scriptures for the Lord’s Supper describing His crucifixion. In fact, it is refreshing to see people be touched in the heart by the word of God. The word of God should be read with emotion because it is to touch our very hearts. Our prayers should be heartfelt and with deep meaning, not rote memorization.

The word that we need to consider in our worship is enthusiasm. We are commanded to sing, making melody in our hearts to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19). Our hearts are to be engaged. For our hearts to be involved means that we are desiring to worship, enjoying worship, and enthusiastic about what we are doing in worship. It does not matter how bad a song leader is, we should be enthusiastically and powerfully. We should be singing emotionally, plucking the strings of our heart (as the Greek literally means in the command to sing, making melody in our hearts).

Conclusion:

Worship and serve God according to God’s instructions. We cannot worship the Lord any way that we want. Worship is not a matter of our own convenience. We cannot be angry because we cannot do what we want to do as service to God. We must worship the Lord the way he has commanded, otherwise it is not worship at all. Before we worship, we need to determine how God wants us to worship.

Worship and serve God with enthusiasm, without pretense, with emotion and heart. God wants our hearts, not just procedures. We need to put our hearts in every aspect of our worship.

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