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Revering & rejoicing (2)

David:  As king, David knew better (Deuteronomy 17:18-20).   At the very least, and as he later confessed (1 Chronicles 15:13), he could have inquired of God.  Instead, the way he chose to transport the ark more closely resembled what the pagan Philistines had done (1 Samuel 6), than the way God had commanded.  Had his time in the wilderness dulled his sensitivity to the sacred?

There’s more to consider in David’s story though.  After Saul’s death, David had been anointed king over Judah, while Saul’s son, Ish-Bosheth, was made king over the rest of Israel (2:4,8-9).  A civil war ensued, Ish-Bosheth was killed, and David became king over all Israel (5:1-5).  He captured the city of Jerusalem from the Jebusites.  Since it was located on the border of the area he ruled and the area Ish-Bosheth had ruled, it was a natural place for the capital to be.  David began to consolidate his rule by building a palace there (5:11), and establishing alliances through additional wives (5:13). 

To further establish himself and so that they might inquire of the Lord (1 Chronicles 13:3), David decided to bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem.  Somewhere along the way (perhaps from the headiness that came with victory and power), David seemed to shift in his focus.  Things became less about God and more about him.  As a result, explicit instructions were ignored.  A man lost his life.  David’s reaction was telling; first he was angry with God, then afraid of Him, and finally said, “How can the ark of the LORD ever come to me? (v. 9).  Notice he speaks not of the ark coming to Jerusalem, or to the people, but to him.  From this vantage point, the death of Uzzah seems to be a loud message to David that God will not be trivialized or made a political pawn of David's.  David has three months to reflect upon what has happened (v. 10-11), and his subsequent actions (v. 12-13, 2 Chronicles 15:2,11-15), show that despite his sin, his spirit remained teachable and the ark was brought to Jerusalem in a way that honored God.

David's sense of joy (as expressed by his dancing), is also worthy of note.  Though it might have been more about David than God during the first attempt to move the ark, that hardly could have been the case when a chastised David leads them on the second occasion.  In fact, you don’t have to look far in David’s character to see that he was one who found joy in the Lord --- even in times of deep penitence (Psalm 51:8). 

Rejoicing and reverence go together, but reverence must precede rejoicing! 

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