109 - Bringing the Ark to Jerusalem
April 19 - Nº 109 2 Samuel 6; 1 Chronicles 13, 15-16
David had moved the political capital of Israel to the City of David (later called Jerusalem—see #107 - April 17). But he also wanted this to be the spiritual capital of the nation. So, he consulted the leaders and priests about bringing the Ark of God to Mount Zion. For 20 years the Ark had remained in the home of a man named Abinidab (see #87 - March 28). Everyone in Israel agreed that it was time to make God the central focus of their nation again. Unfortunately, in their haste to accomplish this great task, they neglected some important details. In Numbers 4:15, God had given very specific instructions on how the holy items from the Tabernacle were to be transported. Only Levitical priests who were from the clan of Kohath were allowed to move the Ark (see #55 - February 24). They were to cover it and carry it on long poles that fit into rings that were attached to the sides (see Exodus 37:3-5). No one was ever allowed to touch the Ark! However, instead of having the priests carry the Ark, the Israelites placed it on a cart pulled by a team of oxen. As the cart moved toward its new location, the king and all the people celebrated before God. They sang and danced joyfully. Suddenly one of the oxen stumbled. The cart rocked, and a man named Uzzah reached out to steady the Ark. But the moment he touched it; God struck him dead. David was very upset. Why would God do this? Wasn’t Uzzah doing what seemed right at the time? David became afraid of God, so he stored the Ark in a nearby home. It stayed in the home of Obed-Edom for three months. This gave David a chance to study God’s rules. Meanwhile, the Lord blessed Obed-Edom and his family and everything he owned. David realized that God wanted to bless the Israelites with His presence, but for this to take place, they had to obey all His instructions. So, David set up a tent for the Ark. Then he had the Levites purify themselves. They carried the Ark up the mountain on their shoulders, using poles just as God had commanded. As the Ark entered the capital, the priests made sacrifices to the Lord. Everyone rejoiced and sang and shouted for joy. David took off his royal coat and danced with everyone else. The Levites placed the Ark in the special tent David had erected. David offered more sacrifices. Then he blessed the people and fed them. Michal, David’s wife, had been watching everything from a window. She was shocked to see her husband leaping around and celebrating like the common people. It made her despise him. So, she confronted him when he got home. “What you did was shameful,” she accused him. “You took off your royal coat and jumped around like a fool in front of the slave girls.” But David replied, “I humbled myself and celebrated before the Lord. I will gladly do it again, and these slave girls will honor me for this.” As a consequence of her actions, Michal lived her entire life without ever having children.
Have you ever attempted to do something that you thought would please God, but neglected to check out how He really wanted it done? So many of the problems we have in our society are brought on by well-meaning people (like Uzzah) who do what feels right at the moment. As David discovered, failure to follow the instructions and commandments that God has given can lead to disaster.