Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
2 Samuel 6:1-5 (NIV)
David again brought together out of Israel chosen men, thirty thousand in all. He and all his men set out from Baalah of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the ark. 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 with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals.
2 Samuel 6:1-6 (MSG)
David mustered the pick of the troops of Israel — thirty divisions of them. Together with his soldiers, David headed for Baalah to recover the Chest of God, which was called by the Name God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who was enthroned over the pair of angels on the Chest. They placed the Chest of God on a brand-new oxcart and removed it from Abinadab’s house on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, Abinadab’s sons, were driving the new cart loaded with the Chest of God, Ahio in the lead and Uzzah alongside the Chest. David and the whole company of Israel were in the parade, singing at the top of their lungs and playing mandolins, harps, tambourines, castanets, and cymbals.
“Again David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose and went with all those who were with him to Baale-judah [Kiriath-jearim], to bring up from there [to Jerusalem] the ark of God which is called by the Name—the very Name of the Lord of hosts, who dwells enthroned above the cherubim. They placed the ark of God on [a]a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were leading the new cart. So they brought it with the ark of God from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Ahio was walking in front of the ark. Meanwhile, David and all the house of Israel were celebrating and dancing before the Lord with all kinds of instruments made of fir or cypress wood, with lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets, and cymbals. When they came to Nacon’s threshing floor, Uzzah reached out [with his hand] to the ark of God and took hold of it, because the oxen [stumbled and] nearly overturned it.“ –AMPLIFIED
David was wholly and completely devoted to the Lord his God. So much so that once his kingdom was established and he had his residence of authority established his first thought was that he needed to bring the Ark of the Lord to the royal city.
The NIV footnote for this passage gives us some pertinent information.
“David recognized the great significance of the ark as the earthly throne of Israel’s God. As a true theocratic king, he wished to acknowledge the Lord’s kingship and rule over both himself and the people by restoring the ark to the center of the nation’s life.”
David was devoted to the Lord, but we will find that he failed at this point in time to do things God’s way. Instead, we find him following the example of the Philistines. When it came to the Ark, God was very specific on how the item was to be transported. God had instructed the people that the Ark was to be carried on the shoulders of the Levites. (You can read of this in Exodus 25 and in Numbers 4-6)
Let us notice something here, David’s heart was in the right place, but he was going about doing this in all the wrong way. He wanted God to have center stage. He came to retrieve the Ark to put it in a place of honor. He brought many men to help him transport the Ark to Jerusalem. He even had much pomp and circumstance going on while they were moving the Ark. Notice too; all of the company were singing and celebrating with all their might before the Lord. (They thought they were going about this in all the right way, but they failed to follow God’s instructions and ultimately that got them into trouble.)
Something that we all need to remember is that God does not relax his standards for holiness. He loves our devotion, but He still expects us to follow his standards of holiness. “Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God and ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the Lord which sanctify you.” – Leviticus 20:7-8 (KJV)
God still reminds us that there is a need to do things in the proper way; His way. God calls all of His children to live a life that is holy. “As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.” -1 Peter 1:15-16 (MSG)
God’s punishment of Uzzah for touching the Ark made David both angry and afraid. Instead of continuing to bring the Ark up into Jerusalem he kept it outside the city for three months. Finally he brought it into the city when he saw the blessings showered upon those who were keeping it, but he made sure that he did it in the proper way; the way that God had instructed.
It is not enough to be devoted; one must also be holy. There are a whole lot of people devoted to things and other people, but that does not make them right with God. An example of this fact would be Amaziah. The Bible gives this testimony of him, “Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king and reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother was Jehoaddin from Jerusalem. He lived well before God, doing the right thing for the most part. But he wasn’t wholeheartedly devoted to God.” -2 Chronicles 25:1-3 (MSG)
If we truly want to be devoted to God then we must go about expressing that devotion in a proper way. We must do things in a holy manner and God’s way. Not our way.
Lord, sometimes I need a reminder to be sure that I am living my life holy and acceptable before you. Devotion is good, but it is not enough. I must remember that I must follow your ways, not my ways. Allow your Holy Spirit to prompt me. Give me wisdom. My first and foremost purpose is to bring glory and honor to you. Help me, Lord, to do just that.