Friday, September 30, 2022

David & The Ark of the Covenant - August 2022 Journal Entry

 Our church is doing a Summer sermon series where different members share about 'This Verse Changed My Life.'  After the very first sermon, I considered which verse that might be for me, and immediately my mind went to 2 Samuel 6:14.  "...and David danced before the Lord with all his might..."  In fact, I've previously written a blog post (click here to read it) about why that verse impacts me so much.

The week after the first sermon in this series was shared, I couldn't get the idea of sharing about my own verse out of my head.  I texted the pastor to see if there would be a possibility of fitting me in the summer schedule.  It turned out that the schedule was full, but when the pastors found out which verse I wanted to share about, they wanted to squeeze me in.  I was pretty excited to be given 5-10 minutes to share in a service.  My shorter talk required me having to 'edit out' several interesting thoughts I had about David's relationship with God and God's heart for us.  I'll share those things in two blog posts - this one below, and this one I wrote earlier.

Bringing the Ark Home

In this previous post about the closing lines of Psalm 23, I talk about the value and importance a shepherd must put on a dwelling place to rest.  A shepherd back then would've spent all their time in the elements, keeping a watchful eye out for their sheep.  It was a 24/7 job with not a lot of comfort.  Coming back home to an actual dwelling with good shelter would be like a vacation for a shepherd. 

Should we be surprised then, when David's first priority after becoming king is to build a house for God?  Or, when God denies David that chance, David still does what he can to bring the Ark of the Covenant close to him and the protection of his home in Jerusalem?  Up to this point, the Ark had been on a rather nomadic (sometimes eventful - see 1 Samuel chapters 4-7) journey.  The shepherd in David wanted to put that past to rest - literally and figuratively.

Doing the Right Thing the Right Way

That's probably why he didn't stall very long after the tragedy of the death of Uzzah on his first try bringing the Ark into Jerusalem (see 2 Samuel 6).  Something like that would have definitely made me pause for a long time and question "Did I do the right thing?  Was it a mistake to move the Ark?"  I'm not sure David was even asking that question - I think he somehow knew in his shepherd's heart the getting the Ark to Jerusalem was the right thing to do.  So he started an investigation into "What did we do wrong?" and discovered that they weren't moving the Ark the correct way.

Interestingly, sandwiched around this story in 2 Samuel are a couple of stories where David is planning battles against enemies and the first questions he asks before doing anything are "Will God give us victory?  If so, what's the correct way to go about getting the victory?"  Unfortunately, he neglected apply this same line of questioning when moving the Ark.  

Where in my life did I do the right thing, but the wrong way?  Sigh.  I'm so thankful for grace and forgiveness because there are a litany of situations where I have managed this effortlessly.  Numerous times I haven't been a tactful communicator.  I tried to communicate the 'right thing' but unfortunately accomplished my goal in an insensitive manner and hurt/offended people.  Several times I've been onstage playing an instrument and either had to volume turned too high, the wrong sound patch configured, or played the wrong chord/notes and ended up creating an atmosphere of acute disharmony and cacophony.  Recently, I fell off my mountain bike while biking and braced my fall like I was landing on snow (as I skied for many years) instead of hard ground.  Oops.  The result?  A small pelvic fracture that makes it uncomfortable to sit weeks later.

I need to pause, reflect, and seek God's opinion before acting, speaking, and making weighty decisions.  

The Significance of the Ark

As I considered the significance of the Ark in this story, I was struck with the difference in what the Ark meant to David versus most other people at that time.  To David, the Ark signified the presence of God.  David wanted to build a physical temple to house the Ark.  He wanted it close to him, precious, protected. To the rest of the nation of Israel, it seemed to be more of a tool to be used to accomplish victory - the power of God.  It was a tool used in battle to try and assure victory.

Ark of the Covenant - God's presence or power?

Examining my own life, why do I seek and follow God?  Is it for His presence, or His power?  Definitely a sobering line of questioning.  I think the 'fruit' in my life - how do I react/respond to various circumstances - provides me with some answers.  When things go well, am I giving God the credit, thankfully rejoicing?  And when life is disappointing, am I blaming God, or happy that He's giving me an opportunity to become more patient and graceful (like Him)?  

David dances because his heart is in the right place.  He's thankfully rejoicing that the Ark is coming back to Jerusalem - home, close to him, and a place to rest.  It had lost its place as Israel's spiritual centre, but David, with God's help, was bringing it back.  Being a man after God's heart, he was ecstatic to see it coming back to its rightful place.  

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