Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
To love God with our entire being means to worship Him, the word love here, aheb אָהַב means to demonstrate love, to dearly love, and be a friend and lover. Loving God like that is a description of true worship.
The ark had been out of its rightful place for some time. 1 Samuel 7:1-4 reads,
And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord and brought it to the house of Abinadab on the hill. And they consecrated his son Eleazar to have charge of the ark of the Lord. 2 From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.
3 And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lordwith all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only.
David knew God wanted the Ark of the Covenant returned to a place where people could worship in God’s presence. He had a heart of worship. The Ark had been largely ignored during Saul’s reign and David brought it and the remembrance of The LORD back to Israel. The Ark represented God’s presence. Today, we have the Holy Spirit, but then to worship as God commanded required the Tabernacle be just as God had prescribed. Bringing the Ark home was God’s will and this is what David did. We continue our reading today in 2 Samuel 6. Verses 1-5 read,
David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. 2 And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale-judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim. 3 And they carried the ark of God on a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. And Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart, 4 with the ark of God, and Ahio went before the ark. 5 And David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals
David had a heart of worship and he wrote Psalm 68 as a song of worship. It may have been the Psalm he wrote to sing as they carried the Ark to the Tabernacle. Psalm 68:24-27 reads,
Your procession is seen, O God,
the procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary--
25 the singers in front, the musicians last,
between them virgins playing tambourines:
26 “Bless God in the great congregation,
the Lord, O you who are of Israel's fountain!”
27 There is Benjamin, the least of them, in the lead,
the princes of Judah in their throng,
the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali.
Can you just picture the dancing and singing and worship of the people as the Ark of the LORD was brought back to them? But not everyone had their mind staid on the Lord, some had their minds on protecting an object. Some did not trust the Lord to be God and keep His Ark safe. Some were worried that the procession looked upright. Verses 6-7 read,
And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled.7 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God.
Had Uzzah been worshipping with the rest of Israel, he would not have been worried about oxen stumbling or the Ark falling. He would have been trusting God and remembering His statues. No one was allowed to touch the Ark and only Levites could carry it with poles on their shoulders (Exodus 25:14). When David saw what had happened, his humanity overtook him for a time and he became terrified and angry. He decided the Ark might be too dangerous to continue the journey to the Tabneracle. Verses 8-11 read,
And David was angry because the Lord had broken out against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzzah to this day. 9 And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?”10 So David was not willing to take the ark of the Lord into the city of David. But David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. 11 And the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household.
The Lord was gentle and patient with David. Rather than pour His wrath out on David for his fear, He blessed Obed-edom’s entire household. David came to his senses when he saw how good and loving God is and he got back on the ball. Verses 12-15 record it.
And it was told King David, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing. 13 And when those who bore the ark of theLord had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal. 14 And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn.
David’s ability to freely worship God, his heart of worship is something I long for, for myself. I want to be able to dance and sing before God that way. I pray for that. I am too aware of the people watching and judging me, even if they are not. Michal was watching David and she judged David as foolish and egotistical. She felt he was trying to look good before the people by faking his fervor. Maybe that is because she did not have that passion for God. She didn’t have a heart of worship. Verses 16-23 read,
As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart. 17 And they brought in the ark of the Lord and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it. And David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. 18 And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts19 and distributed among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins to each one. Then all the people departed, each to his house.
20 And David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants' female servants, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” 21 And David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord—and I will celebrate before the Lord.22 I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes. But by the female servants of whom you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor.” 23 And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.
David did not let Michal’s judgement deter his worship. He said, “If you didn’t like this, you won’t like it when I get even more ardent in worship. I’m doing this because I love the Lord, not because I want to look good.” He obviously didn’t look good while he worshipped; he apparently looked a bit nuts. He left it to God to deal with Michal and He did.
I have already confessed that I do not worship as freely as I would like. I love to worship my Lord, but I would love, like David to just dance and sing and unreservedly give myself over to Him. How about you, where is your heart when you are worshiping? Is it on how you look, is it on the order of service, is it on the rules and rituals, is it on how you feel, or is it on the LORD? He wants your mind on Him, your heart on Him, your soul with Him, and your strength for Him.