The story of the ark being brought to Jerusalem is told here, and the first attempt does not go well. The ark was one of the “holy things,” with which they communed with the Lord – but though the Levite priests. The detail given by the Lord for its construction was exquisite (Exodus 25:10-22, and Exodus 37:1-9). The Koathites were to carry it – by poles through the rings. Even they could not touch it, or they would die (Numbers 4:4-15). None but the priests themselves could touch the holy things, as God had set the Levites apart (consecrated) for himself.
But they set out to bring it to Jerusalem on a cart, much as the manner in which the Philistines returned it in 1 Samuel 6:7. The oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out to take hold of it (the right thing to do, one might think). But as we have learned, when God says He will do something, He always does it. God keeps ALL of His promises! David and those transporting the Ark showed no respect for the Lord, and Uzzah was now dead because of his sin.
Three months pass after this incident (verse 11) before David again transports it. This second attempt is mentioned briefly here, but in more detail in 1 Chronicles 15, as this story is told there again. As our reading has shown before, when God says something more than once, we should pay attention! This time, the Levites carry it to Jerusalem properly.
Michal’s disdain and David’s rejection of her afterward is important to us because she will not bear him a child – Saul’s line will not be extended through the house of David. Contrary to the picture some have painted, David was not dancing naked, but wearing a linen ephod – a simple garment as the priests wore (verse 14, and 1 Chronicles 15:27). He had taken off his kingly robes to honor the Lord (verse 21).
When Jesus laid down His life for us and the temple curtain was torn (Matthew 27:51), Jesus became like our “ark”, just as He is our Priest, through which we can approach the Father (Hebrews 5:1-10). Do we honor and respect this most holy and precious son of our Lord, whose very name is even used today by many to casually swear?
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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