2 Samuel 6:1-23
Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.…
I. DAVID'S GOOD WORK HINDERED BY WAR. Manifold are the evils of war. What an arrest on industry! What wrecked homes! What ruined harvests! What slaughtered lives! What a legacy of oppressive taxation, and the worse legacy of revengeful feeling! Manifold evils! This, too, among them: good works, national reformation, widened freedom,, education, religion arrested. Neglected is the tabernacle of God when the war-tents are pitched, and drowned in battle-cries are the songs of Zion. We know nothing of this; but it is well to think of it. The calm Sabbath air is unvexed by the war trumpet. The church doors are open to us, and the bells peal out their invitation to worship. Wars, rumours of wars, are not shocking the sweet, refreshing rest out of our Sabbath hours. Peace is ours. Not always so in this land. Churches were closed, or turned into barracks or military hospitals. And though this has been unknown in recent England, it has been known in recent days in other lands. Here — let us recognise it thankfully — God has blessed His people with peace. David's conflicts were triumphs; for he carefully "enquired of the Lord." He went not forth till bidden, and did as bidden. What battles had never been fought if men, statesmen, kings, had done as David did. Voice of seer, mystic oracle we need not. "We have the word of prophecy made more sure; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a lamp shining in a dark place." This will guide men-out of their self-seekings and ambitions and incipient quarrels into peace. Let us, each of us, be guided by it in our dealings one with another, and then, though un-influential seem our place in the great world's life, we shall yet be helping to make war one of the barbarisms of the past — one of the happily-unknown horrors of the golden year that appears so far away, but is to come.
II. DAVID'S GOOD WORK, WHEN BEGUN, ARRESTED BY IRREVERENCE. The glories of the ark had largely passed into history. Still, it was God's symbol; — still to be treated with reverence; still — the command not having been abrogated — to be untouched by human hand. Let all this day, then, beware. Amid this tumultuous gladness let there be reverence. The monitary instruction of that death is for us as well as for David and his people. It is for all, and especially for those who bear a prominent part in Divine work and worship. "We mock God when we do not fear." Irreverence! I speak not of the irreverence of the age; parents to children; subjects to governors; literature to religion; science to revelation. Think of irreverence in the Church! We need not go beyond ourselves. The preacher needs to watch. He may not "handle the Word of God deceitfully," but he may lightly; so familiar with it as to lose sight of Whose Word it is. In any department of Christian labour we must watch lest as preacher, teacher, visitor, we forget to whom we are speaking. Humble folk, it may be, poor children, dull, impatient patients. But who are these? For them, the most repellent of them, Christ died. Each dowered with the transcendent possession of a soul outvaluing the world though it were "one entire and perfect chrysolite." Each through all the obscurity, and toil, and weariness of the life here, a pilgrim to eternity. So in Divine worship. As we enter the sanctuary, let it be to us "none other but the house of God," not by our wandering, grasping thoughts degraded into tent of folly or den of thieves. As we open the Bible, familiar to us as was the ark to Uzzah, let us treat it with reverence, and "hear with meekness" the messages of this "Book of God, this God of Books." As we sing, let us "make melody in our hearts to the Lord," or the sweetest music will be sin. As we pray, let us only utter the heart — our words "the expiration of the thing inspired." Amid all the exercises of public worship and the worship of the home, "let more of reverence in us dwell." Uzzah "being dead yet speaketh."
III. DAVID'S GOOD WORK JOYFULLY ACCOMPLISHED. For three months the ark continued in the house of Obed-Edom bringing in unrecorded but manifest ways much blessing on the household of its careful and pious keeper. By this David was encouraged to prepare for its final removal to Jerusalem. He has learnt some lessons from Uzzah's death. Everything must be done with circumspection, "after the due order" (1 Chronicles 15:2-13), which had been strangely overlooked before. It was a transcendent hour. We can know little all it meant to David — how many hopes were being crowned: all it meant to Israel, with whom was opening a new epoch in their great history. They had been long falling from God — the very symbol of His presence neglected. But now had come times of peace; a God-chosen, God-approved man was their king. He would remind them that they were God's people, that ark the centre of their worship in the new capital would check that local idolatry to which they were so prone; would, gathering them together to one place for their holy feasts, bind them into a national and, infinitely more important, a religious unity. That ark, shrined in the sanctuary of their sanctuary, no idol in it, witnessed to the spirituality of God. We can rejoice in One whose Name is Immanuel, "God with us." Round Him Christian people gather for worship, and through Him have access with boldness to the Father. By Him God is declared to us, declared in a life of human suffering, yet Divine purity; in a life that "went about doing good," in a death that was died for the sins of the world. More than even ark with its shekinah glory could be to Israel, is Christ to us. A glory seen to-day not in material temple; not in any "house made with hands," but in the transformation, ennobling of human spirit and life. In every saved man behold the glory of God in Jesus Christ. We know that God is among us for such work is Divine.
(G. F. Coster.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.