2 Samuel 6:3-5
And they set the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio…
The enterprise was marked by -
I. A GREAT DISCOVERY. "We found it in the fields of the wood" (Psalm 132:6).
1. An invaluable treasure, long hidden, from view; like the "treasure hid in a field," and the "pearl of great price" (Matthew 13:44-46).
2. A significant memorial of God's mercies in times past. What manifold and mighty events would be brought to remembrance by the sight of the sacred, venerable, and mysterious coffer, when it came forth, as from its grave, into the light of day!
3. A sure pledge of the continued favour of God in time to come. "The ark was, as it were, the palladium of Israel, the moving sacrament of that rude people; not itself Divine any more than our sacramental bread is Christ's body, or our symbolic water God's grace, but the visible symbol of a presence supposed to be local, or of a power manifested in answer to prayer" (Rowland Williams). Yet it was "not a mere dead, idle shadow to look upon, but what certainly declared God's nearness to his Church" (Calvin).
II. A JOYFUL PROCESSION. "And they set [carried] the ark. of God upon a new cart [waggon]; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons [grandsons] of Abinadab, drave the cart; and Ahio went before [Uzzah going alongside.] the ark. And David and all Israel played [sported] before Jehovah with all their might, with songs, and with harps," etc. (1 Samuel 10:10; 1 Samuel 19:20). Already commenced the higher order of Divine service, to be afterwards more fully organized and established. For this occasion (as some have supposed) David wrote Psalm 68. 'The ark setting forward in victorious might.'
"Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered,
And let them that hate him flee before his face." Such language was historically appropriate (Numbers 10:35). The sacred procession served:
1. To express their gratitude, gladness, and triumph.
2. To deepen their devotion, union, and joy.
3. To produce a beneficial and lasting impression on the nation.
4. To exalt the Name of Jehovah among surrounding peoples. No less than eleven psalms, either in their traditional titles, or in the irresistible evidence of their contents, bear traces of this great festival. The twenty-ninth psalm (by its title in the LXX.), is said to be on the 'going forth of the tabernacle.' The thirtieth (by its title), the fifteenth, and the hundred and first (by their contents), express the feelings of David on his occupation of his new home. The sixty-eighth, at least in part, and the twenty-fourth, seem to have been actually composed for the entrance of the ark into the ancient gates of the heathen fortress (Psalm 96., 105., 106., 6., 46., 132.) (Smith's 'Dictionary'). "The hymns of David excel no less in sublimity and tenderness of expression than in loftiness and purity of religious sentiment. In comparison with them, the sacred poetry of all other nations sinks into mediocrity. They have embodied so exquisitely the universal language of religious emotion, that (a few fierce and vindictive passages excepted, natural in the warrior poet of a sterner age) they have entered, with unquestioned propriety, into the ritual of the holier and more perfect religion of Christ... How many human hearts have they softened, purified, and exalted! Of how many wretched beings have they been the secret of consolation! On how many communities have they drawn down the blessings of Divine providence, by bringing the affections into unison with their deep devotional fervour!" (Milman).
III. AN INEXCUSABLE TRANSGRESSION. "The act of David and of Israel was evidently intended as a return to the Lord and submission to his revealed ordinances; but, if so, obedience must be complete in every particular" (Edersheim). It was ordained that the ark should be borne with staves on the shoulders of men, the elect men of the nation (Numbers 7:9), and, in placing it on a new cart drawn by oxen, after the manner of the heathen (1 Samuel 6:10, 12), they acted contrary to the Divine ordinance, as David subsequently recognized (1 Chronicles 15:13). Were they fully aware of the nature and importance of that ordinance? Perhaps not; especially after it had been so long in abeyance. Were they altogether ignorant of its existence? This could hardly have been the case with the priests and Levites. Such ignorance, moreover, would have been highly culpable: They were doubtless acquainted with it; but they were forgetful, careless, negligent, and adopted the method which seemed most expedient and to have been previously sanctioned.
1. "All religious reformations which are wrought by men, are blemished by human infirmities" (Wordsworth).
2. Long neglect of Divine ordinances commonly renders, the renewed performance of them exceedingly defective.
3. Fresh and fervid zeal is often inconsiderate, self-confident, and rash.
4. Example is apt to mislead; and should be imitated only in so far as it accords with the Word of God.
5. The end sought may be in accordance with the Divine will, whilst the means employed for the attainment thereof are contrary to it.
6. Good intentions do not justify forbidden actions. "Two things make a good Christian - good actions and good aims. A good aim maketh not a bad action good, as here; and yet a bad aim maketh a good action bad, as we see in Jehu" (Trapp).
7. The conduct which is blameless in some may be sinful in others who have received higher privileges.
8. Although the transgression of God's Law may be borne with for a time, it is sure to be followed by deserved chastisement.
9. If negligence and disobedience in relation to the material symbol were displeasing to God, much more must they be so in relation to the spiritual truth of which it was a shadow (Hebrews 10:29).
10. The noblest agents should be chosen for the performance of the noblest services. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart.