The Return of the Ark
2 Samuel 6:1-23
Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.…

I. THE REMOVAL OF THE ARK FROM BAALE TO JERUSALEM. This period was the very prime of David's life, and power, and glory, and in it he undertakes the great business of confirming the worship of God. We can easily see that this forwardness to promote religion was his duty, as he was king of a religious state; yet it is in that very form and light that his conduct speaks to us with the highest authority. To rulers and magistrates, kings and ministers, what a lesson does it afford, what a salutary counsel! Men are religious beings, endowed with the faculty of religion, which other inferior animals possess not; their duty is, in every relation in life, religion. In authority, the main object should be to legislate for the true welfare of the subject, which is connected with religion alone. If rulers and legislators, on any pretext whatever, uphold and pension idolatry in a state, Or indulge the tendency of the multitude to idolatry, they decidedly labour the ruin of the subject, here and hereafter, as well as their own.

II. DAVID'S GRIEVOUS OFFENCES. The prescribed mode of transportation was wholly neglected. Men there are well disposed to serve God, and give Him the best of all their property, of life, and love, and reason, and substance, who hasten indiscreetly and illegitimately to the call of religion. Some will serve God, provided one article of the faith may be omitted. Others provided one favourite sin be allowed. Others, provided that their own fancy, their own wild conceptions of religion, their poetical deism, and poetical philanthropy, be taken for religion. And they fail! How could it be otherwise, when God did never call any man to a defective creed, or defective morality, or to despise His own rule of religion. And they are offended when some judgment has fallen in the very highway of their service, and declared it void and rejected! Such a judgment as distress, or death, or spiritual weakness, or ignominy, and the increase of folly rather than of religion. By these things God may declare our service dishonoured and unacceptable. The temporary sojourn of the ark brought numerous blessings on the house of Obed-edom. Religion — scriptural religion — is the means of solid prosperity. The time was short which was here allowed for the proof of a special providence in behalf of those who kept the ark of God within their walls, yet it was enough to confer blessings of health, and wealth, and honour. And if our time be limited but to one hour from this moment forth, and if we can carry with us, not the ark of the law, but the ark of mercy — the covenant salvation of Jesus Christ, by faith, who can set a limit to the blessings which shall accrue to us? Loved of Christ, what can harm us? cherished of God, what can hurt our peace, or damage our fortunes? We are all candidates for earthly welfare; believe it, then, the only and true secret of success, is in the sincere worship of the Saviour, as God of Gods. and Lord of all Lords.

III. During the progress of the successful attempt to set up the ark of the Lord at Jerusalem, DAVID TOOK A PROMINENT PART, as on the former occasion, in the whole proceeding. To all men this public homage speaks alike: it calls on us to do personal service. We may not transfer to any fellow-creature the performance of religious duties. As ordinary men, we do too little, when we transfer to others the conveyance of our patronage or bounty. We should with our own hands, when possible, feed the hungry, and refresh the weary, and clothe the naked; we should with our own voices, and present souls, and present sympathy, soothe the afflicted.

IV. THE KING'S RETURN TO BLESS HIS HOUSEHOLD. The king of Israel, it is true, forsakes the public scene, but it is only "to return and bless his household," to rehearse the ceremony of the day, explain its importance, impress the value of religion on all his dependants, and seal the blessings of public worship upon his family, by domestic piety. In this act we recognise these three particulars —

1. The personal maintenance of God's honour before His family.

2. His anxiety to communicate the blessings of religion to all the souls within His influence.

3. The solemn dedication of those souls to the honour and worship of the Supreme Being.

V. THE BOLDNESS, THE NOBLENESS AND DIGNITY OF DAVID'S CONDUCT throughout the events of that great day, when the ark rested within the walls of the holy city. A man shall find his foe ever in his own household; or if not, his religion will be arraigned, and his conduct reprehended with the keenest censures, by his associates, and his very piety denounced as mean and grovelling, dishonourable and injurious.

(C. M. Fleury, A. M.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.

WEB: David again gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.

The Ark the Centre of Service and Worship
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