2 Samuel 6:1-23
Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.…
For sixty-five or seventy years this ark of the covenant had been permitted to remain in almost total neglect and forgetfulness. At length the time had come for David to interpose and, in the exercise of his royal authority, bring it back into prominence and reverence in the worship of the people.
I. QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE ARK ITSELF.
1. What was the so-called "Ark of the Covenant?"
2. Of what was it the symbol? Of the presence of Jehovah as the "covenant-keeping God" of His people Israel.
3. Of what is the Ark a sign now?
(1) An institution set apart for the Lord.
(2) An organization like the church.
(3) An ordinance, like the Lord's Supper.
(4) A duty: The family altar.
(5) A doctrine.
4. What does the absence of the Ark involve? The lonely heaviness of work done without a helper or a promise of success. That ancient Ark was only a symbol; Christ's presence is to us a wonderful fact. That was but a sign that Divine companionship was near; now we may be sure that Jesus, the Master, is really under our roofs and in our hearts.
II. SOME SUGGESTIONS CONCERNING DIFFERENT METHODS OF TREATING THE PRESENCE OF GOD.
1. The ark of God must be treated with a becoming honour. True humility can be shown in forwardness; for there are occasions in which it costs more to go forth into necessary conspicuousness, and brave the criticisms of public opinion, than it would to remain in concealment, withdrawn into a quiet of deepest reserve.
2. The Ark of God can be treated with a culpable carelessness. It had been decreed in the beginning of its history that this singular chest should be carried on men's shoulders; for this purpose of handling it had been constructed with rings through which poles might be passed so that it could be borne by the priests. Here we observe that Abinadab mounted it in a cart; and in this he patterned not after Moses, but after the Philistines, who once did the same disrespectful thing. It is of no use to say this was of no consequence. It is always of much consequence that one obeys God, and pays respect to every one of His commandments exactly as lie gives them.
3. The Ark of God can he treated with the highest exuberance of joy. The account in the chapter from which the text is taken must be supplemented by that which is added in the book of Chronicles: there we learn that a great school of training in music was set up at Jerusalem in patient preparation for this ceremony. There is nothing too good in poetry, in instruments, in singing, for God who is over all.
4. The Ark of God can be treated with a fatal presumption: "And when they came to Nachon's threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it."
5. The Ark of God might be treated with a half-hearted timidity. "And David was displeased," &c.
(1) He was "displeased:" the word means vexation akin to petulance; he was disappointed in all his plans.
(2) He was "afraid." There was likewise a sense of penitence under the revelation of infinite holiness.
(3) He was inconsiderate: "So David would not remove the Ark of the Lord unto him into the city of David: but David carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite." He dared not take the Ark any further, but deposited it beside the way as quickly as his alarmed attendants could remove it from the wheels.
6. The Ark of God may be treated with an appropriate and affectionate devotion: "And the Ark of the Lord continued in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months: and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household." Of course he received his reward; for God is good to the men whom he finds to be faithful to any trust. Josephus is quoted as saying that, whereas before Obed-edom was poor, on a sudden, in these three months, his estate increased, even to the envy of his neighbours. Matthew Henry says, with his usual brightness, that the Ark "paid well for its entertainment; it is good living in a family that entertains the Ark, for all about it will fare the better for it." Household piety is always profitable. We can have God's actual presence with ourselves and our children, if we accept His Word for our guide and His love for our shelter evermore.
(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.