Friday, January 18, 2013

CVII - The Ark of the Covenant Returns

It is important to mention at this time that II Samuel parrallels I Chronicles.  Therefore, there will be some repetition in the near future.  I choose not to expound on them simultaneously because I find it extremely difficult to do that without it being confusing.  I choose rather to maintain the order of the Bible as it is written.

Having established Jerusalem as the political capital of the new nation, David now sought to make it the religious capital and worship center as well.  To accomplish this, his first order of business was to bring the Ark of the Convenant to Jerusalem and place it in the Tabernacle where it belonged. 

To review briefly:  The Ark of the the Covenant was the holiest, most sacred object in the life of the Hebrew people.  It was made for the express purpose of containing the two tablets of stone on which were engraved God's moral Law for the children of Israel:  The Ten Commandments.  Additionally it contained the Mercy Seat, which was the place God resided when dealing directly with His people throught he High Priest.  As a symbol of God's presence among His people, the Ark was kept in the Holy of Holies, the most sacred spot in the movable tabernacle which the Israelites made and took with them on their forty-year journey from Sinai to the Promised Land.  It was carried in front of the whole nation as they moved from place to place.  This Ark was design by God Himself.  In Exodus 25, God gave specific instructions as to how this Ark was to be made.  {It would be a good idea to review Ex 25.}  The last time we studied the Scripture concerning the Ark was when it was captured by the Philistines.  It caused the Philistines so much trouble that they sent it back to the Israelites.  It ended up at Kirjath-Jearim, where it had remained all this time.  {It should have been Saul's first order of business to reposition the Ark in its proper place and status.  Ex 25 states in no uncertain terms as to how special God considers this Ark and the way it is to be dealt with.  I'm not picking on Saul for this.  The Philistines demanded so much attention from both Saul and David.  But David's eyes were much more centered on God.  The Bible speaks of noone having more love for God than David.}

{You've heard the term "In search of The Holy Grail".  The "Holy Grail" refers to an elusive piece of religious artifact, so valuable and holy that throughout the centuries, men have searched desparately for it.  It would be the "find" of all ages.  An archeologist that would uncover such an item would have his/her name go down in History.  On the secular side, if a man would find it, he would become instantly famous and rich.  Many consider the cup Jesus used in the Last Supper to be "The
Holy Grail", but just as many consider the Ark of the Convenant to be the Holy Grail.  I believe the Ark will be found some day.  Perhaps when Jesus returns, He will point out Its location.}

In the first verse of chapter 6, it tells how David amassed an army of thirty thousand men to get the Ark and bring it to Jerusalem.  David's heart was right in the sight of God for making this a priority.  However, his first attempt failed.  Vss 3--> They set the Ark on a new cart.  {The idea of a NEW cart was a good one, but they didn't do their homework on the specifics of moving the Ark from one place to the next.}  Abinadab, a Levite priest, had two sons, Uzzah and Ahio.  They would walk with the cart (pulled by oxen) to guide it.  David and his entire army plus many Israelites followed the Ark, singing songs and playing musical instruments.  The scene was one of a parade with music and crowds celebrating.  {A bit more specifics concerning the Ark:  The Ark was to be carried by four Levites.  Poles made of acacia wood with gold inlay were to be placed through four gold rings attached to the Ark.  The four Levites were to touch only the poles.  God was very specific about this and Moses wrote it down in the Law.  There was nothing in the procedure about a cart being pulled by oxen.}  Roads back then were not paved.  At best they had stone on them, which made them bumpy for a wheeled cart.  Consequently, the cart started to tip over.  Uzzah instinctively held his hand up to steady the Ark.  Verse 7 - God was angered by this disregard for His instructions concerning the movement of His Ark.  Uzzah touching it was the last straw.  God displayed
His anger by striking down Uzzah.  Uzzah died right there beside the Ark.

Verse 8 - David was distraught.  This celebratory occassion had suddenly turned disastrous.  David felt responsible.  David was not only frustrated, but he felt a renewed fear of the power of God.  So fearful did David become that he abandoned his plan to take the Ark to Jerusalem.  Instead, he took the Ark and left it at the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite.  The Ark was there for three months, during which time the house of Obed-Edom had prospered and was blessed beyond measure or description.  David, keeping watch over the status of the Ark, was aware of what the Ark had done for the house of Obed-Edom.  {I think that during this 3-month period, David had researched why his attempt to bring trhe Ark to Jerusalem turned out so badly.  In his research into theLaw he discoverd what the problem had been.}

Vss 12-->  So David went after the Ark to once again try to bring it to Jerusalem.  But this time he did it properly, in accordance to the Law.  {Again, convyence of the Ark was to be carried by four Levites, using the two gold-covered poles wood poles placed through the gold rings attached to the Ark.  The Ark itself was not to be touched by human hands.}  This time the celebration was even greater.  As the Ark was carried into Jerusalem, David, being so happy and in the spirit of
celebration, that he wore a linen ephod and danced all the way into Jersusalem.  {An ephod is actually an outer garment, somewhat like a loose-fitting robe or apron.  Never would an ephod be worn by itself in public.}

Vss 16-->  {Remember Mical?  Saul's daughter and David's first wife.  Quite a History with her.}  Mical saw David dancing, scantly attired, and in her mind, looking nothing like the powerful king he was.  She was embarassed.  The celebration continued with sacrifices to God and placing the Ark in a tabernacle prepared to house it temporarily.  Verse 19 tells us that David gave food to every  household present.  (David was an excellent leader)  He wanted everyone to be as happy about
this event as he was.

In the remaining verses of chapter 6, Mical scolded David for "making a fool of himself in public".  Allow me to paraphrase David's response to Mical:  "This occassion was to glorify God and your thoughts are not worthy of my attention.  If this conduct embarrassed you, you will be even more humiliated the next time."  David let Mical know in no uncertain terms that her wishes meant nothing compared to those of God.  The last verse states that Mical had no children to the day of her death.  {This was considered to be the most severe punishment that God could place on a Hebrew woman.}

Next post:  Chapter 7 - David's desire to build a temple

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