Reading: 1 Chronicles 13, 15 – 16
“What's the big deal, all we wanted to do is pray?” I can imagine what David may have thought when he was angry with the Lord after the Lord's wrath had broken out against Uzzah and struck him down. Uzzah was doing God a service, it would seem, when he reached out to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled (1 Chronicles 13:9-11). The whole reason they were even carrying the ark to Jerusalem was because they wanted to pray and seek God's will rather than do things in their own wisdom (1 Chronicles 13:3).
David was afraid of God that day. First he couldn't wait to get the ark to Jerusalem; now he isn't sure if he wants anything to do with the ark. So David leaves it at the house of Obed-Edom. And the Lord blesses the house of Obed-Edom and everything he had (1 Chronicles 13:12-14). That beats all! David wanted that blessing; David called together the people of Israel in order to go bring the ark to Jerusalem so they might have that blessing; David wanted to do things differently than Saul had done; but instead of blessing one of their good men dropped dead. So he leaves this dangerous thing with Obed-Edom, and, lo and behold, blessing falls on his house.
It seems however, that over the next few months, David really did inquire of the Lord (absence of the ark, notwithstanding), for now he recognizes where they blew it (1 Chronicles 15:2). David isn't going to bring the ark in on a cart, following the ways of the culture; he was going to do it the way the Lord prescribed. David wants God's blessing, but he now realizes that he can't treat God like some sort of good luck charm. Blessing doesn't come from things that channel some sort of power from God; blessing doesn't come when we say just the right things; blessing comes when we listen to God and believe the truth that He tells us, and live in accordance with that truth. David's fear of God leads him to experience the blessing of God's presence.
I love how Obed-Edom's name keeps popping up in the 15th and 16th chapter (1 Chronicles 15:18, 21, 24, 25; 16:5, 38). He was the man who experienced the blessing of God's presence when the ark was left at his place. It keeps reminding us that God's blessing never stopped even if David wasn't experiencing it. David had to decide if he was going to have God's blessing on God's terms. He wasn't going to have it on his own terms. So after 3 months David is seeking the Lord again!
David is no longer mad; now we find that he is dancing and celebrating before the Lord with all his heart. He had an unrestrained passion for the Lord's presence. His wife, Saul's daughter, despised him. Many in our own day despise this kind of passion. They call it emotionalism, they call it disorderly, they call it excessive. David found it humbling (2 Samuel 6:21-22). While it may not always be appropriate to make this display, it certainly better be appropriate at some point or we are despising humble worship and love for God. And that day, David composes a song of worship.
This song instructs us in the attitude we should have toward the Lord and our need of His presence. This really stood out to me as I read it from the New English Translation (NET) this morning. Here is how that reads:
Give thanks to the Lord! Call on his name! Make known his accomplishments among the nations! Sing to him! Make music to him! Tell about all his miraculous deeds! Boast about his holy name! Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! Seek the Lord and the strength he gives! Seek his presence continually! ((1 Chronicles 16:8-11)
What is the take-away for us from this text? How are we to respond? If you are one who seeks the Lord, rejoice! Be a glad seeker! Seek the strength He gives, as one who needs it. And, get this: seek His presence continually! Not occasionally; continually! Christ died to make it possible for us to enter God's presence (Hebrews 10:19-23); He paid the ultimate price. David wanted God's blessing enough to pay the cost... to obey and seek on God's terms. Christ has paid our cost; now the only cost left for us is to want it enough to pay the price in time to seek Him. O the blessing that would come to the church if we did.
Love the Gospel, Live the Gospel, Advance the Gospel,