Sermon 2855. The Lesson of Uzza
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29, 1903.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, NOVEMBER 4, 1888.
"And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing and with harps and with psalteries, andwith timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets." 1 Chronicles 13:8.
"AndDavid was afraid ofGod that day, saying, How shall I bring the Ark of God home to me?"
1 Chronicles 13:12.
"So David, and the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the Ark of the Covenant of the Lordout of the house of Obed-Edom with joy."
1 Chronicles 15:25.
DAVID had, in his heart, an intense love to God. During Saul's reign, God had been well-nigh forgotten in the land. The ordinancesof His house had been almost, if not entirely, neglected, and when David found himself firmly seated upon his throne, oneof his first thoughts was concerning the revival of religion, the reestablishment of that form of worship which God had ordainedin the wilderness by the mouth of His servant Moses. So he looked about him to see where the Ark of the Covenant, that mostsacred of all the ancient symbols, was, and he wrote, "We heard of it at Ephra-tah: we found it in the fields of the wood."Out of pure love and reverence to God, he called the people together, consulting with them so that the thing might not bedone by himself, but by the nation. It was agreed that the Ark should be brought up and placed upon Mount Zion, near the palaceof the king, in a conspicuous position where it should be the center of religious worship for the entire nation. It was tobe placed near that sacred spot where Abraham had, of old, offered up his son, Isaac, that, in the great days of assembly,the Israelites might wend their way there and worship God as He had commanded them.
David's intention was right enough, no fault can be found with that. But right things must be done in a right way. We servea jealous God, who, though He overlooks many faults in His people, yet, nevertheless, will have His Word reverenced and Hiscommands obeyed. "Be you clean," He says, "that bear the vessels of the Lord." He will be honored by those that attempt todraw near to Him. So it came to pass that, though David had a good intention and was about to do a right thing, yet, at thefirst, he had a great failure. When we have considered the cause of that failure, we shall note that this failure worked inDavid a great fear. And when we have meditated for a while upon that fear, we shall see that when David set to work to honorhis God after the due order, he did it with such a great joy that, perhaps, we have scarcely another instance of such exuberanceof spirit in the worship of God as we have in the case of David who leaped and danced before the Ark of the Lord with allhis might!
I. First, then, we are to consider DAVID'S GREAT FAILURE. It followed almost immediately after "David and all Israel playedbefore God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals,and with trumpets." This was David's first attempt to bring up the Ark of the Covenant into the place appointed for it.
Observe, dear Friends, that there was no failure through lack of multitudes. It is, to my mind very delightful to worshipGod with the multitude that keep holy day. I know some people who think themselves the only saints in the whole
world. They do not imagine that any can be the elect of God if there are more than seven or eight, "because," they say, "straitis the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there are that find it." And, therefore, simply becausethey are few in number, they straightway conclude that they have passed through the strait gate into the narrow way. It needsfar better evidence than that to prove that they are on the right road and, for my part, I love, as David did, to go withthe multitude to the House of God-to keep time and tune with many hearts and many voices all on fire with holy devotion asthey lift up the sacred song in a great chorus of praise unto the Most High! There was no failure, in that respect, on thisoccasion, for, "David gathered all Israel together, from Shihor of Egypt even unto the entering of He-math, to bring the Arkof God from Kirjath-Jearim." Thus they came, from all parts of the land, in their hundreds and their thousands-an exceedinglygreat multitude-yet their attempt to bring up the Ark proved a sad failure. So, you see that it is of little value merelyto gather crowds of people together! However great the multitude of nominal worshippers may be, it is quite possible thatthey may offer no worship that is acceptable to God. We, ourselves may come and go in our thousands, yet that alone will notguarantee that the Presence of God is among us. It would be far better to be with a few, if God were in the midst of them,than to be with the multitude and yet to miss the Divine blessing.
Neither was there any failure so far as pomp and show were concerned. It seems that these people paid very great honor, intheir own way, to this Ark-putting it on a new carriage and surrounding it with the princes, the captains and the mighty menof the Kingdom, together with the multitudes of the common people of the land. I doubt not that it was a very imposing arraythat day and, truly, the solemn worship of God should be attended to with due decency and order-yet it may be a failure forall that. Sweet may be the strain of the sacred song, yet God may not accept it because it is sound and nothing more. Theprayer may be most appropriate so far as the language of it is concerned, yet it may fail to reach the ear of the Lord Godof Sabaoth. Something more is needed beside mere outward show. Something beyond even the decent simplicities of worship inwhich we delight.
Neither was there any failure, apparently, so far as the musical accompaniment was concerned. We are told in our text that,"David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and withtimbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets." I like that expression, "with all their might." I cannot bear to hear God'spraises uttered by those who simply whisper, as though they were afraid of making too much noise. No, but-
"Loud as His thunder, sound His praise! And speak it lofty as His Throne,"
for He well deserves it. Let the sea roar and the fullness thereof in praise of its great Creator! Let all the winds and thewaves join in the concert! There cannot be any sound too jubilant for Him who is worthy of the highest praise of Heaven andearth! It is right to sing unto the Lord with all your might, yet there may be a certain kind of heartiness which is not acceptableto God because it is natural, not spiritual. There may be a great deal of outward expression, yet no inward life. It may beonly dead worship, after all, despite the noise that may be made. I do not say that it was altogether so in David's case,but, certainly, all the multitude, all the pomp and all the sound did not prevent its becoming an entire failure! What wasthe reason for that failure?
If I read the story aright, it seems to me, first, that there was too little thought as to God's mind upon the matter. Davidconsulted the people, but he would have done better if he had consulted God. The co-operation of the people was desirable,but much more the benediction of the Most High! There ought to have been much prayer preceding this great undertaking of bringingup the Ark of the Lord, but it seems to have been entered upon with very much heartiness and enthusiasm, but not with anypreparatory supplication or spiritual consideration. If you read the story through, you will see that it appears to be anaffair of singing, harps, psalteries, timbrels, cymbals, trumpets and of a new cart and cattle- that is about all there isin it. There is not even a mention of humiliation of heart, or of solemn awe in the Presence of that God of whom the Ark wasbut the outward symbol. I am afraid that this first attempt was too much after the will of the flesh and the energy of nature-andtoo little according to that rule of which Christ said to the woman at Sychar, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship Himmust worship Him in spirit and in truth."
Yes, Beloved, all worship fails if that is not the first consideration in it. Let the singing be hearty and melodious, leteverything in our services be in proper order, but, as the first and most important thing, let the Holy Spirit be there, sothat we may draw near to God in our heart and have real spiritual communion with Him! The outward form of worship
is a very secondary matter-the inward spirit of it is the all-important thing. There appears, to me, to have been too littleattention paid to that in the first attempt that David made to bring up the Ark and, therefore, it was a failure.
One very important omission was that the priests were not in their proper places. They appear to have been there, but theywere, evidently, not treated as their position entitled them to be. The men of war were brought to the front and the men ofworship were pushed aside. Now, in all true worship, the priest is of the first importance. "What," you ask, "do you believein a priest?" Yes, in the Great High Priest of whom the Aaronic priesthood was the type-all my hopes for time and eternityare centered in Him who is "a Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec." If you do not put Him into the first place,I care little what sort of worship you render-you may be very intense and very devout, after your own fashion-but it is allin vain. There is no way of coming unto God except through the "one Mediator between God and men, the Man, Christ Jesus."There is no way of approaching God except through the one Great High Priest, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! You may cryunto God, but your prayers cannot reach His ears until Christ presents them to His Father. You may bring your sweet spices,but they will never have any fragrance before the Lord until the Great High Priest puts them into the golden censer and mingleswith them the precious incense of His own merits and so makes them acceptable before the Lord. A prayer without Christ init will never reach Heaven! Praise which is not presented through the merits of Christ, is but a meaningless noise which cannever be well-pleasing unto God.
These people not only had not the priests in their proper places, but they also had a cart, instead of Levites, to carry thesacred Ark The laboring oxen took the place of the willing men who were appointed by God for this service. David and all thepeople appear to have forgotten the appointments which God made concerning the Ark, so they fell into trouble-and all theirefforts proved to be a failure.
Next, I notice that, the first time, there were no sacrifices. They put the Ark upon the cart and went before it, and behindit, and around it with their instruments of music, but there was no sacrificial bloodshed. They had been so long out of thehabit of worshipping God in His appointed way that they had forgotten very much. I wonder that David did not notice this fatalomission and I am not surprised that Uzza died as there is no mention of the sprinkling of blood upon the Mercy Seat thatday. And, Beloved, if we leave the blood of Atonement out of our worship, we leave out that which is the very life of it,for the blood is the life thereof! If you have no respect unto the atoning Sacrifice of Christ, God will have no respect untoyou. If you have no regard for the great Propitiation which Christ has made for sin, the Lord will not accept either prayersor praises at your hands. Without the shedding of Christ's blood, there is no remission of sin!
All through this incident we see that there was no taking heed to the commands of God and to the rules which He had laid down.The people brought will-worship to Godinstead of that which He had ordained! What do I mean by will-worship? I mean any kindof worship which is not prescribed in God's own Word. It has sometimes been pleaded, as an excuse for the observance of somerite or ceremony which is not commanded in the Scriptures, that it is very instructive, or very impressive. That is no excuseor justification for disobedience! The First Commandment may be broken, not only by worshipping a false god, but by worshippingthe true God in another way than that which He has ordained. If you set up a mode of worship not warranted by His Word, whateveryou may plead for it, it is idolatrous and the Lord may well say to you, "Who has required this at your hands?" Mark this,if it is not of His appointment, neither will it meet with His acceptance. Inasmuch, therefore, as these people did not showany reverence for God by consulting His record of the rules which He had laid down for their guidance-seeming to think thatwhatever pleased them must please Him, whatever kind of worship they chose to make up would be quite sufficient for the LordGod of Israel-it therefore ended in failure.
Beloved, take care how you worship God! If you are to take heed how you hear, you are also to take heed how you pray, andto take heed how you praise, and to take heed how you come to the Communion Table. Take heed how, in any way you seek to drawnear unto the living God, for He is not to be approached in any slipshod fashion that you may choose to invent! He has Hisown way by which alone He can be approached. His august court has rules, even as the courts of earthly kings have their regulationsand laws-and if you transgress the King's command, it may be that He will smite you as He slew Uzza, or, at the least, yourworship will be unacceptable to Him.
II. Now we turn to our second text, to the second head of our discourse, namely, DAVID'S GREAT FEAR. "And David was afraidof God that day, saying, How shall I bring the Ark of God home to me?"
What changeable creatures we are! From a careless, and almost criminal lack of thought, David's mind speedily travels to greatseriousness of thought, attended with a very terrible dread. Do you wonder that the death of Uzza caused David to fear greatly?Theprocession is going along and the harps, psalteries, timbrels, cymbals and trumpets are sounding the high praises of God when,on a sudden, the oxen come to the threshing floor of Chidon and, perhaps, tempted by the sight of the grain, they turn aside,or, at least, they stumble and the Ark is likely to be upset. One mistake usually leads to another. If they had not put theArk on that cart, this trouble would not have happened. And now young Uzza, who had been living in the house where the Arkhad been kept so long, perhaps not thinking he is doing wrong, puts out his hand to steady the Ark and instantly falls dead!A thrill of horror goes through the crowd. The music stops and David stands aghast. At first sight, it does appear to be avery severe punishment, yet we must remember that this is not the only time that God acted thus toward those who profanedthe service in which they were engaged. Nadab and Abihu, instead of taking the proper fire to light their censers, took strangefire. There did not seem much difference-is not one kind of fire very much like another? Those two young men went in beforethe Lord with their censers kindled by strange fire and they fell dead in a moment before God! They had only broken the lawin a small matter, as it seemed, but God has His ways of measuring things and His method is very different from ours.
David ought also to have remembered how more than fifty thousandof the men of Beth-Shemesh were slain when the Philistinesbrought back the Ark and the men of Beth-Shemesh looked into it. Truly "our God is a consuming fire." He will not be trifledwith! This was His Ark and He would make them know that it was His! And albeit that with good intentions they had surroundedit, yet since they had not reverently obeyed His commands, He would let them see that He was not to be trifled with, nor thatHis Ark could be touched with impunity! Do you wonder that, in the presence of that corpse, David was afraid of God that day?
He was also afraid of God for another reason, namely, that he himself had been in a wrong frame of mind, for we read in the11th verse, that "David was displeased because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzza." He does not seem to have been displeasedwith Uzza, but he was displeased with God. It seemed to him a hard thing that he had gathered all that crowd of people togetherand that they had been doing their best as he thought, for the honor of God, and now the whole proceedings were spoilt bythe outstretched hand of an angry God in their midst! So David was angry. And when he remembered that such wicked thoughtshad crossed his mind, he began to feel afraid of God for his own sake.
Then, I daresay, his own sense of worthlessness for such a holy work made him cry, "How shall I bring the Ark of God hometo me?" He feared lest, in some unguarded moment, he might be guilty of irreverence and so perish as Uzza had done. I haveoften had, in a measure, that kind of fear upon me which came over David that day. To be a child of God is the most blessedexperience in the world, but it also involves stern discipline. When God makes you His child, you are sure to feel His rod.Others may escape it, but you will not, "for whom the Lord loves, He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives." Ifyou live very near to God and you get many tokens of His favor, you will find that you must watch every step you take andevery thought you think, for the Lord is a jealous God-and where He gives the most love, there will be the most jealousy.
He may leave a sinner to go to great lengths in sin, but not His saints. He may let ordinary Christians do a great deal withoutchastening them, but if you are privileged to lie in His bosom, if you have high fellowship with Him, you will soon know howjealous He is. I have often heard men, while praying, quote as if it were a text of Scripture, "God, out of Christ, is a consumingfire." The Bible does not say anything of the kind-it says, "Our God is a consuming fire." So, the Prophet Isaiah asks, "Whoamong us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" And what is his answer?"He that walks righteously, and speaks uprightly." He is the only man who can live amid such burnings-the sacred salamanderfrom whom the fire only burns out any remaining sin. When you ask to live near to God, see in what a terrible place and inwhat a supremely blessed place, you ask to live! You want to live in the fire of His Presence, even though you know that itwill consume your sin and that you will often have to suffer much while that sin is being consumed! I have said, again andagain, "My Lord, burn as fiercely as it may, I do aspire to dwell in this sacred spot. Let the fire go through me till ithas burned up all my dross, but, oh, do let me dwell with You!"
Yet I am not surprised if someone starts back and says, "I can hardly ask for such a trial as that." Like James and John wewant to sit on the right and left hand of our Master in His Glory, but when He asks, "Can you drink of the cup that I drinkof? And be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" It will need much more Grace than they had
if we are able to say, from our hearts, "'We can.' By Your Grace, we shall be able and willing to endure anything if we maybut dwell with You." For, Beloved, if you have ever had even a glimpse of God in His innermost tabernacle, if He has madeHis Glory to shine upon you, you have felt willing to die-have been almost eagerto die-that you might have yet more of thatbeatific vision and never have it clouded again! One of the good old saints said, when he had very much of the love of Christpoured into his soul, "Hold, Lord, hold! It is enough! Remember that I am but an earthen vessel. If I have more, I shall die."If I had been in such a case, I think I would have said, "Do not hold, Lord! I am but an earthen vessel, so I shall die inthe process and glad enough shall I be to die if I may but see Your face, and never, never, lose the vision anymore."
We need not wonder that David was afraid after such a manifestation of the Divine displeasure. He did the best thing he coulddo under the circumstances, He left the Ark with Obed-Edom for a while, determined to set about its removal in a differentfashion another time.
III. Now we come to our third subject, that is, DAVID'S SACRED JOY. "So David, and the elders of Israel, and the captainsover thousands, went to bring up the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord out of the house of Obed-Edom with joy." Obed-Edom tookthe Ark into his house and God blessed him. Then it occurred to David that there was not much, after all, to be afraid ofin the Ark. That awful thing that had smitten Uzza had been in this other man's house and been a blessing to him. That facthas often made my heart rejoice. I have said, "Well, I know that it is a solemn thing to live near to God, but I have seena poor, bed-ridden woman live in the Light of God's Countenance, year after year, as happy as all the birds of the air-thenwhy should not I do the same? I have seen a plain, humble, Christian man walking with God, as Enoch did, and happy from thefirst day of January to the last day of December, and God blessing him in everything, so, come, my Soul, though your God isa consuming fire, there is nothing for His children to dread." So, after David had seen that God blessed Obed-Edom for threemonths, he thought to himself, "Well, now, Obed-Edom has had his turn, and I may have mine. I will set to work to see if Icannot worship God rightly, this time, and bring up the Ark unto my house in the right way."
So he began thus. He prepared a tent for the Ark I do not read that he did that before, but, in the 1st verse of the 15thChapter we read, "David made him houses in the city of David and prepared a place for the Ark of God, and pitched for it atent." Now you see that he is thoughtful and careful in preparing a place for the Ark of God. And if I want God's Presence,I must prepare my mind and heart to receive it. If I want to enjoy communion with my Lord at His Table, I must obey that injunction,"Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup." I must not observe the ordinances ofthe Lord's House without proper thought and solemnity. As the priests washed themselves before they ministered at the altar,so would I come, cleansed and sanctified by the purifying Word, that I may acceptably appear before God.
Then, next, the mind of the Lord was considered. In the 2nd verse of this 15th Chapter, David says, "None ought to carry theArk of the Lord but the Levites: for them has the Lord chosen to carry the Ark of God." And he asserts that the breach uponthem had been made because they "sought Him not after the due order." Now is David anxious to obey God! He will not do whathe thinks proper, but what God thinks proper-and that is the right way for us to worship the Lord! How I wish that all professingChristians would revise their creed by the Word of God! How I wish that all religious denominations would bring their ordinancesand forms of worship to the supreme test of the New Testament! "To the Law and to the Testimony: if they speak not accordingto this Word, it is because there is no light in them." But, alas, they know that so much would have to be put away that isnow delightful to the flesh, that, I fear, we shall be long before we bring all to worship God after His own order! But, mySoul, if you are to be accepted of God, you must see to it that in all your approaches to the great King, you strictly observethe etiquette of His court. What is the rule for courtiers who come into the Presence of the King of kings? What dress arethey to wear? With what words can they approach the Throne? In what spirit are they to draw near to God? Answer all thesequestions and see that you ask the Lord to make you obedient in all things to His gracious commands.
Further, you see that this time the priests were put into their proper places. David said, "Because you did it not at thefirst, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought Him not after the due order." Now they are where they shouldhave been at the first-in the front of the procession and, Brothers and Sisters, when God accepts us, Christ
will take the first place! Our Great High Priest will be in the front and we shall do nothing except through His name andin the power of His precious blood!
Then, on this second occasion, sacrifices were presented unto the Lord. Scarcely had the Ark rested upon the shoulders ofthe Levites than they offered seven bullocks and seven rams as a sacrifice unto God. So, we should never think of doing anythingin the worship of our God without the seven bullocks and seven rams which are all summed up in the one perfect offering ofour ever-adorable Lord. O Brothers and Sisters, keep Christ always before you! Let all your good deeds be done through thestrength you receive from Him, for, "of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things." Nothing can be right that is apartfrom Him. But if He is our Alpha and Omega, and all the letters between, there is no fear that we shall not bring up the Arkof the Lord aright. In this spirit of loving obedience and holy awe, relying upon the sacrifice which they had presented,they seemed like hinds let loose and David, especially, who I suppose was a representative of the whole of them, seemed asif he did not know how he could adequately express the joy that he felt. He had his harp, of which he was a master-player,so, with his skillful fingers moving among the familiar strings, he began to sing. And as he sang, he leaped like some ofour Methodist friends do when they get so excited that they must begin to jump and to dance! I suppose that all the crowdcried, "Amen!" as David sang some of his most joyous songs of praise unto the Lord, and that a great shout went up to Heaven,for everyone was glad that day, and especially David, as he danced before the Lord with all his might!
We must not forget that this carrying up of the Ark was a type of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. If there is anythingthat should make a Christian's heart leap for joy, it is the fact of His Lord's return to Heaven. Look! He has risen fromthe dead and now He is rising from the midst of His disciples. He continues to ascend till a cloud receives Him out of theirsight and angels fly to meet Him as He nears the pearly gates. Squadron after squadron salutes the conquering Prince and bidsHim welcome Home! And who, I pray you, is this Lord of Hosts who now ascends His Father's Throne and sits down at His Father'sright hand forever, as the acknowledged King of kings and Lord of lords? It is the man that died on Calvary, the great representativeMan who is also God! Lo, at His chariot wheels He drags sin, Satan, death and Hell! He leads captivity captive, and givesgifts unto men-
"Sing, Oheavens!Oearth, rejoice! Angel harp and human voice, Round Him, as He rises, raise Your ascending Savior's praise."Now may you who love Him dance with all your might! Now may you let your souls revel in intense delight and plunge themselvesin the bottomless sea of ineffable bliss! God grant you to do so for our Lord Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: 1 CHRONICLES13,15:1-4,11-16,25-29.
1 Chronicles 13:1-3. And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader And David said unto all the congregationof Israel, If it seems good unto you, and that it is of the LORD our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren everywhere,that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites which are in their cities and suburbs,that they may gather themselves unto us: and let us bring again the Ark of our God to us: for we enquired not at it in thedays of Saul I t had lain neglected at Kirjath-Jearim, "in the fields of the wood," as David writes in the 132nd Psalm.
4-8. And all the congregation said that they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people. So Davidgathered all Israel together, from Shihor of Egypt even unto the entering of Hemath, to bring the Ark of God from Kirjath-Jearim.AndDavid went up, and all Israel, to Baalah, that is, to Kirjath-Jearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up thence the Arkof God the LORD, that dwells between the cherubim, whose name is called on it. And they carried the Ark of God in a new cartout of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drove the cart AndDavid and all Israel played before God with all their might,and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets. A stately arrayof all the leaders of the tribes, with all sorts of music, to do honor to the Ark of God.
9, 10. And when theey came unto thee threshing-floor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the Ark; for the oxen stumbled.And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzza, and He smote him, because he put his hand to the Ark: and there he diedbefore God. I suppose that Uzza, through the Ark having been so long in his father's house, had grown unduly familiar withit and, therefore, touched it. Yet it was an express law that even the Levites should not lay a hand upon the Ark. They carriedit with staves. Only the priests might touch it for necessary purposes. It was for this profanation that Uzza "died beforeGod."
11, 12. And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzza; therefore that place is called Perez-Uzzato this day. And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the Ark of God home to me? He was afraid lesthe, also, might die.
13. So David brought not the Ark home to himself to the city of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obed-Edom theGittite. He must have been a brave, believing man, to be willing to receive the terrible Ark into his house. But he probablyknew that as long as he behaved reverentially to it, he would have a blessing, and not a curse, through taking it under hischarge.
14. And the Ark of God remained with the family of Obed-Edom in his house three months. And the LORD blessed the house ofObed-Edom, and all that he had.
1 Chronicles 15:1, 2. And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the Ark of God, and pitched for it a tent. ThenDavid said, None ought to carry the Ark of God but the Levites: for them has the LORD chosen to carry the Ark of God; andto minister unto Him forever. It should not be carried upon a new cart and dragged by unwilling oxen-it should be borne uponthe cheerful shoulders of the God-appointed bearers, the Levites.
3, 4. And David gathered all Israel together to Jerusalem, to bring up the Ark of the LORD unto its place, which he had preparedfor it. And David assembled the children of Aaron, and the Levites. Then follows the list of them, which we need not now read.
11-13. And David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, and Joel, She-maiah, andEliel, and Amminadab, and said unto them, You are the chief of the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, both you andyour brethren, that you may bring up the Ark of the LORD God of Israel unto the place that I have prepared for it. For becauseyou did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought Him not after the due order. Theyhad sought Him, but they had not done it "after the due order." They had been in too great a hurry and they had followed theirown notions instead of looking to the written Law of God wherein everything was prescribed for them.
14-16. So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the Ark of the Lord God of Israel And the childrenof the Levites bore the Ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the Wordof the LORD. And David spoke to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of music,psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy. Before, there had been a great medley of musicalinstruments, but little singing, and there had not been a proper choice as to the persons who were to sing. But now, thisservice was put into the right hands. Then follows a list of the singers and the players upon the various kinds of instrumentsthat went forth to bear the Ark. Let us pass on to the 25th verse.
25, 26. So David and the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the Ark of the Covenant of theLORD out of the house of Obed-Edom with joy. And it came to pass, when God helped the Levites. For, though the Ark was byno means a great load, yet they must have felt some measure of alarm at the very idea of going near to it. But when God strengthenedthem, they took up their burden with delight. "When God helped the Levites"-
26, That bore the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD, that they offered seven bullocks and seven rams. There is no mention ofany sacrifice on the previous occasion. If there had been a proper offering of beasts unto the Lord, there might not havebeen the death of Uzza. But now, they do everything in the right order and the sacrificial blood is sprinkled. Without that,there is no acceptance before God.
27, 28. And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bore the Ark, and the singers, and Chenaniahthe master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen. Thus all Israel brought up the Ark ofthe Covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the cornet and with trumpets, and with
cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps. David himself, while playing on his harp, leaping and dancing through theintensity of joy which filled his soul.
29. And it came to pass, as the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul,looking out at a window saw King David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart So have I known it, when a richperson has been converted and has been found in the first flush of his Christian joy, mixing with the poorest of the brethren,full of delight-and somebody of his own rank has sneered at him. Yet Michal was less honorable than David, though she thoughtso much of herself. God forbid that we should ever blush to manifest enthusiasm even with the poorest of God's saints whilewe are glorifying the Lord! Let Michal sneer, if she will-it matters little what she does. We will only reply as David did,"I will yet be more vile than thus."