Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 12, 2015

“the Lord … chose me … therefore I will celebrate before the Lord.”

Today’s devotion comes from 2 Samuel Chapter 6.

“1 Now David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand.  2 And David arose and went with all the people who were with him to Baale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God which is called by the Name, the very name of the Lord of hosts who is enthroned above the cherubim.  3 They placed the ark of God on a new cart that they might bring it from the house of Abinadab which was on the hill;  and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were leading the new cart.  4 So they brought it with the ark of God from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Ahio was walking ahead of the ark.  5 Meanwhile, David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord with all kinds of instruments made of fir wood, and with lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets and cymbals.

6 But when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out toward the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen nearly upset it.  7 And the anger of the Lord burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down there for his irreverence; and he died there by the ark of God.  8 David became angry because of the Lord’s outburst against Uzzah, and that place is called Perez-uzzah to this day.  9 So David was afraid of the Lord that day; and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?”  10 And David was unwilling to move the ark of the Lord into the city of David with him;  but David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.  11 Thus the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household.

12 Now it was told King David, saying, “The Lord has blessed the house of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, on account of the ark of God.”  David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with gladness.  13 And so it was, that when the bearers of the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling.  14 And David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, and David was wearing a linen ephod.  15 So David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouting and the sound of the trumpet.

16 Then it happened as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart.

17 So they brought in the ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the tent which David had pitched for it;  and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.  18 When David had finished offering the burnt offering and the peace offering, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts.  19 Further, he distributed to all the people, to all the multitude of Israel, both to men and women, a cake of bread and one of dates and one of raisins to each one.  Then all the people departed each to his house.

20 But when David returned to bless his household, Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “How the king of Israel distinguished himself today!  He uncovered himself today in the eyes of his servants’ maids as one of the foolish ones shamelessly uncovers himself!”  21 So David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel;  therefore I will celebrate before the Lord.  22 I will be more lightly esteemed than this and will be humble in my own eyes, but with the maids of whom you have spoken, with them I will be distinguished.”  23 Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.”   2 Samuel Chapter 6.

—————————-

Like Uzzah, we cannot reach out toward God and take hold of Him through our own free-will and on our own terms, even though we think we are quite righteous in doing so.

Like David, we must be chosen to receive God and properly worship Him.  “the Lord … chose me … therefore I will celebrate before the Lord.”  Verse 21.

We are reminded of Jesus’ Parable of the Marriage Feast.  “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he *said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’  And the man was speechless.  Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness;  in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’  For many are called, but few are chosen.”  Matthew 22:11-14.

Reverence is not determined by our style of worship.  Reverence is determined by the Spirit of worship.  David was loud and leaping and dancing before the LORD (verses 15-16), and David’s worship was accepted.  Uzzah was quiet and “only” reached out toward the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen nearly upset it, but his worship was rejected (verses 6-7).

There is nothing that we can do in the flesh that can be reverent or pleasing to God, whether we are loud or quiet:  “and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”  Romans 8:8.

But, those who are chosen of God, receive the Holy Spirit and please God.

“Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen;
My Beloved in whom My soul is well-pleased;
I will put My Spirit upon Him,
And He shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles.”  Matthew 12:18.

“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.  For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”  Romans 8:14-15.

We read nothing that the house of Obed-edom did to please God to deserve the blessing of God.  Verses 10-11.  They were only chosen to receive the ark of the LORD and did receive it, and were therefore blessed.

“For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.  … For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;  but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.”  1 Corinthians 1:21 and 26-29.

To use yesterday’s Scripture (Isaiah 55:12), we are not led by God because we are joyful or peaceful.  But rather, we are joyful and peaceful, because we are led by God.  The context (preceding verse) of Isaiah 55:12 helps us understand.

“11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
12 “For you will go out with joy
And be led forth with peace;
The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you,
And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”  Isaiah 55:11-12.

And, we don’t have to be loud and leaping and dancing (as David was) to be joyful in our worship.  We can be joyful quietly meditating on God’s Word.

And, we don’t have to be quiet in our worship to be peaceful.  We can be peaceful (as David also was) when we are loud and leaping and dancing.  We note that David was previously angry and afraid in verses 8-9, but those stressful emotions were not in him when he was worshipping God by being loud and leaping and dancing before the LORD.  Peace is determined more by the absence of anger and fear, than it is by the absence of movement and noise.

In summary, we can worship (and be joyful and peaceful and reverent in our worship), because we are chosen and led by God.

How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You
To dwell in Your courts.
We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house,
Your holy temple.”  Psalm 65:4.

But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house,
At Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You.”  Psalm 5:7.

Establish Your word to Your servant,
As that which produces reverence for You.”  Psalm 119:38.

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