What does it say?
This is David’s first attempt to bring the ark to Jerusalem (2Sam 6) and it fails horribly despite his best intentions. Uzzah steadies the ark as the oxen stumble and is struck dead for touching what not even the Levites are allowed to touch. David blames himself and on the second attempt uses the Levites with the system of poles and rings to move the ark in accordance with the Law. David and all the people are jubilant except for David’s wife Michal.
David desires to build a permanent place for God’s presence, but the prophet Nathan receives word from God that his son Solomon, not David, will build the temple (2Sam 7). However, God promises David an everlasting kingdom, to which he responds by submitting himself to God’s plan with a prayer of thanksgiving. 1Chr 17 covers the same material as 2Sam 7 from a different perspective.
What does it mean?
The ends and motives do not justify the means. David’s intentions are honorable, but he is ignorant of God’s words and instructions through Moses. The consequences of disobedience are immediate and serious. Rather than give up, David learns from his mistake and ultimately succeeds in bringing the ark to Jerusalem.
David and the people rejoice in bringing the ark to the capital, but his wife is clearly upset at what she perceives as a loss of kingly dignity. It is also clear that this attitude is not pleasing to God, as Michal is cursed to remain childless, a horrible fate for a Jewish woman of this era. Sadly, we can still be in the very presence of God surrounded by his mighty power in the lives of others, but remain cold and unmoved. Does this problem belong to God, others or me?
David’s great heart and wonderful desires appear again as he desires to build a permanent residence in Jerusalem for God’s presence. This time the problem is not the method, but the person. David is simply not the indicated person in God’s plan. Far more important than our desire to do great things for God is the need to understand our place in God’s plan. There is a place of importance for every believer in God’s mission, but not every believer will occupy the same place.
How will I respond?
Am I more like David or Michal? Is my praise authentic, or can I stand unmoved in the presence of God. Am I trying so hard to do something significant for God that I don’t see his specific plan for me? What step can I take today to address any of these issues in my life?