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Author:Rev. Sjirk Bajema
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Congregation:Reformed Church of Mangere
 South Auckland, New Zealand
 
Title:Holy! Holy! Holy!
Text:2 Samuel 6:1-11 (View)
Occasion:Reformation Day
Topic:Worship
 
Preached:2005-10-05
Added:2008-04-12
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Sjirk Bajema, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


2 SAMUEL 6:1-11

(Reading: 2 Samuel 5:1-6:11)

 

Holy! Holy! Holy!

 

 

Congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ...

    

When the Lord works revival in His people it is clearly seen. Scripture tells us and church history shows us that the Church of Christ then truly does become His Body. There is a return to God’s Word. Those who are His live very simple and spiritual lives.

You see, then that true faith is very much alive. Like we know of the 16th century Reformation. Justification by faith alone was so central. And with it went Christ alone, Scripture alone, and grace alone.

When believers are so moved by the Holy Spirit, however, something else also invariably goes with it. In fact, this other aspect is like a parallel train track which must always be matched with the great truths of salvation by grace alone through faith alone.

You can certainly see it in our text. For what grips the godly king, David, at the same time as he has that close communion with the Lord? Following on from God’s covenant people being changed right around under a man of His choosing, what does He do?

I mean, there is the decisive victory over the old foe - the Philistines - in the chapter we read before. And just before that the ancient stronghold of the Jebusites - Jerusalem - has finally been conquered and claimed to be the new capital.

There is peace. A peace which has so permeated Israel that at the beginning of chapter 5 all the tribes of Israel recognised David as the leader YAHWEH has placed over them.

It’s all happening, isn’t it? Here is the man after God’s own heart, as 1st Samuel 13 verse 14 says. And in 1st Kings 15 verse 3 David’s heart is described as being fully devoted to the LORD His God.

 

You think about it. You have had this marvellous manifestation of God’s goodness poured out in all these blessings. It’s so clear what He has done! So what else has to happen as well?

The answer’s obvious. You have to respond to Him. You fall down on your knees before Him!

 

The heart to have God enthroned  

And so we see of David that he has THE HEART TO HAVE GOD ENTHRONED. This is the first aspect to this text. This is shown in the verses 1 till 5. THE HEART TO HAVE GOD ENTHRONED.

We see this so clearly with the difference between kings. Saul, who has been so proud and self-reliant. He was the tall, outstanding man. He had never shown real interest in worshipping God. When he did offer up sacrifices it was on his own terms - not even waiting for the Lord’s prophet! He didn’t want to be humble before God.

Saul showed this with his disregard of the ark of the covenant. For we have to remember that the ark had been missing from its rightful place in the worship of Israel ever since Eli’s two stupid sons took it into battle as some kind of lucky talisman. For a long time God hadn’t been at the centre of His people - He hadn’t been constantly in the forefront of their national life. Israel had not had the ark which represented God among them. They had gone without the blood of the atonement being sprinkled upon it. The blood which symbolises the precious blood of Calvary.

They had gone without the tables of the law kept in it. The tables which symbolise the law that one day would be upon all the hearts of God’s people.

And they had gone without the manna kept inside it. The manna which points to Him who is the Bread of Life.

 

Something had been missing alright. The special thing which is rediscovered every time God’s grants genuine revival. And that’s true worship. In the words of John Calvin, “as God requires us to worship Him in a spiritual manner, so we most zealously urge men to all the spiritual sacrifices which He recommends.”

This is why we cannot help but notice the seriousness with which David takes up the cause of the worship of God. Psalm 132 describes how he had been feeling then. In the verses 3 till 5 he says, “I will not enter my house or go to my bed - I will allow no sleep to my eyes, no slumber to my eyelids, till I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

The text clearly shows this. Verse 1 tells us of thirty thousand men he gathers together for this. And these are the warriors. Together with them, as well, were priests and Levites from all over the country.

It was quite an assembly. A gathering so significant it matches the time he was acknowledged king at Hebron.

You can begin to see parallels with the great work of reformation God did under Moses. Because that’s what David wanted so much to restore now. He knew He had to go back to God.

 

It reminds me of a conversation once between two ministers. One of them was a seriously conservative man in their denomination while the other preferred much rather to be more ‘open’. In that conversation they were discussing the way that their denomination ought to go.

They had come to this topic because the ‘open’ minister had said that there needed to be a vision as to the wonderful new vistas on God’s horizons. That was revival to him. To break-out from the past and grasp the future.

The conservative man disagreed. He said it wasn’t a matter of being open to anything new or visionary at all. Rather, it was a matter of simply going back to God’s Word.

 

Congregation, the latter was on David’s heart. He knew Israel had to do what pleased their covenant Lord. And what God delighted in had been laid down for them clearly enough through His great prophet in the past, Moses.

David had THE HEART TO HAVE GOD ENTHRONED. And so they placed the ark of the covenant on a new cart for the journey to Jerusalem. New because it was being completely dedicated to this sacred task.

On the way they went. It was quite a celebration. They were singing with all their might and praising God on all their instruments.

Those who had been especially blessed by the ark of the covenant were walking next to it. How appropriate that would have been. They who were of the family who had had that ark with them for a generation.

 

It seems that this is a new start. With such a unity and such a heart it was so right! Well, how could it be wrong?

Ah, dear believers, there we have so much of what is distracting the Church of Christ. For it’s not that they aren’t sincere about what they do. It is all very meaningful for them. And their many testimonies will share that with you.

 

The God who alone is enthroned

But it cannot only be that one has THE HEART TO HAVE GOD ENTHRONED. It must especially be, in the second place, THE GOD WHO ALONE IS ENTHRONED.

Because it all comes crashing down in verse 6. All man’s helpfulness becomes worthlessness when it’s the wrong thing. For Uzzah’s wanting to stop the ark of the covenant falling over meant he fell over - dead!

Something has gone seriously wrong. Or should we say, something has not gone right! For what was different in this particular action of David’s compared with what we read before when he fought the Philistines?

Ah, in chapter 5 verse 23 we find David inquiring of the LORD. There’s no mention of that here. Indeed, there couldn’t be! Because if David had done so he would have been told of the way the ark of the covenant needed to be taken to Jerusalem. The same way that Moses had had it carried - on poles by priests.

As it was, the carriage by cart made it no different than the way pagans often used wagons to transport idols representing their gods. Of this one commentator notes, “If David used a wagon to transport the ark into Jerusalem, would the city’s original heathen population get a clear enough impression of the difference between Yahweh, who led His people in the wilderness, and the false gods of the other nations?”

 

In a very vivid way the holiness of God is demonstrated. There can be no doubt it’s got nothing to do what with what we feel or say or do. It’s got everything to do, though, with what God has said! Because it should be the priests and the Levites carrying this sacred object. It was their calling to look after it.

The book of Numbers chapter 4 is quite clear about this. The verses 5 and 6 there state, “When the camp is to move, Aaron and his sons are to go in and take down the shielding curtain and cover the ark of the testimony with it. Then they are to cover this with hides of sea cows, spread a cloth of solid blue over that and put the poles into place.”

It was even stated that the Kohathites were the only men allowed to carry it. Numbers 7 verse 9 says that.

 

Now, we could excuse David here. We could say that, like Josiah later in the Old Testament, he didn’t know the exact way to do it. But ignorance is no excuse in God’s sight. Josiah knew that and David did, too.

That’s why David was angry. Not with Uzzah because he blew it. And not angry with God because of how unloving He had been. He was angry with Himself because he knew it went against His Law. He knew it was his fault that Uzzah had died.

Now that realisation may not have come clearly to him straight away. He would have been caught up in the shock of what happened to Uzzah. “Why Uzzah?” everyone would have been wondering. “And why now, while doing this especially for the Lord?”

But we know the truth struck David because of what follows in verse 9. For there it says he is afraid of God.

         

Congregation, this really gets to David. It’s like the Lord placed a huge mirror in front of his heart. He knew he hadn’t got it right by the law. And then his motives weren’t exactly pure either.

Did he realise this was a bit about the trappings of kingship more than simply worshipping God? When he asks, “How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?” he’s not only concerned for what else could happen by taking the ark to Jerusalem. He’s also thinking about whether he himself is ready personally.

Because David, as Israel’s king, wasn’t only another citizen. Nor was he just another leader. He was the one anointed by the Lord Himself to especially rule in His Name. Until Christ, the King of all kings came, Israel’s king was to point the way by being over His people.

It is an awesome responsibility. It says a lot for David that he stopped here. For it’s not that he went from one extreme to the other. He didn’t throw a wobbly and spit the dummy. He didn’t just give up.

 

The blessing where God is enthroned

David was going to wait for God. And so we see, congregation, in the third place, THE BLESSING WHERE GOD IS ENTHRONED. This is what comes through in the last part of verse 10 and in verse 11.

David pauses. He has to first inquire of the Lord. And until he is clear that bringing it to Jerusalem, and the way it’s brought to Jerusalem, is right, the ark of God isn’t going anywhere. David waits upon the Lord.

    

Someone once described the guidance of the Lord with the three words which a batsman uses in a cricket game. For after the ball is hit, the batsman who can see the ball calls out “Yes!” if a run can be easily made. If there is no run to be made he will call out, “No!” And if he cannot judge straight away what to do he will call, “Wait!” But once it’s clear, he will say “Yes!” or “No!”

David waits. And look what happens as he does that. The household which looks after the ark of God is blessed. That’s the home of Obed-Edom the Gittite we read about in verse 10. Verse 11 tells us that the ark was there three months and the Lord’s blessing was upon Obed-Edom and upon his entire household. That’s quite some testimony!

 

Now, there is a bit of a side issue over who exactly Obed-Edom the Gittite was. Some commentators argue that he’s a Philistine who was a resident alien or who had been with David in Gath. They say that calling him a Gittite indicates he’s from Gath. Others say that Gittite refers to the town of Gath-rimmon, a Levitical city in the tribe of Dan.

It would be hard to imagine, though, that David, having been struck by the Lord’s holiness in such a powerful way, would then do something which could possibly make it worse. Rather, David would be going out of his way to get it right. Even if he wasn’t exactly clear on what right was. And leaving the ark of God with a Philistine just wouldn’t have fitted.

That it would have been a Levitical family would have fitted the picture. And so we see THE BLESSING WHERE GOD IS ENTHRONED. Because the ark is in a place where it can be a blessing - there’s nothing to stop it doing that.

This is quite clear with what happens in Obed-Edom’s home. This time would have cleared the air of any doubts about whether the ark itself was dangerous or whether David should have shifted it in the first place! Because it’s plain now - there is THE BLESSING WHERE GOD IS ENTHRONED.

 

The text ends stating this. It says, “and the LORD blessed him and his entire household.”

David now has his “Yes!” The reforming work of God’s Spirit will continue. Because that work will even more be based on God’s Word. In fact, David’s line would be leading to the Messiah Himself. In Christ all the covenant promises will be fulfilled.

Then there wouldn’t need to be the king, the ark of God, the temple, and all those ceremonies. Then God’s Word will live in the most complete way in the hearts and lives of His people!

Congregation, that’s our day! Let’s go and live it His way!   Amen.

 

 

PRAYER:

Let’s pray...

O LORD God, as the ark was a guest which you couldn’t lose if you made it truly welcome, so may our hearts today be motivated for You. And as it was good living in the family that looked after the ark, so may we be blessed by our faith in You. Through Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen.

 

    

 




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Sjirk Bajema, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
The source for this sermon was: www.rcnz.org.nz

(c) Copyright 2005, Rev. Sjirk Bajema

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