Love Came Down with Royal Worship

As David ascended the throne, worship of Almighty God soon became preeminent for Israeli culture. After the initial disaster as Uzza’s death at the Giant Threshing Floor, killed for touching the ark of the covenant when the oxen stumbled, everyone was gun-shy about moving God ‘s resting place into town.

Quickly they had dumped the cart at Obed-Edom’s house.

While David’s chief council stewed in embarrassment, God mightily blessed Obed-Edom’s family for three months.

Meanwhile, King David did his research.  First he acknowledged the royal priesthood which God had established saying “No one ought to carry the ark of God except the Levites, for God has chosen them to carry the ark of God, and to minister to Him forever.”(1 Chronicles 15:2)

Next, the ark was to be carried not by David’s friends, but by the Levites and not in a cart, like the Philistines had presumed. Poles were prepared just as described in Exodus 25:14 by God to Moses, and the nation’s priests were prepped to carry the ark upon their shoulders.

You see, Uzza’s death had been a wake up call for David and his team.

As David submitted to God’s protocols for handling the most holy symbol of God in Israel, holiness was re-established as an essential mandate for the priesthood. King David commissioned the priests to sanctify themselves and step into their priesthood and urged them to lead the nation in ministry unto God:

And he said to them, You are the heads of the fathers of the Levites. Sanctify yourselves, you and your brothers, so that you may bring up the ark of Jehovah, the God of Israel to the place which I have prepared for it. For because you did not do it at the first, Jehovah our God made a break on us, since we did not seek Him in due order.( 1 Chronicles 15:12,13)

After setting the singers, the musicians and the Levites in their place, the initial parade of the ark of the covenant by David’s army was transformed into a procession as all of Israel walked into Jerusalem, on a red carpet of bloodshed. Fourteen sacrificial oxen were slain. God went first. Then  the people worshipped with everything they had.

Both Samuel and the Chronicler’s account note the celebration was activated in an intense key of joy.

From Obed-Edom’s home to David’s prepared tent, God was exalted in holy worship and Israel, back in step with God, erupted into excessive, passionate, amazing JOY.

Life in God is a procession, not a parade.

From his first crucial mistake, David then brought music as worship of God, a God-breathed movement forward for Israel, which we still enjoy today:

And they brought the ark of God and set it in the middle of the tent which David had pitched for it. And they offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings before God.And when David had made an end of offering the burnt offering and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of Jehovah.And he divided to every one of Israel, both man and woman, to every one a loaf of bread and a portion, and a raisin cake.And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of Jehovah, and to record, and to thank and praise Jehovah, the God of Israel. ( 1 Chronic. 16:1-4)

All the people, men and women, enjoyed the blessing of the procession, as the Ark was established in Jerusalem. Poems of praise, the Psalms, were recorded as praise unto God by  Israel. There in Jerusalem, the first songs of Israel of praise and worship of God were rehearsed and sung, songs of faith, of testimony, of awe and reverence, of supplication released by the priesthood to move the nation forward.

As worship abounded, the nation shifted in reverence and victory.

As an aside, I love that Obed-Edomite was made both a gatekeeper and a lead worshipper.

God had more than blessed this family. He shifted their nationality forever.  Obed-Edomite was never again described as the Gittite, the foreigner. This man who had so faithfully housed the Presence of God was promoted into full Jewish status and then given leadership in the nation for his faithfulness.

The Lord is no respecter of persons. He can change any life around.

God is so gracious.

From a place of disrespect and naive disregard for protocol of the King, David shifted into reverence and this great King released a holy worship that shifted his nation and is still impacting our worship today. I love how God teaches us rough mistakes and pain and failure. He truly is glorious.

Let’s pray: Lord God Almighty, You are so kind. Take the mistakes of our assumptions and misses, and give us the grace to establish something wonderful as we worship You. Lord Jesus, thank You, that we may draw close to our Father, with confidence, without shame, because of your blood sacrifice for us all.  Holy Spirit, lead us like David, to worship God with all our might, all our soul, all our spirit and body, that our Father may be truly glorified. Amen.

This Week’s Reading: 1 Chronicles 11-20

Next Week’s Reading: 1Chronicles 21- 29

Study Questions:

1. What do you do when you blow it with God?

2. How does the Cross affect shame over failure?

3. What do you like about worship? What is your favourite way to worship?

4.  Have you ever found yourself dead or dull to worship? How do you shift?

5.  Worship is a life lived for God, more than songs or instrument or dance.  Do something different this week to express your awe of God. Tell me about it!