1. TO BE IN AWE OF THE SACRED
a. After Uzzah was struck dead for touching the ark, what did David—as should each of us—learn about the holiness of God’s law? 2 Samuel 6:8–10. How and why was Obed-edom rewarded? 2 Samuel 6:11; Proverbs 9:10.
“David was astonished and greatly alarmed, and in his heart he questioned the justice of God. He had been seeking to honor the ark as the symbol of the divine presence. Why, then, had that fearful judgment been sent to turn the season of gladness into an occasion of grief and mourning?”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 705.
“Feeling that his own heart was not wholly right with God, David, seeing the stroke upon Uzzah, had feared the ark, lest some sin on his part should bring judgments upon him. But Obed-edom, though he rejoiced with trembling, welcomed the sacred symbol as the pledge of God’s favor to the obedient. The attention of all Israel was now directed to the Gittite and his household; all watched to see how it would fare with them. [2 Samuel 6:11 quoted.]
“Upon David the divine rebuke accomplished its work. He was led to realize as he had never realized before the sacredness of the law of God and the necessity of strict obedience. . . .
“[David] now gave earnest heed to carry out in every particular the directions of the Lord.”—Ibid., p. 706.
2. A SECOND TRY
a. What must we learn from how David now exercised more obedient care and reverence when transporting the ark? 2 Samuel 6:12, 13; Isaiah 52:11.
“[David] resolved to make another attempt to remove the ark, and he now gave earnest heed to carry out in every particular the directions of the Lord. Again the chief men of the nation were summoned, and a vast assemblage gathered about the dwelling place of the Gittite. With reverent care the ark was now placed upon the shoulders of men of divine appointment, the multitude fell into line, and with trembling hearts the vast procession again set forth. After advancing six paces the trumpet sounded a halt. By David’s direction sacrifices of ‘oxen and fatlings’ were to be offered.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 706.
“Men and women may be well versed in Bible knowledge, as well acquainted with the Scripture as were the Israelites with the ark, and yet if their hearts are not right before God, success will not attend their efforts. God will not be with them. They do not have a high sense of the obligations of the law of heaven, nor do they realize the sacred character of the truth they are teaching. The charge is, ‘Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord’ [Isaiah 52:11].”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 2, p. 998.
b. Describe the way David led the solemn processional—and how he dressed on this occasion. 2 Samuel 6:14.
“The king had laid aside his royal robes and had attired himself in a plain linen ephod, such as was worn by the priests. He did not by this act signify that he assumed priestly functions, for the ephod was sometimes worn by others besides the priests. But in this holy service he would take his place as, before God, on an equality with his subjects. Upon that day Jehovah was to be adored. He was to be the sole object of reverence.
“Again the long train was in motion, and the music of harp and cornet, trumpet and cymbal, floated heavenward, blended with the melody of many voices. ‘And David danced before the Lord,’ in his gladness keeping time to the measure of the song.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 706, 707.
3. REVERENT JOY
a. What must we realize about David’s “dancing”? 2 Samuel 6:14 (first part); 1 Thessalonians 5:5.
“David’s dancing in reverent joy before God has been cited by pleasure lovers in justification of the fashionable modern dance, but there is no ground for such an argument. In our day dancing is associated with folly and midnight reveling. Health and morals are sacrificed to pleasure. By the frequenters of the ballroom God is not an object of thought and reverence; prayer or the song of praise would be felt to be out of place in their assemblies. This test should be decisive. Amusements that have a tendency to weaken the love for sacred things and lessen our joy in the service of God are not to be sought by Christians. The music and dancing in joyful praise to God at the removal of the ark had not the faintest resemblance to the dissipation of modern dancing. The one tended to the remembrance of God and exalted His holy name. The other is a device of Satan to cause men to forget God and to dishonor Him.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 707.
b. Describe the chorus, procession, and ceremony that accompanied the entrance of the sacred ark into the gates of Jerusalem—and the evidence of David’s generous hospitality. Psalm 24:7–10; 2 Samuel 6:17–19.
“The gates were opened wide, the procession entered, and with reverent awe the ark was deposited in the tent that had been prepared for its reception. Before the sacred enclosure altars for sacrifice were erected; the smoke of peace offerings and burnt offerings, and the clouds of incense, with the praises and supplications of Israel, ascended to heaven. The service ended, the king himself pronounced a benediction upon his people. Then with regal bounty he caused gifts of food and wine to be distributed for their refreshment.
“All the tribes had been represented in this service, the celebration of the most sacred event that had yet marked the reign of David. The Spirit of divine inspiration had rested upon the king, and now as the last beams of the setting sun bathed the tabernacle in a hallowed light, his heart was uplifted in gratitude to God that the blessed symbol of His presence was now so near the throne of Israel.”—Ibid., p. 708.
4. PRIDE VS. PIETY
a. Seeing David give all glory to God instead of claiming it for himself as king, what hereditary trait was triggered in Saul’s daughter, Michal—and how did God reprove her bitterness? 2 Samuel 6:16, 20–23.
“The dignity and pride of king Saul’s daughter was shocked that king David should lay aside his garments of royalty, and lay by his royal scepter, and be clothed with the simple linen garments worn by the priest. She thought that he was greatly dishonoring himself before the people of Israel. But God honored David in the sight of all Israel by letting His Spirit abide upon him.”—Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4A, pp. 112, 113.
b. To what is David’s sacred ceremony bringing the ark to the heart of the nation compared? Revelation 14:12, 13; Daniel 12:2.
“David humbled himself, but God exalted him. He sung in an inspired manner, playing upon the harp, producing the most enchanting music. He felt in a small degree that holy joy that all the saints will experience at the voice of God when their captivity is turned, and God makes a covenant of peace with all who have kept His commandments.”—Ibid., p. 113.
“[Daniel 12:2 quoted.] All who have died in the faith of the third angel’s message come forth from the tomb glorified, to hear God’s covenant of peace with those who have kept His law.”—The Great Controversy, p. 637.
c. After the ark was in place, David’s throne was established, and the king had rest from his enemies. What was his great aspiration? 2 Samuel 7:1–3.
d. How did the Lord respond to David’s desire—and why? 2 Samuel 7:4, 5, 12, 13; 1 Chronicles 22:7–10.
5. A DREAM GIVEN TO ANOTHER
a. How did David respond to God’s verdict? 2 Samuel 7:18–22.
“David knew that it would be an honor to his name and would bring glory to his government to perform the work that he had purposed in his heart to do, but he was ready to submit his will to the will of God. The grateful resignation thus manifested is rarely seen, even among Christians. How often do those who have passed the strength of manhood cling to the hope of accomplishing some great work upon which their hearts are set, but which they are unfitted to perform! God’s providence may speak to them, as did His prophet to David, declaring that the work which they so much desire is not committed to them. It is theirs to prepare the way for another to accomplish it. But instead of gratefully submitting to the divine direction, many fall back as if slighted and rejected, feeling that if they cannot do the one thing which they desire to do, they will do nothing. Many cling with desperate energy to responsibilities which they are incapable of bearing, and vainly endeavor to accomplish a work for which they are insufficient, while that which they might do, lies neglected.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 712, 713.
b. What must we understand when God declines our wishes? Isaiah 55:8, 9.
“Our plans are not always God’s plans. He may see that it is best for us and for His cause to refuse our very best intentions, as He did in the case of David. . . .
“In His loving care and interest for us, often He who understands us better than we understand ourselves refuses to permit us selfishly to seek the gratification of our own ambition.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 473.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How may God in His Word be seeking to bring me to higher ground?
2. Might God be giving me a second chance to do things better than before?
3. What main characteristic do we notice about the procession of the ark?
4. How is the bringing of the ark similar to the special resurrection in Daniel?
5. How may I be neglecting God’s call while busily hoping for something else?