Today: [1 Chronicles Fifteen] Bringing the Ark to Your House. In this chapter David brings the ark of the Covenant to his house on Zion. This was attempted before and a man died because certain protocols were ignored. Now David looks to the scriptures for an understanding about bringing the ark of God back to the people. The ark of God in the Old Testament speaks of the Presence of God in our own hearts. There had to be preparation to bring the ark home. Likewise you and I should live in preparation BECAUSE God lives in us – the very Shekinah presence of God. When we properly relate to God’s indwelling in us by the Holy Spirit we are blessed and benefited. Likewise if we are casual and cavalier about the indwelling of God in our lives we create a costly breach between us and God that can result in sorrow in our lives.
[1Ch 15:1-29 KJV] 1 And [David] made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent. 2 Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the LORD chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever. 3 And David gathered all Israel together to Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the LORD unto his place, which he had prepared for it. 4 And David assembled the children of Aaron, and the Levites: 5 Of the sons of Kohath; Uriel the chief, and his brethren an hundred and twenty: 6 Of the sons of Merari; Asaiah the chief, and his brethren two hundred and twenty: 7 Of the sons of Gershom; Joel the chief, and his brethren an hundred and thirty: 8 Of the sons of Elizaphan; Shemaiah the chief, and his brethren two hundred: 9 Of the sons of Hebron; Eliel the chief, and his brethren fourscore: 10 Of the sons of Uzziel; Amminadab the chief, and his brethren an hundred and twelve. 11 And David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, and Joel, Shemaiah, and Eliel, and Amminadab, 12 And said unto them, Ye [are] the chief of the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, [both] ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel unto [the place that] I have prepared for it. 13 For because ye [did it] not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order.
In this chapter David has completed the building of his palace compound on Mount Zion. He goes further to prepare near his own residence a place to put the ark of God which has been kept at the house of Obed-Edom since the incident in which Uzzah was killed for touching the ark in transit to Jerusalem. King Hiram of Tyre sent laborers and building materials to David as a diplomatic overture and David has now built his palace and wants to bring the ark of God not to Shiloh or one of the other places where it had been kept previously but close to his own home.
After consulting the book of Moses concerning the proper protocol when moving the ark David instructs the Levites to prepare themselves to perform this task. The ark previously was brought up on a cart, in fact a new cart with an oxen drawing it. This was exactly how the Philistines had drawn the ark when they sent it out of the house of their God Dagon years before. It seems that moving the ark on a NEW cart held significance as though something new was imbued with a sacredness befitting the ark.
What is our own understanding of God moving in our midst? Do we see the “move of God” as being contained within some “new” thing or teaching or building or ministry? Paul equated this with the pagan habits of the Athenians in the book of Acts:
[Act 17:21 KJV] 21 (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)
What is the attraction of something new? Solomon said in Ecc. 1:8 that the eye is never full of seeing nor the ear full of hearing. Something new is also equated with wealth. The New Testament word for money comes from a word meaning “to shine” or to “have a desire to shine….” This is why God rejected and actually became angry about the new cart being chosen to carry the ark of the Covenant. The new cart reflected man’s competition with God’s glory. David wanted to “shine” to show something new (even to God) when only God’s glory is that which we are to delight in rather than any other thing including material wealth.
Psal. 81:1 says that God is our strength. When we draw strength or a sense of security or well being from other things this is a form of idolatry. Whether this security is found in material things, wealth, appearance, position or the favor of man we must bear in mind as believers that our strength and security is to be found in God Himself. We do not want to look anywhere else for what we ought to look to God for.
[2Co 10:17 KJV] 17 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
So David instructs the Levites to ceremonially prepare themselves to carry the ark of God’s presence. The law dictated the ark was to be carried on the shoulders of the Levites. We carry the ark of God’s presence inside ourseslves. Everything the ark represented with all its power and glory and the Shekinah presence of God is no longer in a box but in ourselves as born again believers. If the Levites were to sanctify themselves should we not also? We do not sanctify ourselves so that God will be with us rather we sanctify ourselves because God IS with us. What does it mean to “sanctify” ourselves? The Hebrew word here means:
Consecrate: “to consecrate, prepare, dedicate, be hallowed, be holy, be separate
to be set apart, be consecrated, be treated as sacred, to set apart, devote, to keep oneself apart or separate”.
Again do we consecrate ourselves so that God will be with us? No we consecrate ourselves because God IS with us and IN us. These are not popular themes today. Individualism and personal liberty has so permeated modern thinking that we reject the imposition of any boundaries or limits on our behavior or personal choices. However the fact remains that because God is in us and with us we are called upon to live separate and consecrated lives. Every one of us must hold ourselves accountable to that mandate. If we do not this may explain why breaches take place in our lives such as happened with Uzzah when he sought to steady the ark.
14 So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel. 15 And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the LORD. 16 And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren [to be] the singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy. 17 So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel; and of his brethren, Asaph the son of Berechiah; and of the sons of Merari their brethren, Ethan the son of Kushaiah; 18 And with them their brethren of the second [degree], Zechariah, Ben, and Jaaziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, Eliab, and Benaiah, and Maaseiah, and Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obededom, and Jeiel, the porters. 19 So the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, [were appointed] to sound with cymbals of brass; 20 And Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah, with psalteries on Alamoth; 21 And Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obededom, and Jeiel, and Azaziah, with harps on the Sheminith to excel.
Preparing to carry the ark – the process of sanctifying themselves for the Levites was not a funereal rite. It was not a sorrowful thing. They prepared for celebration, harps, cymbals, and lifting up their voices with joy and rejoicing. We think of sanctification and conjure up dour faced images of dread and contrition. For the Levites though it was a serious thing they yet found reason to rejoice and be glad for the ark of the Covenant was returning to them that they might once again inquire of the Lord. At this time before the temple was built this was the primary function of the ark for the Israelites – to inquire of the voice of God for their lives. God has a voice. He will not leave us without answers for our lives. The voice of God can come outwardly but primarily God wishes to speak from within our own hearts and lives.
22 And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, [was] for song: he instructed about the song, because he [was] skilful. 23 And Berechiah and Elkanah [were] doorkeepers for the ark. 24 And Shebaniah, and Jehoshaphat, and Nethaneel, and Amasai, and Zechariah, and Benaiah, and Eliezer, the priests, did blow with the trumpets before the ark of God: and Obededom and Jehiah [were] doorkeepers for the ark. 25 So David, and the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the house of Obededom with joy. 26 And it came to pass, when God helped the Levites that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, that they offered seven bullocks and seven rams. 27 And David [was] clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also [had] upon him an ephod of linen. 28 Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps. 29 And it came to pass, [as] the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart.
Finally the preparations were made and the ark of God is brought into the city with great joy. Many animals were sacrificed along the way. Instruments were used with cornet, trumpets and cymbols and much noise. There was shouting. When the presence of God comes to a person He puts a song in their heart. David danced before the Lord on the way to mount Zion clad only in a linen ephod. What is the significance of this? It was not lost on Saul’s daughter Michel. She was David’s wife and looked down upon David in disgust becuase he was not arrayed in one of his royal robes. But David refuses to try to wear anything suggesting that he was trying to outshine the presence of God over the ark. He dresses in a simple linen garment which is a type of righteousness. The only clothing we need before God in a metaphorical sense is the clothing of righteousness and forgiveness afforded us by the death, burial and ressurection of Jesus.
The place that David brings the ark to is called the Tabernacle of David. Amos prophesied about this arrangement and the last days:
[Amo 9:11 KJV] 11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:
This is not talking about a literal tent but the tabernacle of David on the inside of us. This was an open air tent that the appointed singers gathered around and surrounded it not with the panels of a tent but with song and rejoicing and honor and worship. The apostle James in Acts 15:16 quotes Amos in dealing with the Gentile question. They had a very real understanding that the ark of God was no longer something physical in an ornate box but rather the presence of God on the inside of us. This gives us great hope and also should give us pause about how we posture ourselves and order our lives in view of the fact that God does in fact live in us by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Obed-Edom honored the ark and was blessed beyond measure. Uzzah was casual in his attitude toward the ark even daring to touch it – to “help God out” and created a breach between him and God that cost him his life.
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