Bible Readings for September 11th
In 2 Samuel 6, we read one of the first stories explicitly describing the worship of Yahweh since Deuteronomy. David, the anointed king after God’s own heart who reigns over Israel, here brings the ark of God into Jerusalem. When Israel left Egypt, Yahweh led his people in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, and then, once the tabernacle was built, Yahweh dwelt in the midst of his people in the tabernacle. Now, however, Yahweh’s dwelling place with his people would be set in a single location—on Mount Zion in the City of David. In order to establish Jerusalem as the place where Yahweh would make his name dwell (Deut. 12:1–28), Yahweh reestablished two of the guidelines for his worship.
First, through the death of Uzzah (2 Sam. 6:5–11), Yahweh reminds his people that he is holy and that his people may not worship him in any way they see fit. Rather, they should observe all the commandments and statutes he had given them through Moses—including the commandment that only the priests should carry the ark of the covenant and that they should use the poles designed for that purpose and not a cart. It may seem that Uzzah has noble intentions in trying to prevent damage or harm from coming to the ark of the covenant, but because he disregards Yahweh’s commandment, he fundamentally mistreats the holiness of Yahweh when he reaches out to touch it.
Second, through the closing of Michal’s womb (2 Sam. 6:16–23), Yahweh reminds his people that his glory is infinitely superior to the glory even of Israel’s kings. Ultimately, Michal’s offense at David’s dancing for joy as the ark of Yahweh enters the city arises because she does not care that much about Yahweh’s glory and because she cares a lot about the dignity of her husband, Israel’s king. So, David points out to her that her father, Saul, had worried about his own dignity. Additionally, David reminds Michal that Yahweh had rejected Saul in favor of David precisely because David, unlike Saul, cared about Yahweh’s glory more than his own (2 Sam. 6:21–22).
In our own worship, then, we must take seriously the deadly holiness of Yahweh while also abandoning our dignity to rejoice in the Lord—especially since we have a better word than David had as he brought the ark into Jerusalem. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ himself has been struck down, like Uzzah, for all the ways in which we have mistreated the holiness of Yahweh. Since Jesus went to trial for us, we are not on trial, and we may rejoice, having been named sons and daughters of the Most High God who dwells in our midst through his Holy Spirit.
O come, let us worship the Lord!
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.