David Dancing Before the Ark.

2 Sam. 6:12-23.

1872 174 This was a great day to David's heart; there was none like it. The day when he conquered Goliath was but a little thing compared with the entrance of the ark. Others danced in his honour then; he dances in honour of Jehovah now. This was just the secret of the joy.

But Michal understood it not. It was but vexation to her; for she thought of herself, and was offended with David and even insulted him, as far as petty pride could injure what was incomparably above itself. But David was just so much the more exalted before God as he honoured and sanctified the Lord God of Hosts in his heart; and it is impossible to sanctify Him in the heart without its being manifest in the ways. It was so manifest in David and the power of it was so great that Saul's daughter was ashamed even of her own husband. And she reaped the due reward of her own foolishness and sin.

But as for David on the other hand nothing can be more lovely than his appreciation of God's glory. This was what was at the root of the matter. The ark was the most glorious display of God. It is the type of the manifestation of God in Christ, not merely in meeting us but in glorifying Himself. It was upon the ark that the blood was sprinkled perfectly — before it and upon it. It was the ark that contained the testimonies of stone written by the hand of God, which alone) found a resting-place in Jesus Christ the Lord. Everybody else dishonoured these testimonies of God: Jesus magnified them and made them honourable; Jesus turned them all to the glory of God. All was met in the ark of the covenant. This accordingly was what so distinguished David. We never find even Solomon with all his wisdom paying such heed to the ark of God. We find him occupied before the great altar: this had more appearance before men. People saw the altar; they had their senses moved by it; they knew that it met their need, and there most are apt to stop. But David saw what lay far within; for he looked upon what was unseen. David felt much more for God than for himself.

At the same time there is no way in which we are really so blest as 'when we can forget ourselves in the glory of God; and this was what distinguished Icing David. He had been somewhat troubled before when a man, Uzzah, was smitten for putting forth his hand to the ark and taking hold of it, after the oxen shook it, as if God's ark needed man's hand to hold it up.

God bore with the Philistines when they knew no better than to put the ark on a new cart: in fact it was their way of honouring it. And so with the kine that had conducted the ark long before from the land of the Philistines. God did not make so much of the mistakes of' the Philistines: they did their best; they did not know the mind of God. But not so with Israel who had a knowledge of God that they did not possess. Why bring they oxen to carry God's ark? It ought to have been carried by the redeemed servants of the Lord. They alone were called to identify themselves with the ark. It was their honour to be the servants of the ark of Jehovah. But Israel at this time were by no means up to the mark of the word of God. Hence with good enough intention they put the ark on oxen, and when one of them stumbled, Uzzah put forth his hand to sustain the ark. But the Lord put forth His hand against the presumptuous man who had deemed that the ark of God needed human power to hold it up. He that made heaven and earth could surely hold up His own ark from falling. Uzzah forgot this; and he shows us therefore the folly of our attempting to do God's work out of our own heads or thoughts. Never do we glorify God, we are never even safe, when we are not walking in obedience.

The judgment of God on Uzzah made a great impression on David. He was afraid of Jehovah; he called the place Perez-uzzah, because Jehovah had made a breach upon Uzzah; he was not in communion with God about it; he let in his own thoughts and feelings, which were wrong because they doubted God instead of censuring man. He ought to have taken God's side and have said that Uzzah was justly smitten. What greater wrong is there than to find fault with God? There is no good in us; all our good is in upholding the Lord, in listening to His voice and simply carrying out His will.