Not gonna lie – this is one of my favorite stories. The ark of the covenant had been stolen in battle and was in the enemy’s possession for twenty years. Finally, King David fought the Philistines and recovered the ark. At first, David was reluctant to house the ark in his city; one of the men carrying the ark had reached out to steady it on route and the Lord struck him dead. Although it seems like a stiff punishment for an honorable intention, God had made it very clear that God was too holy for mortals to look upon, and the ark was too holy for anyone other than priests to touch. It’s not like God punished him for his behavior – no, the ark was simply too powerfully holy for Uzzah to endure. Nonetheless, David was afraid of the raw power the ark contained, and he left it in the care of the nearby household of Obed-edom for three months.
But then, once David learned that Obed-edom’s household was blessed because he housed the ark, David found the courage to bring the ark into his city. (Either that, or he just wanted the blessings for himself.)
Here’s the best part of this story. Once the ark was in its home in David’s city, David was so overjoyed, he danced in the streets in his underwear. (Yeah, that’s what an ephod is.) When his wife, Saul’s daughter who really hated David, scolded him for his vulgarity, David proclaimed that he would do even crazier things than that for joy of the Lord.
I wonder what it might take for me to be so overjoyed with the Lord that I would leap and dance in the streets in any clothing, much less underwear. What are those moments for me – those moments so beautiful and rare that rejoicing is necessary? The birth of my 3 children comes to mind. Do I need to limit my rejoicing to those rare moments? No, if I look, I can find moments worth rejoicing nearly every day. Dance. Sing. Rejoice. God is worth it.
2 Samuel 6:1-23
David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. David and all the people with him set out and went from Baale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who is enthroned on the cherubim. They carried the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart with the ark of God; and Ahio went in front of the ark. David and all the house of Israel were dancing before the Lord with all their might, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals.
When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen shook it. The anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God struck him there because he reached out his hand to the ark; and he died there beside the ark of God. David was angry because the Lord had burst forth with an outburst upon Uzzah; so that place is called Perez-uzzah, to this day. David was afraid of the Lord that day; he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come into my care?” So David was unwilling to take the ark of the Lord into his care in the city of David; instead David took it to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. The ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months; and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household.
It was told King David, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing; and when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. David danced before the Lord with all his might; David was girded with a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart. They brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt offerings and offerings of well-being before the Lord. When David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the offerings of well-being, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts, and distributed food among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, to each a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people went back to their homes.
David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants’ maids, as any vulgar fellow might shamelessly uncover himself!” David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me in place of your father and all his household, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord, that I have danced before the Lord. I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in my own eyes; but by the maids of whom you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor.” And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.