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2 Samuel 5-6: The King on His Throne Print E-mail
2 Samuel
Sunday, 23 July 2017

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Some events take forever to come to pass. We wait on them, we anticipate them, and yet, they still donít happen. If they werenít so important, we might be tempted to just give up. Marriage felt like that for me. The adoption of our second son was similar. I believed both events would eventually come to pass, but it seem like they took forever.

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The same is true for the crowning of David as king of Israel. He was told by Samuel as a young man/boy that he would be the next king over Godís people. But it took years before that would actually happen. Yet, through all the running and all the waiting and all the time that passed, God never forgot His promise to the young shepherd from Bethlehem. And finally the day came for him to be crowned king. Look at 5:1-5. The people give three reasons for making David king, all of which point to Godís work in Davidís life. First, he is their kinsman, their brother. Second, he was victorious in battle even while Saul was king. And third, the Lord had made him a promise: ĎYou shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.í It was Godís plan to make David king and he brought that about in His way and in His timing. David is finally king over Israel. And God will bless David as the king after His own heart. We see in these two chapters some pictures of Davidís reign as king and Godís blessing on his life. What do we see in particular?

Godís place (5:6-16)

David reigned over Judah in the city of Hebron. But as king over all of Israel, he needed a city that was more centrally located. So God gave him Jerusalem. Look at verses 6-7. The people of Israel had been unable to drive out the Jebusites from Jerusalem, perhaps due to the difficult terrain around the city. But David and his men were able to capture it by sneaking through the water shaft (I actually got to walk through some of that tunnel when I visited Jerusalem). In this way, David made Jerusalem his home.

Not only that, but a foreign ruler was willing to help David build a house in Jerusalem. Look at verses 11-12. This perhaps happened later in Davidís life, but the author mentions it here to show how David was provided for in Jerusalem, even from pagan leaders. It was indeed the Lord who had established David as the king over Israel.

The author goes on and notes the sons that were born to David in Jerusalem. In order to explain those, he also mentions the fact that David took more concubines and more wives from Jerusalem. Although these stories at the beginning of Davidís reign are for the most part positive, we do see in this some foreshadowing of Davidís future troubles, which primarily stem from his struggles as a husband and father. But these verses show us that Godís prince was dwelling in Godís place.

Godís peace (5:17-25)

Another part of being Israelís king is dealing with Israelís enemies, you know, the ones that David and his men used to live among. Apparently the Philistines were alright with David being king over just one tribe. But when they hear that he is king over all of Israel, they are ready for war. Before David makes a move against them, he asks the Lord what do do. Look at verses 19-20. Just as God gave David victory in battle during the days of Saul, so he does here. David defeats the Philistines through the Lordís help. But the Philistines are not done. They make ready to attack David again. And once again David seeks wisdom from the Lord. Look at verses 23-25. This time the Lordís word to David is different. Instead of going up to fight, they are to go around behind them so that they can cut off their retreat. The Lord tells David to wait for the sound of marching which will indicate that the Lord has gone out before you. David obeyed and the Lord gave him victory over the enemies of Israel. Unlike in the final years of Saul, we see God answering the king of Israel and fighting on his behalf. The man after Godís own heart knows that the battle belongs to the Lord. He is Godís prince living in Godís place experiencing Godís peace.

Godís presence (6:1-23)

Another blessing is found in chapter 6, and it is the greatest of blessings. Although Godís place and Godís peace are wonderful blessings for David, the greatest blessing is Godís presence, which is symbolized by the ark of the covenant. The last time we saw the ark, the Philistines were giving it back to Israel because of all of the trouble it had caused in their cities (see 1 Samuel 4-6). It ends up in the home of Abinadab and remains there for many years. But David decides to bring the ark to Godís place. He knows that Godís presence dwells with the ark in a particular way, so he wants it to reside in Jerusalem. But first he has to get it there. So he goes down with many men to transport the ark back to the city of David. Unfortunately, he did not read the instructions about how the ark was to be carried. It was to be carried on the shoulders with poles lest someone touch it and die (see Numbers 4:15, 7:9). Knowing this, verse 3 is a bit of foreshadowing. Look at that with me. They put the ark on a cart in disobedience to the Lord.

The tragedy strikes in verses 5-9. Look at those with me. Since the ark was on a cart, when the oxen stumbled it was going to hit the ground, so Uzzah reached out his hand to catch it. But he had to know that the Lord had strictly forbidden anyone to touch it. Because of his actions, God struck him down because of his error. It was a costly mistake for Uzzah. And it is a hard passage for us to understand. How could God strike a man down for simply trying to steady the ark? Again, we must see that what they were doing (carrying the ark on a cart) was already in violation of Godís law, which had warned them not to touch the ark. Uzzah was not innocent in his error. Also, we have to tremble at the holiness of God. We must not lose sight of Godís righteous character in all of this. His love and His mercy and His grace are incredible, all the more so in light of His holiness, justice, and wrath. We must remember who He is in all of His glory. One of my commentators notes: ďWe forget that there is heat in his holiness. No, we do not need to be terrified, but being scared wouldnít hurt.Ē1 Part of our struggle with this passage is that we have downplayed Godís holiness. We should not make that error.

But trembling is not the only response that we see to the ark in this passage. After the death of Uzzah, David has the ark placed in another location. Look at what happens in verses 12-15. The Lord blessed the home of Obed-edom, so David decided to try again to bring the ark to Jerusalem. Only this time he was going to obey the Lordís commands and have it carried. After just six steps, they offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving. And the text says that David danced before the Lord with all his might. He brought the ark to Jerusalem with rejoicing. So which is it? How should we respond to Godís presence, with trembling or rejoicing, with bowing or with dancing? The answer is both! God is a holy God and we dare not make light of that. Yet, He is a gracious, loving, and merciful God as well. He is worthy of both trembling and rejoicing, as the Psalmist would write: Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling (Psalm 2:11). Our worship of God should be characterized by such a response. 2

But not everybody is joining in the celebration. When the ark makes it back to Jerusalem, David dances it all the way into the tent he has set up for it and continues to celebrate by offering sacrifices and distributing food to everyone. But Michal, Saulís daughter and Davidís wife, despises David for his behavior. She confronts him in verse 20. Look at that with me. She doesnít think dancing before the ark is appropriate king of Israel behavior. She thinks the king should be more dignified than that. But David will have none of that. Look at verses 21-23. David tells Michal that he was not dancing before the servants but before the Lord. He may be despised in her eyes but he will be held in honor by them. And as far as dignity is concerned, David will not let pride and dignity keep him from praising God. The Lord has made him king. He has given him his place and his peace. Now with the ark being brought to Jerusalem, God has given David His special presence. For all of that, David will shout and dance and sing. He will praise God with all of his heart and not let dignity stand in his way. There is a lesson for us and our worship as well. Decency and order has their place, but they should never make our worship cold. Instead, we should celebrate Him with all of our might every time we come together.

The Lord has kept His promise to make David the king of Israel. As king, David is blessed with Godís place, Godís peace, and Godís presence. In all of this, David points us to the greater King of Israel, namely Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus is Godís Anointed King over all His people. Through His death and resurrection, He has captured a people for God that will reign with Him forever. Even now, we enjoy His place every week as we gather with other believers to celebrate all that He has done. And one day He will gather us to His place in glory. And He has given us peace by defeating all of our enemies, namely sin, Satan, and death. His victorious resurrection proves that their power over us has been broken. We now have peace with God through faith in Him. One day even death itself will be destroyed forever by King Jesus. And through Jesus, we can enjoy the presence of God through the indwelling of the Spirit. We can enjoy His presence throughout our lives until He takes us home where we can dwell in His presence forever. David was given great blessings as the king of Israel. We can have even greater blessings through faith in Jesus. He is the King that we need, the King that we long for, and the King who will reign forever. Amen.

1 Dale Ralph Davis, 2 Samuel: Out of Every Adversity FOTB (Great Britain: Christian Focus, 2016), p. 77.
2 Ibid., p. 77-78.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Thursday, 24 August 2017 )

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