Flawed Instruments and God’s Presence

Such a flawed instrument of your love and grace, Lord…….. like David, in 2 Samuel 6.
There are so many things here to observe about David that are unbecoming….  After he defeated the Philistines, he went marching off “as to war” to regain God’s Ark in Judah but God certainly didn’t need David’s 30,000 elite soldiers.  God was capable of bringing his ark out of any place he chose, any time he chose, by any one he chose….as observed in 1 Samuel. Recall that those among Israel’s enemies who captured the Ark were stricken with sores and illness , leading the Philistines to return it to Israel on their own. And even after it was returned the Ark was viewed with fear and trembling because of those who died in its presence.
When David was crowned king and was dwelling in Jerusalem, he went to get it and to bring the Ark to Jerusalem, they were almost back when it rocked over a stone and Uzzah put his hand on it and died. That angered and frightened David, causing him to ditch it elsewhere for 3 months. And when the people there flourished, he returned to retrieve it.
Some may have questioned his motive and his conduct, but God apparently knew his heart.  The Ark of God, the Presence of the Lord, is not a talisman of good fortune to covet for oneself.  It is a Holy Presence.  David’s jubilant entry with the Ark, wearing the clothing of a priest and dancing before the Lord appeared unseemly for a king to his wife who chastised him.  But David knew his own heart truly was joyful at the Presence of the Lord being manifest with him again.  He desired only the Lord’s Presence.   But even David, in the midst of success and luxury, would later take the Presence of the Lord for granted and would indulge his lust and bring tragedy and dishonor on himself and God’s people and by his failure to seek God in all things he would lose the privilege of building the Temple of the Lord, and his sons would set their hands against him.
The Presence of the Lord is not to be trifled with nor neglected nor treated with disrespect by anyone, even by those whom the Lord loves and who are called his friend.  He expects consultation and obedience as he abides among his people.
So it was in the Old Testament.  God’s Holy Presence came and went.   What do we know about His Holy Presence today as heirs to the New Covenant in Christ?   Having received the mantle of righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ, we have been “reckoned as righteous before God”. We are justified.  And furthermore, we have received his Holy Spirit as a “seal” upon our righteousness and secure salvation until the time when we die or when Christ returns and all evil is banished from the earth.  In the meantime his Holy Spirit will set our feet on the right path, either by our spirit of cooperation in obedience in following his guidance, or by removing God’s protective hand over us, but not his steadfast Love and Presence.  When we are disobedient we experience the consequences of our choices and the discipline that comes with them. If the Nudge of the Spirit fails to keep us inside the boundaries set by God, then we will know the consequences of stepping out of bounds, but we won’t be ejected from the “game” of life or even kept from resuming our position on the field.  We just may have missed our opportunity to carry the ball and score the win!  Michal remained childless for having chastised David. We already heard the judgment on David for his neglect of duty and disobedience. God may not seem “fair”, but he judges the heart alone and keeps each of us from winning by having judged others unjustly while excusing ourselves.
Moving the Ark to Jerusalem
2 Samuel 6
Then David again gathered all the elite troops in Israel, 30,000 in all. He led them to Baalah of Judah to  bring back the Ark of God, which bears the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, who is enthroned between the cherubim. They placed the Ark of God on a new cart and brought it from Abinadab’s house, which was on a hill. Uzzah and Ahio, Abinadab’s sons, were guiding the cart that carried the Ark of God. Ahio walked in front of the Ark. David and all the people of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, singing songs and playing all kinds of musical instruments—lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets, and cymbals.
But when they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand and steadied the Ark of God. Then the Lord’s anger was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him dead because of this. So Uzzah died right there beside the Ark of God.
David was angry because the Lord’s anger had burst out against Uzzah. He named that place Perez-uzzah (which means “to burst out against Uzzah”), as it is still called today.
David was now afraid of the Lord, and he asked, “How can I ever bring the Ark of the Lord back into my care?” So David decided not to move the Ark of the Lord into the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-edom of Gath. The Ark of the Lord remained there in Obed-edom’s house for three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and his entire household.
Then King David was told, “The Lord has blessed Obed-edom’s household and everything he has because of the Ark of God.” So David went there and brought the Ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the City of David with a great celebration. After the men who were carrying the Ark of the Lord had gone six steps, David sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. And David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly garment.So David and all the people of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and the blowing of rams’ horns.
Michal’s Contempt for David
But as the Ark of the Lord entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him.
They brought the Ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the special tent David had prepared for it. And David sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord. When he had finished his sacrifices, David blessed the people in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Then he gave to every Israelite man and woman in the crowd a loaf of bread, a cake of dates,and a cake of raisins. Then all the people returned to their homes.
When David returned home to bless his own family, Michal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet him. She said in disgust, “How distinguished the king of Israel looked today, shamelessly exposing himself to the servant girls like any vulgar person might do!”

David retorted to Michal, “I was dancing before the Lord, who chose me above your father and all his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord, so I celebrate before the Lord. Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes!  ( and he was later) But those servant girls you mentioned will indeed think I am distinguished!” So Michal, the daughter of Saul, remained childless throughout her entire life.