We're so happy you're joining us today!
I would like to wish everyone a Happy Grandparents Day. I am blessed to be a grandparent. It is also a responsibility to help raise your grandchildren in a Christian environment. It does take a village to raise a child.
When we meet together in person, we share our joys and concerns with each other before we focus on our Sunday school lesson. Think about your needs and concerns right now, and if you like, you can share them in the comments. When you are ready, use this morning prayer.
Oh God, enlighten my mind with truth;
Inflame my heart with love;
inspire my will with courage
enrich my life with service.
Pardon what I have been;
Sanctify what I am;
order what I shall be
and thine shall be the glory
and mind the eternal salvation
through Jesus Christ my Lord.
This week's lesson is on 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 14-19.
Today’s lesson focuses on the relocation of the ark of the covenant to David’s new capital city Jerusalem. The ark contained the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s staff and manna from Israel’s wilderness wanderings. These were reminders of deliverance from Egypt and provision on the way to the promised land.
The ark was housed in the innermost part of the tabernacle, “the Most Holy Place”. Only the high priest was ever allowed to enter and only once a year. The ark was so holy that those responsible for its upkeep and transportation were not allowed to touch it, lest they die.
David gathered 30,000 able men to get the ark which was eight miles west of Jerusalem. They put the ark on a new cart. If David would have consulted with the Levites, who God appointed to care for the ark, he would have learned that the ark must be carried by two long wooden poles through rings affixed to the ark. This method both keep the ark a safe distance from human contact and kept the top heavy ark stable.
King David and the Israelites were celebrating in grand style with wood, string and percussion instruments when tragedy hit. The cart tipped, the ark slid and Uzzah lost his life trying to stabilize it. David left the ark in the house of Obed-Edom, where it remained until David tried again. When David sent for the ark a second time, he had greater respect for God’s holy presence. God must be honored and his instructions obeyed. Having learned his lesson, David picked up his celebration where it left off.
King David wore a linen ephod and was dancing before the Lord with all his might. All of Israel celebrated with David with shouts and the sound of trumpets. They bought the ark of the Lord and set it inside the tent that David had pitched for it and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the Lord. Burnt offerings were prescribed for special occasions and fellowship offerings could express thanks or obligation to God.
Both sacrifices indicated the joy of the occasion and the felt need to praise God for bringing it about. David then blessed the people in the name of the Lord Almighty. He then gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowds of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes. A full meal for the assembled celebrants was a massive and extravagant undertaking.
We Christians get excited when we see God at work in our midst. We are tempted to respond in ways that come naturally to us; we are inclined to do what our culture has conditioned us to do when things are going our way.
Yet David learned that not any and all responses are appropriate to our holy God. In every believer’s life, the end and the means are all tangled together. How a thing is accomplished matters to the Lord.
We must consult God’s Word to learn the right means to the ends we seek as we honor the Lord. We must not rush to do what seems right in our own eyes, even when we trying to do right by God. Let us not assume we know God’s will until we have tested it against his Word.
Holy God, teach us to love you like David did when he was at his best. May our excitement take no heed to reactions around us as we seek only to glorify you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
This week's benediction is from the New International Version.
Next week's lesson is on Mark 10:46-52.
We are a small, rural Presbyterian church in southwestern Pennsylvania.