Good afternoon! Before I get into the lesson today, let me again give you a few facts about those previous passages. David has learned the news that Saul has died and that his good friend, Jonathan, has died. And the scripture says that he mourned, wept and fasted, in his grief. And then, you learn that David faced all sorts of doubts. “Does God want me to stay here? Does God want me to be king?” And God tells him, “You go to Judea and you establish yourself in Hebron! David obeys God and goes to Hebron. There, the people make him King of Judea. Now he is not King over all Israel. He is King of one tribe, only, for seven and a half years. And throughout all this period of time, David maintains his integrity, in his heart. And God keeps blessing David; and so, David grows more and more in His power. During that time, the other tribes of Israel begin to weaken. They are following a son of Saul, who still lives. But, finally, that son dies and David is made the only King, at the age of 32.
Now he has been waiting for this, for a long time. It has been a long time since the prophet, Samuel, said to David, “You will, one day, be King!” But now, he is King. And his first conquest is the city of Jerusalem. He establishes his quarters, there, and, now, he also gets back his first wife, Mical, the daughter of Saul. But this afternoon, I want to look at Chapter 6 to see the first thing he decided to do to establish his quarters. You find, in Chapter 6, that David wants to take the Ark of the Covenant and bring it to Jerusalem. Now, he’s got all those good intentions; he’s got all those good feelings. He wants the Ark of the Covenant, which is in Abinadab’s house, in Baalah. You may be able to remember, this afternoon, why the Ark is there! In the early parts of I Samuel, the Israelites had gone out in “battle against the Philistines” and the Philistines defeated them. And so, they brought the Ark of the Covenant, with Eli’s wicked son, from Silo, to turn things around. But the Israelites were still defeated! God chose not to bless them because of their sins, although He was present. And now, 30,000 Israelite soldiers were destroyed and the Philistines had the Ark of the Covenant. They took it home with them and put it in the temple of their god and then all kinds of trouble happened. Finally, the Philistines said, “We don’t want the Ark of the Covenant.” They took a brand new cart and loaded the Ark of the Covenant on it. Then they let the cows that pulled the cart, go free. Now, the Ark is back in Israel and is taken to Abinadab’s house, on a hill, to remain for a few decades. And one of the first things that David wants to do is get the Ark and bring it to Jerusalem. So he takes 30,000 people and they go ask for the Ark. Abinadeb says, “Sure, you can have the Ark.” In fact, he is so agreeable that he sends his two sons to help transport the Ark! And we read in verses 3-5, “...” But then, suddenly, like the shot of a penny, everything stops. They see the Ark begin to slide, getting ready to fall. And Uzzah reaches up to steady it. And we read in verse 7, “...”. Now David can hardly believe it! Uzzah has fallen dead! Uzzah had only good intentions; but now he is dead. David flashes with anger. I think David is afraid. David, now, doesn’t want to have anything to do with the Ark of the Covenant. In verses 3-10, it says, “….”. So he leaves the Ark there for three months. But during the time it is in the house of Obed-Edom, the house prospers. The man and his family are blessed because God is present!
Now, if you read from here on, in II Samuel 6, you will miss a lot of the story. You have only a few details. But fortunately, we find the same account in I Chronicles, Chapter 15. There, you capture the depth of the story. For three months, David is struggling. For three months, he wonders, “Why has all this happened? Why was Uzzah destroyed, like this?” And David begins to search, apparently, in the scriptures. He is looking for the answer. And finally, in I Chron. 15, we read, in verse 13, he has found the answer. He tells them, “…” He has found that, on the side of the Ark, there are golden rings. And God had said, a long time ago, “you will have the priests insert poles in the rings and those priests will carry those poles on their shoulders. And the priests will move the Ark”. And the King realizes he had so much trouble because, at first, he didn’t do it the way God said to do it. So, he says, “Now, let’s go back and get that Ark and this time, let’s do it right!” So they return, with priests. The priests consecrate themselves and then, they take poles and lift up the Ark. Then, they all march towards the city of Jerusalem! And when they arrive, the streets are crowded. Everyone wants to see the Ark of the Covenant. Most of those people had never seen it before. And, now, it’s a big celebration. David begins to give gifts to everyone: A loaf of bread, a cake of raisons, and a cake of figs. Everyone receives things from him, at that celebration, and everyone is excited. They are yelling, singing, dancing and rejoicing, in the streets. And we, also, read that David does a peculiar thing. The scripture says that he removed his garments and began to celebrate with the slave girls, the common people. Now you learn that from a comment of his wife, in II Samuel 6: 20. Some Bibles translate that David was naked; but I don’t think David was naked! I think, that if you study, you see he has taken off his outer, kingly robe. And he has gone down to celebrate, like a common Jew. And he is so excited; he can hardly wait to get to his own house. He wants to go bless his own home. And you can almost feel his joy when he opens his front door and gets ready to give the good news, his blessing! Have you ever had some good news – something you really wanted to tell? And then, you were about to tell and somebody comes along and throws cold water on you? It hurts. And David is about to give his good news and his wife, Mical, the daughter of Saul, looks at him and starts criticizing him! Verse 20 says, “...”. And now, David’s enthusiasm is stopped! David can hardly believe his ears! He looks at his wife and says, in verses 21-22, “…” And now the chapter closes and we learn, that because of this, Mical started to hate David and they no longer lived as husband and wife.
This is a story that takes place, just as soon as David becomes King over the nation of Israel. I think there are some valuable lessons for all of us to learn, here, today.
I. Before you do a job for God, make sure you ask how to do it.
The first lesson is this. Before you begin to do a job for God, and before you begin to lead others to do something for God, make sure you find how God wants the job to be done.
One of the problems we have, in the religious world, today, and that we have, even in the Lord’s Church, is that we have people who operate, too much, on their feelings. People, now, operate, too much, on what we call “good intentions”! And we have those unwritten laws, in the Church, that say, “If it feels OK and if it is done with the right spirit, it will all be OK, before God!” It, simply, isn’t true. Folks, that is unbiblical. I’d like to ask you this question, this afternoon: Who killed Uzzah? Someone says, “Well, God killed Uzzah! God struck him dead!” Yes, I guess that’s right, in a sense! But Uzzah also killed himself. He had been around the Ark of the Covenant for a long time. Now, someone else will say, “It had been in his father’s house for more than a decade. He knew better than to touch the Ark of the Covenant. And yet, he did! So Uzzah killed himself.” Yes, I guess, in a sense, that’s right, too. But you know who really killed Uzzah? It was David. David was the one at fault because David was the leader. He was the King. He had said, “Let’s get the Ark.” He had gone and put it on a cart. He had moved it, just like the Philistines. But, because of that, Uzzah died. David hadn’t done his homework. But then, he started to do what he should have done, all along. He began to say, “Were we wrong?” Then he began to search and found what God says, through Moses, in I Chron. 15: 15. And he began to say, “the reason why it happened was because we didn’t do it right! It was our fault!”
Now you may wonder what that means for us. Well, I’ll tell you what it means. We, continually, have preachers, who have some good intentions, and they do things, that seem right and feel good. They chart out new frontiers and they don’t stop to find out what God says about it. And we have elders, who have brilliant ideas; at least, it seems this way. And they march off, leading the congregation in many areas without stopping, first, and asking how God wants it done.
Then we have some fathers and mothers, who lead their children. And those parents encourage their kids on different paths and they lead them to destruction because they don’t stop and ask how God wants it done.
So, I will say, this afternoon, before you begin to lead people for God, and even before you, personally, do something for God, find out, from scripture, how God wants it done!
II. Handle your mistakes in the right way.
Second lesson. It has to do with how you handle mistakes. We all make our mistakes, some are big and some are small. The small ones seem to be easily overcome. The large ones are harder to get over. And I’ve seen people handle mistakes in a lot of different ways. I’ve seen people make giant mistakes in life and refuse to admit they ever made a mistake. Would it surprise you if I told you I have been guilty of that? There have been times, in my house, where I made mistakes and my wife knew I had made a mistake, my brother knew I had made a mistake and my parents recognized I had made a mistake. And I went on, as if I hadn’t made any mistake, at all. I pretended it never had happened! And folks, I’ve seen church leaders make drastic mistakes and then march on as if nothing had ever happened. And I’ve seen business leaders make tragic mistakes and march on as if nothing had ever happened.
Now, most of you know a little about baseball. I suspect some of you know about Pete Rose because, in the past, he was a young man, who would break records, left and right. In early baseball, he made a name for himself. He became a champion because of the way he played. But then, he was accused of gambling, illegally. And the evidence started to pour in. But, still, he stood, before the American people, saying, “No, I don’t have a problem!” Then, finally, he was forced by people in law enforcement to admit, “Yes, I have a problem!” And how many times do I find church leaders, preachers and individuals around me making giant mistakes in life and instead of admitting it they shuffle it under the carpet. It won’t work! It does not work!
But, then, I’ve seen people make giant mistakes in life and they are so overwhelmed with their mistakes that they want to pull back, leave and quit. I’ve seen church leaders make mistakes and then say, “I am so humiliated. I’ve done so wrong. I’ve got to quit. I’ve seen husbands and wives and single people come up front and say, “I’ve made mistakes and I don’t think I can continue.” But, that’s not the way to handle mistakes. Do you realize, this afternoon, that David could have done either of those! It would have been so easy for David to let the Ark of the Covenant stay in the house of Obed- Edom and say, “Well, I am angry with God. I don’t like what has happened and I quit.” But I’ve been telling you all along that David has an interesting heart. And the thing, that makes it so special, is that it’s a heart full of integrity. And so, when David finds out about his mistakes, he goes out and says, “It is my fault! We didn’t do it right.” And he goes back and tries to do it again, the best he can. That’s the best way to handle mistakes, folks! When you make one, recognize it, confirm it and go and try to make it right, the best you can!
III. Never be so proud that you can’t associate with people.
The third lesson is probably, not quite, as important as the first two lessons. And yet, it is important for public relations!
David was having a big celebration and pulled off his royal robe and went down the street with the common people. Do you find that interesting, this afternoon? Every person, here, is busy or has been busy finding values on their way to success. Some people climb the ladder of education. And they climb and climb and climb until, one day, as they are way up there on the ladder, they look around and find most of the people are somewhere beneath them, in terms of education. Or, I’ve seen a few people, who climb the ladder of success, in the area of money. And they climb, and climb and climb until, one day, they look at where they are and all of those other people are below them, somewhere. And some people work at becoming famous. And they work and work and they climb higher and higher until they look around and see they have done better than most others. And to some extent, we all climb our ladders. The problem is that some of us don’t know how to get off our ladders and live with the people who are around us. We stay up on our ladders and we try to associate with the people who are so far in the other direction. But we do it with contempt and a sense of superiority. But it never, never works. And what I have to learn and what every Christian has to learn is that there is a time in life, when we need to take off our royal robe and get down with the people who are not on our ladders. There is a time when we need to be able to associate with everyone. You know, I admire people who can do that! I have seen some men through the years, who have remained unchanged by their money, their home and their education. But I tell you, I have seen few of them. And the few I have seen, I admire. And David looked at his wife and said, “If you think I have become undistinguished, if you think I have humiliated myself, today, you just wait because you will see, even the slave will love me for this. Everyone will love this king. And they did love him because David knew how to get along with people! May it be true with us too!
So folks, there are here four lessons we have learned this afternoon.
- When we want to do things for God, we need to go back to the Word and learn how God wants us to do them.
- We need to recognize our mistakes, then learn from them, turn around and try to do the right thing to correct them!
- We need to learn to associate with all people, from all walks of life, because they are all precious, in the eyes of God
Now, let me ask, does any of this apply to you, this afternoon? Have you made a big mistake and now are you hiding behind a wall? If so, you need to repent and perhaps come forth and ask for some help. Perhaps, this afternoon, you want to serve God, but you are not sure how so you want to study the Word! We can help you with this. Whatever you need, why don’t you come forth and let us know, while we stand and sin