May 3, 1 Chronicles 13-16

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13 David consulted with all his leaders, the commanders of hundreds and of thousands. Then he said to the whole assembly of Israel, “If it seems good to you, and if this is from the Lord our God, let’s spread out and send the message to the rest of our relatives in all the districts of Israel, including the priests and Levites in their cities with pasturelands, that they should gather together with us. Then let’s bring back the ark of our God, for we did not inquire of him[a] in Saul’s days.” Since the proposal seemed right to all the people, the whole assembly agreed to do it.

So David assembled all Israel, from the Shihor of Egypt to the entrance of Hamath,[b] to bring the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim. David and all Israel went to Baalah (that is, Kiriath-jearim that belongs to Judah) to take from there the ark of God, which bears the name of the Lord who is enthroned between the cherubim. At Abinadab’s house they set the ark of God on a new cart. Uzzah and Ahio[c] were guiding the cart.

David and all Israel were dancing with all their might before God with songs and with lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals, and trumpets. When they came to Chidon’s threshing floor, Uzzah reached out to hold the ark because the oxen had stumbled. 10 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him dead because he had reached out to the ark. So he died there in the presence of God.

11 David was angry because of the Lord’s outburst against Uzzah, so he named that place Outburst Against Uzzah,[d] as it is still named today. 12 David feared God that day and said, “How can I ever bring the ark of God to me?” 13 So David did not bring the ark of God home[e] to the city of David; instead, he diverted it to the house of Obed-edom of Gath. 14 The ark of God remained with Obed-edom’s family in his house for three months, and the Lord blessed his family and all that he had.

God’s Blessing on David

14 King Hiram of Tyre sent envoys to David, along with cedar logs, stonemasons, and carpenters to build a palace for him. Then David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and that his kingdom had been exalted for the sake of his people Israel.

David took more wives in Jerusalem, and he became the father of more sons and daughters. These are the names of the children born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Elpelet, Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Beeliada, and Eliphelet.

When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they all went in search of David; when David heard of this, he went out to face them. Now the Philistines had come and raided in Rephaim Valley, 10 so David inquired of God, “Should I attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?”

The Lord replied, “Attack, and I will hand them over to you.”

11 So the Israelites went up to Baal-perazim, and David defeated the Philistines there. Then David said, “Like a bursting flood, God has used me to burst out against my enemies.” Therefore, they named that place The Lord Bursts Out.[f] 12 The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David ordered that they be burned in the fire.

13 Once again the Philistines raided in the valley. 14 So David again inquired of God, and God answered him, “Do not pursue them directly. Circle around them and attack them opposite the balsam trees. 15 When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then go out to battle, for God will have gone out ahead of you to strike down the army of the Philistines.” 16 So David did as God commanded him, and they struck down the Philistine army from Gibeon to Gezer. 17 Then David’s fame spread throughout the lands, and the Lord caused all the nations to be terrified of him.

The Ark Comes to Jerusalem

15 David built houses for himself in the city of David, and he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. Then David said, “No one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, because the Lord has chosen them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister before him forever.”

David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem to bring the ark of the Lord to the place he had prepared for it. Then he gathered together the descendants of Aaron and the Levites:

From the Kohathites, Uriel the leader and 120 of his relatives; from the Merarites, Asaiah the leader and 220 of his relatives; from the Gershomites,[g] Joel the leader and 130 of his relatives; from the Elizaphanites, Shemaiah the leader and 200 of his relatives; from the Hebronites, Eliel the leader and 80 of his relatives; 10 from the Uzzielites, Amminadab the leader and 112 of his relatives.

11 David summoned the priests Zadok and Abiathar and the Levites Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab. 12 He said to them, “You are the heads of the Levite families. You and your relatives must consecrate yourselves so that you may bring the ark of the Lord God of Israel to the place I have prepared for it. 13 For the Lord our God burst out in anger against us because you Levites were not with us the first time, for we didn’t inquire of him about the proper procedures.” 14 So the priests and the Levites consecrated themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel. 15 Then the Levites carried the ark of God the way Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord: on their shoulders with the poles.

16 Then David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their relatives as singers and to have them raise their voices with joy accompanied by musical instruments—harps, lyres, and cymbals. 17 So the Levites appointed Heman son of Joel; from his relatives, Asaph son of Berechiah; and from their relatives the Merarites, Ethan son of Kushaiah. 18 With them were their relatives second in rank: Zechariah, Jaaziel,[h] Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, and the gatekeepers Obed-edom and Jeiel. 19 The singers Heman, Asaph, and Ethan were to sound the bronze cymbals; 20 Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah, and Benaiah were to play harps according to Alamoth[i] 21 and Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-edom, Jeiel, and Azaziah were to lead the music with lyres according to the Sheminith22 Chenaniah, the leader of the Levites in music, was to direct the music because he was skillful. 23 Berechiah and Elkanah were to be gatekeepers for the ark. 24 The priests, Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah, and Eliezer, were to blow trumpets before the ark of God. Obed-edom and Jehiah were also to be gatekeepers for the ark.

25 David, the elders of Israel, and the commanders of thousands went with rejoicing to bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the house of Obed-edom. 26 Because God helped the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord, with God’s help, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams.

27 Now David was dressed in a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, as well as the singers and Chenaniah, the music leader of the singers. David also wore a linen ephod. 28 So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouts, the sound of the ram’s horn, trumpets, and cymbals, and the playing of harps and lyres. 29 As the ark of the covenant of the Lord was entering the city of David, Saul’s daughter Michal looked down from the window and saw King David leaping[j] and dancing, and she despised him in her heart.

16 They brought the ark of God and placed it inside the tent David had pitched for it. Then they offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings in God’s presence. When David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord. Then he distributed to each and every Israelite, both men and women, a loaf of bread, a date cake, and a raisin cake.

David appointed some of the Levites to be ministers before the ark of the Lord, to celebrate the Lord God of Israel, and to give thanks and praise to him. Asaph was the chief and Zechariah was second to him. Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel played the harps and lyres, while Asaph sounded the cymbals and the priests Benaiah and Jahaziel blew the trumpets regularly before the ark of the covenant of God.

David’s Psalm of Thanksgiving

On that day David decreed for the first time that thanks be given to the Lord by Asaph and his relatives:

Give thanks to the Lord; call on his name;
proclaim his deeds among the peoples.
Sing to him; sing praise to him;
tell about all his wondrous works!
10 Boast in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
11 Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.
12 Remember the wondrous works he has done,
his wonders, and the judgments he has pronounced,[k]
13 you offspring of Israel his servant,
Jacob’s descendants—his chosen ones.

14 He is the Lord our God;
his judgments govern the whole earth.
15 Remember his covenant forever—
the promise he ordained for a thousand generations,
16 the covenant he made with Abraham,
swore[l] to Isaac,
17 and confirmed to Jacob as a decree,
and to Israel as a permanent covenant:
18 “I will give the land of Canaan to you
as your inherited portion.”

19 When they[m] were few in number,
very few indeed, and resident aliens in Canaan
20 wandering from nation to nation
and from one kingdom to another,
21 he allowed no one to oppress them;
he rebuked kings on their behalf:
22 “Do not touch my anointed ones
or harm my prophets.”

23 Let the whole earth sing to the Lord.
Proclaim his salvation from day to day.
24 Declare his glory among the nations,
his wondrous works among all peoples.

25 For the Lord is great and highly praised;
he is feared above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
27 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy are in his place.
28 Ascribe to the Lord, families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
29 Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;
bring an offering and come before him.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness;
30 let the whole earth tremble before him.
The world is firmly established;
it cannot be shaken.
31 Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice,
and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
32 Let the sea and all that fills it resound;
let the fields and everything in them exult.
33 Then the trees of the forest will shout for joy before the Lord,
for he is coming to judge the earth.

34 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his faithful love endures forever.
35 And say, “Save us, God of our salvation;
gather us and rescue us from the nations
so that we may give thanks to your holy name
and rejoice in your praise.
36 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel
from everlasting to everlasting.”

Then all the people said, “Amen” and “Praise the Lord.”

37 So David left Asaph and his relatives there before the ark of the Lord’s covenant to minister regularly before the ark according to the daily requirements. 38 He assigned Obed-edom and his[n] sixty-eight relatives. Obed-edom son of Jeduthun and Hosah were to be gatekeepers. 39 David left the priest Zadok and his fellow priests before the tabernacle of the Lord at the high place in Gibeon 40 to offer burnt offerings regularly, morning and evening, to the Lord on the altar of burnt offerings and to do everything that was written in the law of the Lord, which he had commanded Israel to keep. 41 With them were Heman, Jeduthun, and the rest who were chosen and designated by name to give thanks to the Lord—for his faithful love endures forever. 42 Heman and Jeduthun had with them trumpets and cymbals to play and musical instruments of God. Jeduthun’s sons were at the city gate.

43 Then all the people went home, and David returned home to bless his household.

David knows the Ark of the Covenant, the place where God’s presence dwelt, should be in Jerusalem. As they were moving it, the Ark began to fall and Uzzah reached out and grabbed it. Because the Israelites were instructed to not touch the ark, Uzzah was killed immediately.

David was angry at God because of Uzzah’s death and then diverted the ark. But what does this tell you about obedience to God? God demands complete obedience. We may look at this story and incorrectly believe Uzzah’s death was not right. We could incorrectly believe God should not have killed Uzzah. But God is God. God does as he pleases and when he gives a command you and I would do ourselves well to follow the command.

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