Sermon given at LH & Pytchley David dances before Lord 26.6.16
Readings: OT/Epistle 2 Samuel 6: 5-15
Gospel Luke 9: 51-62
In Ch 5 David considers his political responsibilities – he organises his army to fight the Philistines – but his first thought is to ‘enquire of the Lord’. After that he considers his religious responsibilities and decides to bring the Ark of God into Jerusalem. But this time he doesn’t ‘enquire of the Lord’ before taking action. This omission may be significant.
The decision to bring Ark to Jerusalem may have seemed so obvious to David that it led to him thinking that God must obviously want this too. But in fact David was probably subconsciously seeking to use the ark for his own political ends – easier to convince people that God is behind his kingship!
The theme of this bible story is the question of who is actually in charge! Whose is the ultimate power and kingship?
Uzzah drops dead after touching the ark – either because he was giving the impression that God needed protecting by his people rather than the other way round OR because touching the ark infringed God’s holiness. David may have been using modern technology (a new cart) rather than obeying God’s instructions (carry the ark) – God’s instructions shouldn’t be lightly dismissed!
This story makes us take God’s holiness seriously – it makes us recognise that God’s knowledge and wisdom is infinitely superior to ours so we need to not to act on our own preferences rather than God’s will. Just because we think something’s right doesn’t mean it always is the right thing to do!! We need to consult God in all things!
Are we right to be angry when God seems not to appreciate our best efforts?
David first angry, then afraid. His first thought was probably “Why was God spoiling their celebrations?”!! But his second thought was to be honest enough to admit we can’t manipulate God, and his own motives were mixed (perhaps he’d been enjoying his own precedence and the trappings of kingship more than seeking to serve God!) So David learns that God’s holiness was not to be compromised even with good motives. God is not to be manipulated, what counts is God’s power and kingship, not David’s
You can imagine that following Uzzah’s death people may well have felt that the Ark might be a curse or should not have been moved – but that idea is contradicted by it being a blessing to Obed-Edom. Having reflected on that, and no doubt having prayed humbly and thoroughly consulted the Lord, David comes to a point when he believes that now IS the right time to bring the Ark to Jerusalem
“David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly garment”
The 2nd procession was even more glorious than the first – it ensures that EVERYONE realises that it’s God who is in control and being worshipped. National celebrations like this are good for a country. The Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations were enjoyed by many people – they lifted our spirits and helped bind us together as a nation. But the good thing about it all was the production of that lovely book about her faith – our Queen has a greater King and she wanted to turn our eyes towards him!
Gospel reading emphasises the call to us to follow Jesus, to do what he tells us to do, which may not be what we think we ought to do! Eg bury our dead first which would seem sensible and natural to us.
Following the EU vote this week there is probably going to be an unsettled period ahead for us all. We need to learn from this story and follow our Queen’s example – I’m willing to bet that she is praying harder than ever for our nation! We too need to pray lots before we speak or act too, because we sure need God’s wisdom and guidance!