Today we wrap up our study of the account of David, Uzzah and the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 13 and 15). We are going to zoom in on the concept of worshipping God in spirit and in truth. There is a perfect example of this with David and the Ark of the Covenant.
David learned the value of worshipping in spirit and in truth.
There were two worship services we can observe in our texts for this week. The first is full of spirit-filled worship (1 Chronicles 13), but they were transporting the Ark in a way that disobeyed God. They were not worshipping in truth. Uzzah died. The second worship service came three months later (1 Chronicles 15; 2 Samuel 6:11-15) after David and the Priesthood looked into the Word to see what God instructed. They made the necessary corrections, and then we see a second worship commence. That worship service was just as spirit-filled and full of emotion and passion, with even more reverence than before. This time, however, they were worshipping in spirit AND in truth.
First Worship Service – Spirit WITHOUT Truth
1 Chronicles 13:1-4
1 David consulted with the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with every leader.
2 And David said to all the assembly of Israel, “If it seems good to you and from the Lord our God, let us send abroad to our brothers who remain in all the lands of Israel, as well as to the priests and Levites in the cities that have pasturelands, that they may be gathered to us.
3 Then let us bring again the ark of our God to us, for we did not seek it in the days of Saul.”
4 All the assembly agreed to do so, for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.
What they were about to do for God and how they were going to worship God was based on what was right in the eyes of the people. They all consulted with each other on what to do.
1 Chronicles 13:5-10
5 So David assembled all Israel from the Nile of Egypt to Lebo-hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim.
6 And David and all Israel went up to Baalah, that is, to Kiriath-jearim that belongs to Judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord who sits enthroned above the cherubim.
7 And they carried the ark of God on a new cart, from the house of Abinadab, and Uzzah and Ahiowere driving the cart.
8 And David and all Israel were rejoicing before God with all their might, with song and lyres and harps and tambourines and cymbals and trumpets.
9 And when they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzzah put out his hand to take hold of the ark, for the oxen stumbled.
10 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark, and he died there before God.
David and all Israel were rejoicing before God with “all their might” in the worship service. They had great passion and fire for God, and their motives, I believe, were right on point. But God was angry and Uzzah died. They were worshipping with all the spirit, but without the truth.
Second Worship Service – Spirit WITH Truth
1 Chronicles 15:1-3
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.
2 Then David said that no one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, for the Lord had chosen them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister to him forever.
3 And David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the Lord to its place, which he had prepared for it.
The first worship service began with people making agreements and consulting with each other on how they think things should be (1 Chronicles 13:1-4). The second worship began with people asking God how things should be.
1 Chronicles 15:13-16
13 Because you did not carry it the first time, the Lord our God broke out against us, because we did not seek him according to the rule.”
14 So the priests and the Levites consecrated themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel.
15 And the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord.
16 David also commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their brothers as the singers who should play loudly on musical instruments, on harps and lyres and cymbals, to raise sounds of joy.
We can take note here of the reverence for God’s word when it comes to worship. They had not sought God according to the rule (verse 13), but the second worship service was “according to the word of the Lord” (verse 15). That did not change their spirit, though. They still played loudly and raised sounds of joy to the Lord (verse 16)!
2 Samuel 6:11-15
11 And the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household.
12 And it was told King David, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing.
13 And when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal.
14 And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod.
15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn.
Do you see the reverence and care in verse 13? Do you see the rejoicing in verse 12, the dancing in verse 14, and the shouting in verse 15? They were absolutely careful to do things God’s way, but they did not lose a bit of passion in doing so!
1 Chronicles 15:25-29
25 So David and the elders of Israel and the commanders of thousands went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the house of Obed-edom with rejoicing.
26 And because God helped the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams.
27 David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as also were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and the singers and Chenaniah the leader of the music of the singers. And David wore a linen ephod.
28 So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, to the sound of the horn, trumpets, and cymbals, and made loud music on harps and lyres.
29 And as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David dancing and rejoicing, and she despised him in her heart.
Spirit AND Truth
It seems, by my limited observation, that many times people either have spirit OR truth. We are either worshipping with all the genuine passion and emotion and not obeying God’s instructions for worship, or we are doing things “by the book” but everyone looks like they are at a funeral! God wants our hearts and our obedience! He wants spirit and truth!
The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
In His discussion with the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus first dealt with the “Where” of worship. There was a debate between Jews and Samaritans of the proper place to worship. Jesus said there was a time coming when the “where” won’t matter. Jesus also addressed the “What” of worship, and clearly said the Samaritans were worshipping in ignorance. Finally, Jesus instructed her on the “How” of worship. As you can see from what Jesus said, God is “seeking such people” who will worship Him in “spirit and in truth.” He added an exclamation point with the word “MUST.” This is not an option, this is how God wants it. Spirit AND truth.
So, how about you? Personalize it and put these words from Scripture in your heart. God wants all of you in worship. We are to love God with all our hearts, souls, spirits and minds. Are you worshipping God with all of your being? Do you seek and search out what God wants for you in worship or are you like those in the 1st worship service? Do you just go along with what everyone around you agrees is the right course? Remember these lessons from David and Uzzah, because it truly does matter to God. We hope it matters to you, too.