All King David wanted to do was bring The Ark of The Covent, the symbol of God’s presence and the manifestation of the historical promises between God and his forefathers back among his people from Judah. But his exuberance over God’s rescues and handing enemies over to him supplanted his humility. I submit to you that David read God’s reliability as familiarity. This, as we learn in 1 Chronicles 13, led to disastrous results. The hurried, emotional transport cost the life of one of the king’s men (Uzzah). No one consulted God on who and how to safely and with order, handle the container of His Presence. So there was no “buffer” between our pure, Holy God and the Israelite people. From the Book of Exodus, to Isaiah, to Ezekiel through Revelation, the contrast between the nature of God’s Holiness before fallen, corrupt mankind is revealed in the Bible.
We simply cannot stand before Him and survive without a God-sent transformation. And that is why a simple touch from Uzzah on God’s Holy Ark killed him. (For more on God’s Holiness, follow this link: https://youtu.be/l9vn5UvsHvM).
David, after some time spent angry, confused and frightened of God after this traumatic event, recovered and re-established his communion with God, accepting the lessons learned. He learned and taught to his people the safe, proper, orderly way to handle The Ark of The Covenant, starting with approaching the chosen servants, the Levites (see Exodus 12). Chapters 15 and 16 of 1 Chronicles document the steps taken and the peoples’ reactions. David’s appreciation for God’s Grace (He could have wiped out all of Israel!) and His continuing counsel renewed David’s desire to worship God with his all—even if it embarrassed his self-absorbed first wife, Michal (1 Chron. 15:29).
Chapter 16 documents who was responsible for every aspect of worship in the arts at this homecoming celebration, based on the skills and talents of the Levites. Offerings were made to God, followed by the distribution of food gifts to the congregation from King David. A hymn of praise is included that also serves as a history of all God has done for them. The passage ends with each returning to his own home. David was able to bless his household with not only the spiritual overflow of this worship experience, but with an invaluable lesson: obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22).
So what’s all this to do with the here and now? Short testimony: I have found in my life that the fervent pursuit of relationship with God through the cleansing salvation of Jesus Christ heals, restores and brings me peace. To know Him is to hear His Voice, learn His nature and live a life of obedience to Him. It is only within the cocoon of obedience I am able to worship Him freely and unfettered. Thanks be to God.