April 8, 2023: Haftorah - II Samuel 6:1-17
This week's Haftorah reading is from II Samuel 6:1-17. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers as he delves into the importance of the Ark of ELOHIM, the significance of the Ark and the importance of doing the right thing in the right way, as ADONAI indicates in His Word.
Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Haftorah:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Haftorah Portion – II Samuel 6:1-17
The Ark of Elohim was of great importance to Israel. It signified the very presence of Adonai. The Ark led the Israelites as they journeyed from the wilderness into the Promised Land. The significance of the Ark was that it served as a House for His earthly Throne. The Ark had been lost to the Philistines. The Philistines had captured the Ark decades previously and brought it home like it was a piece of loot. However, it’s presence proved to bring much misfortune to them—disease and pestilence. The Philistines decided to get rid of the Ark but didn’t know how. They researched this matter by consulting their heathen priests and sorcerers which advised them to put the Ark in a brand-new cart driven by two calved cows that have never been yoked and bring a gift. The cows brought the Ark to the Israelite territory where it remained for 20 years at the house of Abinadab (I Sam. 6:2).
David is in his early reign and has successfully united Israel and Judah under his kingship. He establishes Jerusalem as his base, he overthrows Jebus, an impenetrable city, puts down the Philistine uprising and is now acknowledged by the surrounding nations. It is at this time in his life, as things are going well, he decides to bring the Ark back to Jerusalem. His life is filled with successes as seen by those in the world, but are not necessarily things that bring him closer to Elohim! David was determined to give the Ark a place of prominence, to no longer be neglected as had been the case in the days of Saul. David is trying to do the right thing in the wrong way and the result was the painful death of Uzzah. Good intentions alone are sometimes inadequate. Doing the right thing in the right way is important. The Word of Elohim should not be violated on the pretext of the “good” intentions behind our actions.
Let me interject here that when we don’t know Elohim or have the wrong picture of Him, some of the stories in the Bible makes Elohim look very scary, unfair and threatening. But as in any relationship, the more experience we have with someone, we gain a bigger knowledge base to assess their character. As we get to know Elohim by looking deeper into the narratives, we can get a clearer picture of who He really is.
David’s idea to bring back the Ark was birthed out of one of David’s celebrations. In I Chron. 13, there were 3 days of eating and drinking to celebrate David taking the Throne. It seems the idea of returning the Ark did not originate from a contemplative, prayerful, or sanctified position but from an idea springing out of a boisterous party. So, even though the Ark returning to its rightful place at this time seems like a great idea, was it David’s or Elohim’s? The impulse to move quickly in returning the Ark was also seen in how it was to be brought into the city. II Sam. 6:3-4 says, “They set the Ark of Elohim on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill, bringing with it the Ark of Elohim. And Ahio was walking in front of the Ark.”
Stop…Think! What is wrong with this picture? Does the procedure of carrying the Ark seem familiar? There was a prescribed way to handle the Ark! According to Exodus 26, the Ark was only to be transported by consecrated Levities who would carry it with poles on their shoulders. David, in his exuberance, failed to follow divine instructions, and Elohim killed Uzzah on the spot when he touched the falling Ark. Elohim was sending a message that those who follow Him must be reverent and serious in acknowledging His prescribed rules and regulations. However, there is a deeper problem than just being over exuberant. David seems to have consulted the sons of Abinadab on how they got the Ark from the Philistines. Once given the information it seems to be obvious and an easy thing to do… according to the ways of the world. But David was a prophet of Elohim. He should have prayed for Elohim’s counsel and searched the Scriptures to know Elohim’s will concerning the proper mode of transportation for the Ark.
Instead, by relying on the sons of Abinadab, he indirectly relied on pagan sorcerers to transport the Holy Ark of Elohim. David was too blinded by his selfishness to see all this. During the journey, David and his people had a powerful praise and worship service… they were having a great time of celebration until it stopped. On the outside it looked spiritual, holy, and grand from the outset. But who was the center of it? Who was receiving the honor and glory?
When the cows stumbled and shook the Ark and Uzzah touched the Ark and dies the time of celebration is brought abruptly to a halt. The celebratory, victorious moment turned into a tragic and sobering event. Defeat and disappointment filled the atmosphere! David was so blinded by his selfish desire to receive Elohim’s blessing; he completely ignored the heart of the One who gives that blessing. As a prophet and king of Elohim, it was his responsibility to alert others of Elohim’s will and His heart. So, in this context, David’s sin was far greater than that of Uzzah who was a farmer not familiar with the ways of Adonai.
The incident can be a reflection of how we, even today, act toward Elohim. We want to worship Elohim on our own terms and make our own way. We have a vague idea of worshipping Elohim and we think that we are doing Elohim a big favor in worshipping Him. We bring what we want to bring—music, gathering of people, order of worship, a celebrating mood. On the outside, it may look like there is worshipping and praise but Elohim sees the heart. Are we merely seeking the blessing of Elohim while ignoring the heart of the One that wants to bless us?
Why do we want to put Elohim “in a box” and take Him out when it is convenient for us or serves some purpose? One of the sobering aspects of this event was David thinking he was being righteous, that he was doing good work for Elohim. He was so wrapped up in his own desires that he thought that he was doing good for Elohim when he was fulfilling his own selfish desires. Even after Uzzah was struck, self was the center regarding the Ark…” How shall the Ark of Elohim come to me?” II Sam, 6:9. His true heart is revealed when he says that the Ark is coming to himself. It was really about making David look good, not making Elohim look good. No wonder David got angry! This applies to us today as II Tim. 3:5 says, “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.” In anger and resentment David brings the Ark to Obed-Edom’s house who was a Philistine. Then David goes home.
Shortly after, he hears how the house of Obed-Edom was being blessed. David decides to again take the Ark back to Jerusalem. However, this time, he wore a linen ephod, not his kingly attire. He offered sacrifices every six steps. He was recognizing that he wasn’t doing Elohim a favor, rather Elohim was giving David favor at the cost of His own life. Giving the sacrifices pointed David to the Messiah, the “lamb slain from the foundations of the earth.” This recognition changed David’s heart—from a selfish desire for the blessings to a selfless desire for His glory! The celebration was different, David celebrated before Adonai, humble before his Yah!
May we come before Elohim in humility and repentance and worship Elohim for Who He is because He is worthy of being praised. May we put Him on the throne of our hearts and give Him what He deserves. When we do, fountains of blessings will flow from Elohim to those around us and we will become a channel for Yeshua to work through. This is what the heart of worship is all about. We must always be cognizant of Elohim’s holiness and never for a moment take His presence for granted. Elohim is real, powerful, righteous, holy, and fearful! Uzzah’s death was painful but avoidable! Abba…help us do things in your prescribed way so that we can always reverence you!
Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha,
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May the glory of Adonai be brought into the House this Sabbath as prescribed by Elohim. Make our praise and worship be pure. Let us offer our Yah all the praise due His name. Enjoy this Feast of Passover…remember the sacrifice of Yeshua HaMashiach! His life, death, burial, and resurrection…He did it all for us! See you at the altar.