Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of First Chronicles which describes the events surrounding the life of David king of Israel. More specifically, today’s passage begins with the twenty-fifth verse of the fifteenth chapter and continues through to the final verse of the eighteenth chapter. REVISITING THE ARK! WE DIDN’T DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME! HOW ARE YOU TREATING THE PRESENCE OF THE LIVING GOD? LORD, FORGIVE US FOR HOW WE’VE DEALT WITH YOUR PRESENCE! NONE OUGHT TO CARRY THE ARK OF GOD BUT THE LEVITES! THEM [THE LEVITES] HATH THE LORD CHOSEN TO CARRY THE ARK OF GOD, AND TO MINISTER UNTO HIM FOREVER! PREPARING A PLACE FOR THE ARK! BECAUSE YE DID IT NOT AT THE FIRST! WE SOUGHT HIM NOT AFTER THE DUE ORDER! COMING FACE TO FACE WITH THE ORDER OF GOD! THERE IS AN ORDER IN THE HOUSE OF GOD! ORDER IN THE SANCTUARY! AND THE CHILDREN OF THE LEVITES BARE THE ARK OF GOD UPON THEIR SHOULDERS! AS MOSES COMMANDED ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF THE LORD! THE WORD OF THE LORD AND THE ARK OF GOD! DOORKEEPERS FOR THE ARK! [PSALM 84] GOD HELPED THE LEVITES THAT BARE THE ARK OF THE COVENANT OF THE LORD! SURROUNDED BY WARRIORS! SURROUNDED BY WORSHIPPERS! DAVID DIDN’T MERELY SURROUND HIMSELF WITH WARRIORS, BUT SURROUNDED HIMSELF WITH WORSHIPPERS! RESTORING THE GLORY AND SURROUNDING YOURSELF WITH WORSHIPPERS! MINISTERING BEFORE THE ARK CONTINUALLY! TO OFFER BURNT OFFERING UNTO THE LORD UPON THE ALTAR OF THE BURNT OFFERING CONTINUALLY MORNING AND EVENING! RETURNING THE ARK, BUILDING A HOUSE! THE HEART OF DAVID WAS NOT ONLY FOR THE ARK, BUT FOR THE HOUSE! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will encounter David’s second attempt to bring the Ark of the Covenant into the city of Jerusalem. I mention David’s second attempt to bring the Ark of the Covenant into the city of Jerusalem, for David had attempted to bring the Ark of the Covenant from its resting place when the Philistines brought it forth from their territory after it had wreaked havoc in three of the five major cities within their land. I am convinced that in order to truly understand that which is written and found within this particular second of Scripture, it is necessary to not only take a look at and examine the words which are written and found in the book of First Chronicles, but it is also necessary to turn and direct our attention to the fourth and fifth chapters of the Old Testament book of First Samuel.
It is the words which are written and recorded within the Old Testament book of First Samuel that helps set the stage for what we find and what we read in the fifteenth chapter of the book of First Chronicles, for essentially—not only was David bringing the Ark into what would be the city of the Great King, and not only would David inquire of the Ark of the Covenant during that generation, but he would also bring the Ark of the Covenant in the midst of the people after it had been captured during the days of Eli the high priest and his two sons Hophni and Phineas. I would dare say that we cannot truly understand the words which are found within this particular passage without first turning our attention back in time and back in history to the point and place where the children of Israel brought the Ark of the Covenant into the midst of the battle thinking and believing it would somehow deliver them out of the hand of their Philistine enemies. The children of Israel brought forth the Ark of the Covenant from its place, and they brought it into the midst of the battle thinking and believing that its presence alone would be enough to deliver them out of the hand of the Philistines. In fact, if you turn and direct your attention to the fourth chapter of the book of First Samuel you will encounter and come face to face with the tremendous reality of the children of Israel being engaged once more in a conflict with the Philistines—a conflict that had in all reality began to emerge during the days of Jephthah, but realistically experienced a heightened level during the days of Samson whom the LORD raised up, and whom the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him that he might deliver the children of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines. It would be during the days of Samson the LORD would raise him up to begin the process of delivering the children of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines—a process that would continue during the days of Saul, and would reach its climax during the days of David king of Israel. What you find in the fourth chapter of the book of First Samuel is not only the children of Israel bringing the Ark of the Covenant into the battle thinking and believing that it would somehow deliver them out of the hands of their enemies and adversaries, but also that it would be the missing link in the midst of their conflict. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded in the fourth chapter of this Old Testament book beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse:
“And the word of the Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle, and pitched beside Eben-ezer: and the Philistines pitched in Aphek. And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines: and they slew of the army in the field about four thousand men. And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the LORD smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies. So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring forth from thence the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts, which dwellers between the cherubims: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and PHineas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. And when the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the campe, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again. And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrew? And they understood that the ark of the LORD was come into the camp. And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! For there hath not been such a thing heretofore. Woe unto us! Who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty gods? These are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. Be strong, and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight. And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was as very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen. And the Ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas, were slain. And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head. And when he came, lo, Eli sat upon a seat by the wayside watching: for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city, and told it, all the city cried out. And when Eli heard the noise of the crying, he said, What meaneth the noise of this tumult? And the man came in hastily, and told Eli. Now Eli was ninety and eight years old; and his eyes were dim, that he could not see. And the man said unto Eli, I am he that came out of the army, and I fled to day out of the army. And he said, What is there done, my son? And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons Hophni and Phineas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken. And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years. And his daughter in law, Phineas’ wife, was with child near to be delivered: and when she heard the tidings that the ark of God was taken, and that her father in law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and travailed; for her pains came upon her. And about the time of her death the women that stood by her said unto her, Fear not; for thou hast born a son. But she answered not, neither did she regard it. And she named the child I-chabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband. And she said, The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken” (1 Samuel 4:1-22).
It is in this particular passage of Scripture we encounter and come face to face with the absolutely incredible reality that not only were the people of Israel defeated before the Philistines—not only once, but twice—but the two sons of Eli the high priest were slain in battle, and the Ark of the Covenant had been taken and captured by the Philistines. In a single day, not only were the people of God defeated in battle, not only had thirty thousand footmen been slain by the Philistines, not only were Eli’s two sons Hophni and Phineas slain in battle, but so also was the Ark of the Covenant of the living God taken and captured by the Philistines. Now, I have previously written that I do not believe that the LORD God of the Ark of the Covenant was taken by surprise by the Ark itself being captured, and that I believe that He divinely orchestrated the capture of the Ark in order that He might move and maneuver behind enemy lines to begin to unleash havoc within the territory of the Philistines in the midst of their own land. It’s quite interesting to think about and consider the fact that in the fifth chapter of the book of First Samuel you will find the Ark of the Covenant of the living God being brought into the territory of the Philistines, and once there it was brought into the house of their god Dagon. After waking up that next morning the children of the Philistines would find their god Dagon having fallen down before the Ark of the Covenant—a sight which they would immediately fix by putting Dagon back into his place. That entire day would pass, and so also would that night, and they would wake up the next morning and not only find Dagon fallen down once more before the Ark of the Covenant, but they would also find their god decapitated, and both of his hands at the threshold of the door. It would be after these events we begin to read of the great devastation, havoc and plagues the living God would begin to unleash in the midst of the Philistines during the seven months it was there in their territory, and essentially behind enemy lines. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded in the fifth chapter beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse:
“And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebed-ezer unto Ashdod. When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD> And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again. And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him. Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dayton’s house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day. But the hand of the LORD was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof. And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our gods. They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither. And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts. Therefore they sent the ark of God to Enron. And it came to pass, as the ark of God came to Enron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to slay us and our people. So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there. And the man that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven” (1 Samuel 5:1-12).
In the fifth chapter of this Old Testament book we find the effect the Ark of the Covenant had upon the Philistines, for what the children of Israel were unable to do on the battlefield, the LORD their God was able to do among the Philistines behind enemy lines. I have always found it absolutely astonishing and incredible to think about and consider the fact that the living God would allow His holy and sacred Ark of the Covenant to be taken and captured by the Philistines, and would even allow it to be brought into their territory. What’s more, is that I find it absolutely incredible that the living God did not and would not smite the Philistines—not only for placing their hands upon the Ark of the Covenant, but also for bringing it into their own land and their own territory. This same God who would strike down Uzza for stretching forth his hand to steady the Ark of the Covenant when the oxen which were carrying it began to stumble would choose not to smite the Philistines when they captured the Ark, nor when they brought it into their own coasts and into their own territory. This would be the case—at least until the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the city of Ashdod and placed in the temple of their god Dagon, for on two consecutive nights the priests of their god Dagon would wake up in the morning and would find Dagon on his face before the Ark of the Covenant. It would be the second morning when they would not only find their god Dagon on his face before the Ark of the Covenant, but would also find his head and the palms of both his hands upon the threshold of the temple. What’s more, is that it was about that time the hand of the LORD would begin to be heavy upon the city of Ashdod and the men therein, for the LORD would strike the men with tumors. It’s interesting to note that what you find in the rest of the fifth chapter of the book of First Samuel is essentially a circuit of destruction behind enemy lines, as the LORD would begin to unleash a great destruction upon the men of the Philistines. What’s more, is the LORD would not only unleash a great destruction, but the LORD would also begin to strike and smite the Philistines with tumors within and upon their physical bodies as a sign of judgment against them. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that the Ark of the Covenant entered and came into three of the five major Philistine cities and unleashed a tremendous reign of terror in the midst of their land before they would finally make the decision to bring the Ark of the Covenant forth from their land. When you come to the sixth chapter of the book of First Samuel you will find the Philistines calling for the priests and the diviners as they inquired what they should do with the Ark of the Covenant since the hand of the LORD was very heavy and sore upon them. What we find in the sixth chapter of the book of First Samuel is the Philistines agreeing to remove the Ark of the Covenant from their coasts, and to essentially allow the Ark to make its way back into the land of the children of Israel. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded within the sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of First Samuel starting with the first verse:
“And the Ark of the LORD was in the county of the Philistines seven months. And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviner’s, saying, What shall we do to the ark of the LORD? Tell us wherewith we shall send it to his place. And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty; but in any wise return him a trespass offering: then ye shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand is not removed from you. Then said they, What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him? They answered, Five golden emerods, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines: for one plague was on your all, and on your lords. Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will it then his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land. Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When he had wrought wonderfully among them, did thy not let the people go, and they departed? Now therefore make a new cart, and take two milch kine, on which there hath come no yoke, and tie the kine to the cart, and bring their calves home from them: and take the ark of the LORD, and lay it upon the cart; and put the jewels of gold, which ye return him for a trespass offering, in a coffer by the side thereof; and send it away, that it may go. And see, if it goeth up by the way of his own coast to Beth-Shemesh, then he hath done us this great evil: but if not, when we shall know that it is not his hand that smote us; it was a chance that happened to us. And the men did do; and took two milch kine, and tied them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home: and they laid the ark of the LORD upon the cart, and the coffer with mice of gold and the images of their emerods. And the kine took the straight way to the way of Beth-Shemesh, and went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left; and the lords of the Philistines went after them unto the border of Beth-shemesh. And they of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley: and they lifted up their eyes, and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it. And the cart came into the field of Joshua, a Beth-shemite, and stood there, where there was a great stone: and they calve the wood of the cart, and offered the kine a burnt offering unto the LORD. And the Levites took down the ark of the LORD, and the coffer that was with it, wherein the jewels of gold were, and put them on the great stone: and the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices the same day unto the LORD. And when the five lords of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Enron the same day. And these are the golden emerods which the Philistines returned for a trespass offering unto the LORD; for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Askelon one, for Gath one, for Enron one; and the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the PHilsitines belonging to the five lords, both of fenced cities, and of country villages, even unto the great stone of Abel, wherein they set down the ark of the LORD; which stone remaineth unto this day in the field of Joshua, the Beth-shemite. And he smote the men of Beth-shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and three score and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter. And the men of Beth-shemesh said, Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God? And to whom shall he go up from us? And they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kirjath-jearim, saying, The Philistines have brought again the ark of the LORD; come ye down, and fetch it up to you” (1 Samuel 6:1-21).
Before returning to the days of David king of Israel it is necessary to continue on to the next chapter of the book of First Samuel, for what would begin on the battlefield of Ebed-Ezer would continue in three of the major cities of the lords of the Philistines, and would transition to Beth-Shemesh in the coasts of Israel. It’s worth noting that the ark of the covenant would not remain there at Beth-shemesh, for the men there dared look inside the Ark of the Covenant. As a direct result of their violation of that which was sacred, and their violation of that which was holy, the LORD would smite the men of that place. In fact, Scripture records that because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, the living God smote of the people fifty thousand and seventy men. When the people saw this great slaughter and this great breaking forth against them, they would lament because of the great slaughter the Lord their God had wrought upon them. It’s quite interesting that the people of Beth-Shemesh asked and said among themselves, “Who is able to stand before this holy God? And to whom shall He go up from us?” After crying out in anguish and lament because of the great slaughter the LORD wrought upon them during those days, they would ultimately send messengers to the inhabitants of Kirjath-jearim to come and fetch the ark of the living God unto themselves. When and as you come to the seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of First Samuel you will find the final passage of Scripture that helps set the stage and serve as the foundation for the actions of David, for when David brought the ark of the God of Israel, he would indeed and would in fact bring it forth from the midst of Kirjath-jearim. Consider if you will the narrative that is written and recorded in the seventh chapter of the book of First Samuel beginning to read with the first and opening verse:
“And the men of Kirjath-jearim came, and fetched up the ark of the LORD, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazaer his son to keep the ark of the LORD. And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirijath-jearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD. And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only. And Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you unto the LORD. And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh. And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up again as Israel. And when the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the LORD our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines. And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD: and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him. And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and smote them, until they came under Beth-car. Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebed-ezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us. So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. And the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even unto Gath; and the coasts thereof did Israel deliver out of the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites. And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. And he went from year to year in circuit to Beth-el, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places. And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house; and there he judged Israel; and there he built and altar unto the LORD” (1 Samuel 7:1-17).
As you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find that when the men of Kirjath-jearim were summoned to come and fetch the ark that they might bring it unto them. Moreover, you will find it written how upon bringing the ark of the covenant from Beth-Shemesh unto Kirjath-Jearim, they brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified his son Eleazer to keep the ark of the LORD. What’s even more intriguing about this is that when you come to the second verse of this passage you will find that the Ark of the Covenant of the living God abode in Kirjath-Jearim for twenty years. It’s actually quite interesting when you think about and consider the words which are written and recorded in this passage of Scripture, for within you will find the narrative of the path of the Ark of the Covenant from Shiloh into the territory of the Philistines and behind enemy lines, to Beth-shemesh, and ultimately to Kirjath-jearim. In all reality, I would dare say that the Ark of the Covenant was brought forth from its resting place in Shiloh, for the LORD had purposed to utterly bring to ruin His place in Shiloh—even as He had emphatically declared and prophesied through the man of God that came unto Eli, as well as through Samuel when he spoke unto Eli the priest. It’s truly intriguing to think about and consider the fact that the Ark of the Covenant of the living God was indeed brought forth from its resting place in Shiloh—not only so the LORD could bring about His word upon the house therein, but also that the living God might allow the Ark of the Covenant to be brought into the territory of the Philistines and behind enemy lines in order that He might fulfill and accomplish something that no Hebrew sword, nor any Hebrew spear, nor any Hebrew bow and arrow could accomplish against them. There is not a doubt in my mind that the Ark of the Covenant was brought forth from a place that was purposed to be brought to ruin in order that it might ultimately be brought into the territory and land of the Philistines. It would be there in the land of the Philistines the living and eternal God would move behind enemy lines and go where no Hebrew soldier would be able to go in order that He might accomplish a work that needed to be done. It’s quite remarkable to think about the fact that the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD was brought forth from its place in Shiloh for two distinct purposes and for two distinct reasons—the first being that the LORD might fulfill and accomplish His word and His purpose against the house that was in Shiloh, and against the corrupt and wicked house of Eli, as well as to allow the Ark to be brought behind enemy lines and into their territory that it might accomplish and bring about something that only the LORD Himself could accomplish.
When you come to the days of David when he reigned as king over the nation and kingdom of Israel, you will find how David sought to restore the Ark of the Covenant to its proper place in the midst of the people of God. Moreover, you will find that David recognized that during the days of Saul when he reigned as king over the nation of Israel, the children of Israel neither inquired, nor sought after the LORD. David’s entire purpose and mission for bringing the Ark of the Covenant unto him in the city of David was that he might establish a lodging and resting place for it, and in order that he might worship the LORD his God in the presence of His glory, in the presence of His holiness, and in the presence of his majesty. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely tremendous reality, for to do so would be to miss out on the absolutely fantastic reality that David’s heart was that of a worshipper, and was one that desperately longed for and desired after the glory, the presence, the person, the holiness, and the majesty of the living God. Upon reading the chapters which are before us in the book of First Chronicles we must recognize that David’s desire to bring the Ark of the Covenant unto himself in Jerusalem was because his heart was one that longed for and desired the presence of the LORD. I have previously written how the heart of David was indeed one of warfare and battle, and how from his youth and young adult years he was steeped in conflict and battle. We must remember that even before he faced Goliath—not only did he smite and strike down a lion which had snatched up one of his father’s sheep, but he also smote and struck down a bear. It was the preparation of the lion and the bear that would enable him to have the confidence and trust in the LORD his God to face Goliath in battle, and completely and utterly subdue and strike him dead. As we look at the life of David we must recognize that he was indeed a warrior, and that he was indeed one who belonged on the battlefield. David was a man whose hands were trained for war, and even in the eighteenth chapter of the book of the Psalms—after the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul—David spoke of the tremendous victories he had won over and against his enemies and adversaries. What I so love about David, however, is that while it is true that he was a warrior by nature, he was a worshipper at heart. WARRIOR BY NATURE, WORSHIPPER AT HEART! David was a man who knew how to handle the sword and shield, and knew how to engage the enemy and adversary in battle, however, David was also a man who knew his true and ultimate place was before the LORD his God in worship, in adoration, in praise, and humility. In fact, I can’t help but be reminded of the words which are found in the twenty-seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms, for the words which were written here were penned by David before the LORD his God. Consider if you will the words which are found in this Old Testament psalm beginning to read with and from the opening verse:
“The LORd is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confidence. One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD. Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou has been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. I had gained, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORd in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD” (Psalms 27:1-14).
Please don’t miss the incredible importance of what is written and penned within this particular psalm, for it helps us understand the heart of David—not as a warrior, but as a worshipper. THE HEART OF THE WORSHIPPER! THE WORSHIPPING WARRIOR! Even as I sit here today I can’t help but think about the fact that perhaps David’s greatest strength in battle was not necessarily his prowess as a soldier, as a captain, and as a general in the army of the LORD, but in his heart of worship. It is absolutely undeniable that David was one who was skillful in battle and knew how to engage the enemy and adversary in battle, however, I would dare say that David’s greatest strength in battle lie not in his ability to handle the sword, but rather in his ability to worship before the LORD his God. Perhaps the single greatest question that must be asked is how many battles did David win—not because of his skill, his strength and speed with the sword, but because of his humility and surrender before the living God? What’s more, is that I am convinced that the same heart that was found in David was also found in a son of David—namely, Hezekiah king of Judah. When you study the narrative of Hezekiah king of Judah you will find that Hezekiah did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did. He removed the high places, and he broke the images, and cut down the groves, and broke in pieces the brazen serpent which Moses had made. Moreover, Hezekiah trusted in the LORD God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. Moreover, Hezekiah clave to the LORD, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses. What’s more, is that we also find that Hezekiah rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not. Furthermore, Hezekiah smote the Philistines, even unto Gaza, and the borders thereof, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. As much as Hezekiah smote the Philistines, we find that he was a man who like David his father knew how to resist the enemy first through worship and in prayer, and secondly on the battlefield. It’s worth noting that during the days of Hezekiah Sennacherib king of Assyria threatened the city of Jerusalem, and threatened to subdue the city and take the inhabitants thereof captive. Not once, but two times did the threat of Sennacherib come into the ears and presence of Hezekiah, and on both occasions—once through a report and once through a letter—Hezekiah entered into the house of the LORD, humbled himself in worship and prayer before the living God. In the New Testament we read and understand that we are to submit ourselves to the LORD our God, and to resist the enemy and he will flee from us, and through Hezekiah and the threats of Sennacherib we find and discover that the single greatest way we resist the enemy and adversary is through prayer and worship.
What I so absolutely love about Hezekiah is that he never had to lift, nor raise up the sword against Sennacherib, nor against any of the army of Assyria. Though Sennacherib the king of Assyria threatened the city of Jerusalem, and though Sennacherib threatened to capture Jerusalem and take captive the people of God, Hezekiah would not have any of it. As a direct result of the heart that was found within Hezekiah he humbled himself before and submitted himself to the LORD his God, and entered into the house of the LORD where he would inquire of the LORD through prayer. Through the life of Hezekiah king of Judah we find and discover that we don’t necessarily resist the enemy and adversary through actual warfare and conflict, but we resist the enemy and adversary through prayer, through intercession, through humility, through submission, and through worship before the LORD our God. There is not a doubt in my mind that we truly resist the enemy and adversary through our surrender and submission before the LORD our God, and through our willingness and ability to pray and to seek His face. We truly resist the enemy and adversary through prayer when we enter into the secret closet of prayer, when we enter into the sanctuary of the living God, and when we cry out before the LORD our God. How absolutely incredible it is to think about the fact that Hezekiah rebelled against the king of Assyria in the natural, but he resisted him in the supernatural and in the spiritual realm through prayer and submission before the LORD his God. This was something I am absolutely convinced David the king of Israel knew concerning battle, for there is not a doubt in my mind that David knew the battles were not won by strength of sword, nor by might of shield, but the battles were first won in worship and prayer before the living God on our knees and even on our faces. I firmly and strongly believe that David knew and understood that the battle was not won by strength and might on the battlefield, but the battle was won behind closed doors in the secret of the tabernacle of the living God—in that place where neither man, nor the enemy or adversary ever sees. Though the enemy and adversary might very well see David on the battlefield, they would not see him in the secret and quiet place, nor would they see him on his face and knees before the LORD his God. Oh it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for the battles we face are won on our knees and on our faces before and in the presence of the LORD our God, as we worship before Him, and as we seek His face in prayer and through intercession.
I have to admit that when I read of David’s heart to bring the Ark of the Covenant unto himself, and unto the city of Jerusalem, I see the heart of a worshipper, and the heart of one who was joyful in the presence of the LORD his God. The simple fact that David desired for the Ark of the Covenant to be restored was not only a call to that generation to seek the face of the LORD—something that hadn’t been done during the days of Saul—but it was also an expression of his desire and his longing to seek the face of the LORD. It was David himself who emphatically declared before and unto the LORD that there was one thing he desired, and there was one thing he would seek after, that he may dwell in the house of the LORD forever, and that he may inquire of him in His holy Temple. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this, for when you come to David’s mission to bring the Ark to the city of David, we find one whose heart was truly passionate before and unto the LORD in worship. Through David’s desire to bring the Ark of the Covenant into the city of Jerusalem we find one who truly desired to seek the face of the LORD his God, and one who longed for the presence, who longed for the glory, who longed for the majesty of the living God. Please don’t miss this reality, for when you read of David’s initial pursuit and endeavor to bring the Ark of the Covenant unto the city of Jerusalem, we find him expressing his desire and his passion in worship before and in the sight of the living God. I say and mention initial endeavor to bring the ark of the covenant to the city of Jerusalem, for if and as you read scripture you will notice that David’s first attempt to bring the Ark of the Covenant did not entirely go as he had planned. The motive, the desire and the intention of David’s heart was holy, and pure, and righteous, and noble, however the means whereby he thought he could transport this symbol of the glory of God would be one that would press pause on bringing the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem, and would even cause the Ark of the Covenant to abide in the house of Obed-edom before it would ultimately come into the city of David. In fact, when you come to the thirteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of First Chronicles you will find David’s first attempt and first endeavor to bring the Ark of the Covenant into the city of Jerusalem:
“And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundred, and with every leader. And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good unto you, and that it be of the LORD our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren every where, that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and the Levites which are in their cities and suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us: and let us bring against the ark of our God to us: for we inquired not at it in the days of Saul. And all the congregation said that they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people. So David gathered all Israel together, from Shihor of Egypt even unto the entering of Hemath, to bring the ark of God from Kirjath-jearim. And David went up, and all Israel, to Baalah, that is, to Kirjath-jearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up thence the ark of God the LORD, that dwelleth between the cherubims, whose name is called on it. And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drake the cart. And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbres, and with cymbals, and with trumpets. And when they came unto the threshingfloof of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God. And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breath upon Uzza: wherefore that place is called Perez-uzza to this day. And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God home to me? So David brought not the ark home to himself to the city of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. And the ark of God remained with the family of Obed-edom in his house three months. And the LORD blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that he had” (1 Chronicles 13:1-14).
The words which are found written and recorded within this particular passage are truly powerful when you take the time to think about and consider them, for within this chapter we find David’s heart being toward the Ark of the Covenant, and for the glory and presence of the LORD his God. David recognized that during the days of Saul king of Israel the children of Israel did not and had not inquired at it, and that he needed, he wanted to, and he longed to bring the Ark of the Covenant into the city of David. It’s quite telling to read this particular narrative and to consider the fact that there was such joy around bringing the Ark of the Covenant from its lodging place in Kearjath-jearim and unto the city of David. There was great joy, great excitement, great enthusiasm, and great anticipation surrounding the presence of the Ark of the Covenant and its journey to the city of David, and yet it’s quite captivating to read how that joy and that celebration would be turned to sorrow, would be turned to lament, and would even be turned into anger and displeasure within the heart of David. WHEN THE HEART IS TURNED FROM JOY TO SORROW! WHEN GOD DISRUPTS YOUR WORSHIP SERVICE! WHEN THE LORD BREAKS OUT IN THE MIDST OF YOUR WORSHIP EXPERIENCE! On the surface it might have appeared as though what was taking place was so incredibly holy, and was so incredibly righteous—and while it was indeed right in the heart of David to want to bring the Ark of the Covenant unto himself in the city of David, the means and method of bringing that symbol of the glory and presence of the living God was not that which was commanded and instructed by the living God through His servant Moses. I can’t help but find a truly powerful warning and word of caution found within this passage of Scripture, for although David’s heart was indeed right in inquiring after the Ark of the Covenant, and while his heart and motives were indeed right in wanting to bring that symbol of the glory of God, the presence of God, the provision of God, and the blessing of God into the city of David, the means whereby he would set out to fulfill it would be contrary to that which was commanded through Moses the servant of the LORD in the law of Moses. It’s absolutely necessary that we understand that, for the LORD disrupted this worship service, and disrupted this celebration by breaking out against one who perhaps thought and believed they were doing something noble, and something right in the sight of God. I can’t help but find a tremendous warning and caution in David’s initial attempt to bring the ark of the covenant unto himself in the city of David, for in his initial attempt to bring the ark of the Covenant unto himself he thought he could do it using a new cart—using new means and new methods that were not prescribed by the living God. Perhaps David had heard about how the Ark of the Covenant had come to Kearjath-jearim from Beth-shemesh, and how the Ark came to Beth-Shemesh on a new cart when it was sent from the Philistines. Perhaps David thought and believed that this was the means whereby he could transport the ark and bring it into the city of David.
It should be noted that when David initially sought to bring the Ark of the Covenant unto himself in the city of David, he thought he could do it using a new cart. Perhaps David heard how the Philistines had sent the Ark of the Covenant from their land and territory unto Beth-Shemesh and saw that the LORD did not break out against as the Ark of the Covenant was transported into the land of Judah and Israel. What David would find, however, is that the great celebration, and the great worship service that was enjoyed as the Ark was being brought unto the city of Jerusalem would be broken out against and broken out upon by the LORD Himself, as He struck down and smote Uzza who stretched forth his hand to steady the Ark of the Covenant for the oxen which were transporting the ark stumbled. It’s quite telling to think about the fact that such a great and joyful celebration, and such a great worship service could be interrupted—and not only interrupted, but interrupted by and through death. In all reality, there are a few examples I can think of where the living God would break out against those who dared violate His holiness—either in His sanctuary, or before His holy and sacred Ark. You will recall how the living God devoured and struck down Nadab and Abihu the sons of Aaron when they dared offer strange fire before the LORD. You will recall how the LORD even struck down fifty thousand men in Beth-shemesh because they dared look inside the Ark of the Covenant. You will recall how the LORD broke out against Ananias and Sapphira in the New Testament book of Acts when they dared lying to the Holy Spirit in the sanctuary. Now here we are in this passage of Scripture and we find the living God breaking out in the middle of a worship service because the means whereby the people were attempting to transport the glory were contrary to that which the LORD had commanded and spoken through Moses the servant of the LORD. If there is one thing we must learn and one thing we must recognize when thinking about and considering the words that are found within this passage of Scripture, it’s that the LORD can indeed break out in the middle of, and He can indeed interrupt a worship service in order to put an end to our own earthly, natural and carnal means to worship Him, and to inquire of Him. It is possible that the LORD can indeed break forth in the midst of our worship services—and although He might not strike one or more people dead in the midst of the sanctuary, He can nonetheless bring to an end that which is contrary to what He has prescribed and what He has ordained and decreed. In fact, if you journey to the fifteenth chapter of the book of First Chronicles you will find David’s second attempt to bring the Ark of the Covenant. This time, however, David would bring it back knowing that which the living and eternal God had ordained and prescribed through His servant Moses in the law of the LORD. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded in the fifteenth chapter of the fifteenth chapter of the book of First Chronicles:
“And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent. Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the LORD chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever. And David gathered all Israel together to Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the LORD unto his place, which he had prepared for it. And David assembled the children of Aaron, and the Levites: of the song of Kohath; Uriel the chief, and his brethren an hundred and twenty: of the sons of Merari; Asaiah the chief, and his brethren two hundred and twenty: of the sons of Gershom; Joel the chief, and his brethren an hundred and thirty: of the sons of Elizaphan; Shemaiah the chief, and his brethren two hundred: of the sons of Hebron; Eliel the chief, and his brethren fourscore: of the sons of Uzziel; and Abinadab the chief, and his brethren an hundred and twelve. And David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, and Joel, Shemaiah, and Eliel, and Ammindab, and said unto them, Ye are the chief of the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the LORD God Israel unto the place that I have prepared for it. For because ye did it not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order. So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel. And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the LORD. And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy. So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel; and of his brethren, Asaph the son of Berechiah; and of the sons of Merari their brethren, Ethan the son of Kushaiah; and with them their brethren of the second degree, Zechariah, Ben, and Jaaziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, Eliab, and Benaiah, and Masseiah, and Mattathiah, and Eliphelech, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, the porters. So the singers, Heman, Asaph and Ethan, were appointed to sound with cymbals of brass; and Zechariah and Ariel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah, with psalteries on Alamoth; and Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Miklneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, and Azaziah, with harps on the Sheminith to excel. And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song: he instructed about the song, because he was skillful. And Berechiah, and Elkanah were doorkeepers for the ark. And Shebaniah, and Jehoshaphat, and Nethaneel, and Amasai, and Zechariah, and Benaiah, and Eliezer, the priests, did glow with the trumpets before the ark of God: and Obed-edom and Jehoash were doorkeepers for the ark. So David, and the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the house of Obed-edom with job. And it came to pass, when God helped the Levites that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, that they offered seven bullocks and seven rams. And David was clothed with a. Robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singingers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen. Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making noise with psalteries and harps. And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the city of David that Michal the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart” (1 Chronicles 15:1-29).
NONE OUGHT TO CARRY THE ARK OF GOD BUT THE LEVITES! THEM HATH THE LORD CHOSEN TO CARRY THE ARK OF GOD! FOR BECAUSE HE DID IT NOT AT THE FIRST, THE LORD OUR GOD MADE A BREACH UPON US, FOR THAT WE SOUGHT HIM NOT AFTER THE DUE ORDER! What we find within this fifteenth chapter is not only David’s desire and delight in bringing the Ark of the Covenant into the city of David and unto the city of Jerusalem, but we find David recognizing how and why the LORD made a breach upon and against them when they had first tried bringing the Ark of the Covenant into the city of Jerusalem. What we find here is David’s recognition that only the Levites may carry the Ark of the Covenant, and even that they might only carry it upon their shoulders upon staves. What’s more, is that David also recognized that it was because the Levites did not do this at the first, the LORD made a breach upon them. Furthermore, David would go on to declare unto the Levites that they did not seek the LORD after the due order according to that which was written and commanded by Moses the servant of the LORD in the law given unto the children of Israel. What I so absolutely love about the words which are found within this passage is not only David’s recognition that the priests and the Levites must carry the Ark of the Covenant upon their shoulders, but we also find David surrounding himself with worshippers. As you read the words within this passage you will notice that David was right there in the middle of the worship service, and David was right there in the middle of the joyful celebration fore the living God, as he danced and sang before the LORD. This is absolutely astonishing and truly inedible to think about and consider, for in the eleventh and twelfth chapters of this book we find David being surrounded by, and surrounding himself with warriors and those who were skillful on the battlefield, however, what we find in this passage is David not surrounding himself with warriors, but surrounding himself with worshippers. Oh there is something truly wonderful and truly powerful about this worship/warrior motif that found a perfect balance within the heart of David, for I would dare say that before David was a warrior he was first a worshipper. It was indeed true that David would be surrounded by warriors, but it would also be true that he would be surrounded by worshippers. What’s more, is that as you read Scripture you will encounter the fact that David appeared to be just as comfortable in the company of worshippers as he was in the company of warriors. As surely as David knew and could find his place on the battlefield in the midst of warriors he could find his place in the sanctuary in the company of worshippers. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely astounding reality, for while we know and understand David to be a warrior on the battlefield, we must also recognize and understand him to be a worshipper in the sanctuary and in the presence of the LORD his God. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which are found and recorded in the eighty-fourth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms, which is an incredibly beautiful expression of worship and adoration before and in the presence of the living God:
“How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: My heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah. Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God. O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah. Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed. For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk up rightly. O LORD of hosts, Blessed is the man that trusteth in thee” (Psalm 84:1-12).
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I feel the tremendous need to call your attention to the fact that in the eleventh and twelfth chapters of the book of First Chronicles we find the living God of Israel bringing unto David those men who were ready for battle and who were skillful in war, and in the fifteenth chapter we find David assembling—not the warriors who surrounded him, but rather the worshippers who were before and around him. In the fifteenth chapter we find David assembling the Levites and the priests in order that the Ark of the covenant might be carried on the shoulders of the priests and brought unto the city of David. What I so love about that which is found in the fifteenth chapter is that David—this man who was skillful in battle and skillful on the battlefield also had a tremendous heart for worship and had a tremendous heart which sought after the LORD his God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for I continue to believe that at the very heart of David’s warfare was worship, and that before he ever found strength on the battlefield he first found strength in the sanctuary. There are countless men and women who start with the battlefield and who separate and even leave the sanctuary out as they attempt to engage the enemy and adversary in battle, and yet through the life of David we find one whose strength in battle was directly linked and connected to his heart of worship. IN all reality, I would dare say that we cannot expect to have strength within our hearts in the midst of the battle if we have not first found strength in worship and through prayer before the LORD our God. We must recognize and understand that we have first been called to worship before the true and living God, and that we have great need for a heart of worship that desperately longs for the courts of the LORD, and which desperately pants after the living God of Abraham, of Isaac and Jacob. We dare not and a must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely tremendous truth, for there is a great need among us to be men and women of worship, and men and women whose hearts desperately long and faint for the courts of the LORD, for His holy sanctuary, and for His presence. To help illustrate this even more I leave you with the words which David prayed and perhaps even sang before the LORD while he was in the wilderness of Judah. As you read these words let them be an invitation within your own heart and within our own soul to truly seek the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength:
“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satirized as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me. But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth. They shall fall by the sword, they shall be a portion for foxes. But the king shall rejoice in God; everything one that sweareth by Him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped” (Psalm 64:1-10).
“As the hart panteth after water books, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holy day. Why are thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. Yet the LORD will command his loving Kinesis in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. I wills ay unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God? Why are thou cast down, O my soul? And why are thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God” (Psalm 42:1-11).