The Bystander In the Pew & the Worshipper In the Street

Today’s selected passage continues in the Old Testament book of First Chronicles, which describes the days of the life and reign of David the king of Israel. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters twenty-four through twenty-six of this Old Testament book. (Numbers 1:47-54) (Numbers 3-4)CALLING ALL WORSHIPPERS! THE ASSEMBLY OF WORSHIPPERS! THE GATHERING OF THE WORSHIPPERS! COME TO THE SANCTUARY! COME TO THE HOUSE! THE UNITY OF WORSHIPPERS! As I read the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the awesome assembly of worshippers and those who were appointed unto the work of the sanctuary of the living God. The more I read the words which are written and recorded within this passage of Scripture the more I can’t help but be confronted with the fact that as much as David was a warrior by nature, and as much as David was surrounded by warriors who knew how to engage in warfare, David was also a worshipper by heart. I have previously written how in David we find this perfect balance between worshipper and warrior, and how I believe that David’s ability and skill as a warrior never rose higher, nor rose above his ability to be a worshipper before the throne of the God whom he so passionately worshipped and adored. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely astonishing reality, for when we consider the life of David and how David was indeed a fierce and successful warrior, David was also a worshipper and one who enjoyed and took great pleasure worshipping before the throne of his God. Perhaps one of the single greatest examples of this reality is found in the narrative of David and the priests and the Levites he had assembled bringing the Ark of the Covenant forth from the house of Obed-edom unto the place which he had prepared for it. If you turn and direct your attention to an earlier passage found in this Old Testament book you will find David bringing forth the Ark of the Covenant from the house of Obed-edom in order that he might bring it forth unto himself in the city of Jerusalem. It should be worth noting that not only did David have a heart to bring forth the Ark of the Covenant during the days of his reign, but David also prepared a place for the Ark in the city of Jerusalem. Moreover, within this Old Testament book you will find that there was a joyous celebration and worship service that took place throughout the length of the journey the Ark of the Covenant took to arrival at the city of David and unto the place which David had prepared for it. Before I delve any further into David as this worshipping warrior, I feel it absolutely necessary to present you with his heart and passion for the Ark of the Covenant and for the. Glory and presence of the living God, as well as the fact that it would take David three months and two tries before he would successfully be able to bring forth the Ark of the Covenant into the city of David. Consider if you will the following words and narrative which is not only found within this particular book, but also the Old Testament book of Second Samuel:

“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 your brethren every where, that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites which are in their cities and suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us: and let us bring again 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 Shinar 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 Baasha, that is, Kirjath-jearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up thence the ark of the God the LORD, that dwellers 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 threshingfloor of Chiron, 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 breach 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 nor 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).

“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 sons 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; Shemaaiah the chief, and his brethren two hundred: of the sons of Hebron; Eliel the chief, and his brethren four score: of the sons of Uzziel: Amminadab 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, Evans Eliel, and Amminadab, and said unto them, Ye are the chief or the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the LORD God of 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 Bereciah; and of the sons of Merari their brethren, Ethan the son of Kushaiah; and with them their brethren of the second decree, Zechariah, Ben, and Jaaziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, 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 Maaseaih,, and Benaiah, with pasalteries on Alamoth; and Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneah, and Obed-edom, and Jehiel, and Ahaziah, 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 blow 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 Boed-edom with joy. 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 singers, 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 sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a 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).

“So they brought the akr of God, and set it in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it: and they offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings before God. And when David had made an end of offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD. And he dealt to every one of Israel, both man and woman, to every one a loaf of brea, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, and to record, and to thank and praise the LORD God of Israel: Asaph the chief, and next to him Zechariah, Jeiel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Mattithaih, and ELiab, and Benaiah, and Obed-edom: and Jeiel with psalteries and with harps; but Asaph made a sound with cymbals; Benaiah also and Jahaziel the priests with trumpets continually before the ark of the covenant of God. Then on that day David delivered first this palms to thank the LORD into the hand of Asaph and his brethren” (1 Chronicles 16:1-7).

“So he left there before the ark of the covenant of the LORD Asaph and his brethren, to minister before the ark continually, as every day’s work required: and Obed-edom with their brethren, three score and eight; OBed-edom also the son of Jeduthun and Hosah to be porters: and Zadok the priest, and his brethren the priests, before the tabernacle of the LORD in the high place that was at Gibeon, to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD upon the altar of the burnt offering continually morning and evening, and to do according to all that is written in the law of the LORD, which he commanded Israel; and with them HEman and Jeduthun, and the rest that were chosen, who were expressed by name, to give thanks to the LORD, because his mercy endureth for ever; and with them HEman and Jeduthun with trumpets and cymbals for those that should make a sound, and with with musical instruments of God. And the sons of Jeduthun were porters. And all the people departed every man to his house: and David returned to bless his house” (1 Chronicles 16:38-43).

As I sit here this morning, I can’t help but be absolutely captivated with and by the fact that although the LORD broke out upon and in the midst of the initial attempt to bring forth the ark of the Covenant unto the city of Jerusalem, and although David grew displeased with the LORD, and even became afraid of Him as a result, It was still within the heart of David to bring the Ark of the Covenant unto himself in the city of David, and into the place that would be called by the name of the living God. It’s worth noting and mentioning that at this point in time it wasn’t in the heart of David to build a house for the Ark of the Covenant, and it was at this time the LORD hadn’t spoken unto David concerning a house he would build for him, but how he himself wouldn’t build the house. What I find to be so absolutely remarkable and astounding about this narrative of David is that his heart was for the Ark of the Covenant, and for that symbol which represented the glory, the presence, the person, and majesty and the splendor of the living God. From the days of Moses the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD God was a powerful symbol of the presence and glory of the living God present among and in the midst of His people, and eventually there would come a day when David would seek to recover the Ark of the Covenant from the place where it rested—namely, at Kearjath-Jeanine. What makes David’s attempt all the more significant is when you think about and consider the fact that when he sought to bring the Ark of the Covenant unto himself and into the city of Jerusalem, he declared that the Ark of the Covenant had not bee inquired at all during the days of Saul. It should be noted that initially the Ark of the Covenant was brought forth from its place in Shiloh during a time of war with and against the Philistines—not only to fulfill the word which the LORD purposed and proclaimed against that place, as well as to send His glory, His presence, His strength, his power and His might behind enemy lines and straight into the house of their god. I absolutely love the fact that within the Ark of the Covenant being brought forth from its place in Shiloah that not only did it serve as the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophetic word the LORD spoke against and released against the house at Shiloh, but it would also be used by the living God Himself as an instrument of judgment, an instrument of destruction, an instrument of devastation in the midst of the land and territory of the Philistines. For seven months after the Ark of the Covenant was brought forth from its place in Shiloh, and was brought into the midst of battle and captured by the Philistines, the Ark of the Covenant would cause and unleash a fury of devastation, judgment and plagues against three of the five Philistine cities—namely, Ashdod, Gath and Ekron.

If you read the narrative of the Ark of the Covenant you will find that eventually the Philistines would place the Ark of the Covenant upon a new cart that would take it forth from their midst and would ultimately come unto Beth-Shemesh which was in the land of Judah. What makes it so incredibly interesting is that for seven months the living God of Israel—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—wreaked havoc upon and against the Philistines, as He struck them with tumors in their bodies and upon their flesh. When the Philistines consulted with the priests of Dagon, the diviners, and the lords of the Philistines, they determined that in addition to sending forth the Ark of the Covenant from their midst, they needed to send a trespass offering unto the LORD with the Ark. It’s worth n outing that the LORD would strike the Philistines with a plague of tumors while the Ark of the Covenant was present among them in their midst, and when the Ark of the Covenant came unto Beth-Shemesh, the LORD would slaughter fifty-thousand men from that place because they dared look into the Ark of the Covenant. As a direct result of the LORD breaking out in the midst of Beth-shemesh, the people of that city would send unto the people of Kearjath-jearim and inquire of them to come and fetch the Ark of the Covenant that it might depart from them and their midst. Ultimately the men of Kearjath-jearim would come forth from their place and would bring forth the Ark of the Covenant unto themselves where it would stay until the days of the reign of David king of Israel. When David spoke of and declared that they had not inquired of the Ark during the days of Saul, it should be noted that Scripture indicates that Saul reigned for forty-two years as king over the nation of Israel. When you consider how long Saul reigned as king over the nation of Israel, and when you consider the words which David spoke and declared concerning not inquiring of the Ark of the Covenant, it paints quite a telling picture. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that for forty-two years the people of God did not inquire of the Ark of the Covenant, and the Ark of the Covenant would reside in the midst of the Kearjath-Jearim. Not once during Saul’s forty-two year reign did he or the people ever inquire of the Ark of the Covenant, which is what makes David’s desire and intent so incredibly wonderful and beautiful, for it expresses and reveals that David did in fact have a heart of a worshipper and desired to be in the presence and glory of the living God. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that David would not attempt to bring the Ark of the Covenant unto himself in the city of Jerusalem until after he was king over the nation of Israel. This is significant and important, for before David would become king over all Israel, he reigned as king over the tribe of Judah in Hebron for seven years. Add the seven years David reigned as king over the tribe of Judah together with the forty-two years Saul reigned as king over Israel and you will have close to fifty years where the people of God had not inquired and did not inquire of the Ark of the living God of Israel.

I absolutely love the fact that it was in David’s heart to inquire of the Ark of the Covenant, and not only inquire of the Ark of the Covenant, but to also bring the Ark of the Covenant of the God of Israel unto himself in the city of Jerusalem. I love that after more than fifty years of not inquiring of the Ark of the Covenant David purposed within his heart to inquire of the Ark of the Covenant and to bring it forth from its place in Kearjath-jearim and unto the city of Jerusalem. Upon David’s initial attempt to bring the Ark of the Covenant unto himself in the city of Jeruslaem we find that they carried the Ark of God upon a new cart, and that 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. Initially everything appeared to be going well as the Ark was headed toward the city of Jerusalem, and on the surface the worship which took place before the Ark of the Covenant of the God of Israel appeared to be worship most churches and houses of worship could only dream of and imagine in this generation. Oh I would absolutely love to know what that worship sounded like, as not only was it before the Ark of the Covenant, but as David undoubtedly led the procession of worship before the living God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob. There appeared to be a great joy, a great celebration and a great excitement and anticipation regarding and concerning the ark of the covenant being brought unto the city of Jerusalem—that was until the LORD broke forth and broke out against Uzza in the middle of the worship set. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WORSHIP SET! IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WORSHIP SERVICE! It’s truly remarkable and also incredibly ominous to think about and consider the fact that here we have David and all those with him—not only seeking to bring the ark of the covenant unto the city of Jerusalem, but also worshipping before the Ark with all their might with singing and with musician instruments, and yet in the middle of the worship service the LORD broke out upon Uzza because he stretched for his hand to try and steady the Ark of the covenant because of the oxen which were driving the ark stumbled. There in the midst of the celebration, there in the midst of the singing, there in the midst of the worship, there in the midst of the excitement and anticipation the LORD broke forth and broke out against Uzza because he dared stretch forth his hand to steady the Ark of the Covenant. I have to admit that there is a part of me that has to wonder what would have happened in the midst of Israel had the Ark of the Covenant somehow fell over as a direct result of the Ark of the Covenant. Is it possible that Uzza’s actions were in and of themselves purely innocent, and the LORD’s breaking forth upon him was not only an act of mercy upon the nation of Israel on how to handle the sacred and holy things, but also to serve as a warning to David and all those who were with him concerning how the Ark of the Covenant should be treated and handled? What if the LORD breaking out in the middle of the worship service was not only a divine act of mercy upon the living God protecting the nation and people of Israel during that time, but also served as a powerful warning concerning how to handle that which is sacred and holy before and in the sight of the living God of Israel?

Upon reading the rest of this passage you will discover David’s heart for the glory and presence of the living God, and you will experience firsthand David’s heart of and David’s heart for worship before and in the presence of the living God. Unfortunately the LORD would break out in the middle of that worship service, and would interrupt this worshipping warrior’s attempt to bring the Ark of the Covenant unto the city of Jerusalem, and as a direct result, the Ark of the Covenant would be left in the house of Obed-edom where it reside and rest for three months. For three months the Ark of the Covenant would abide within the house of Obed-edom, and during those three months the LORD would bless him, and all that he had. Eventually, however, after those three months were up we find David setting forth to bring forth the ark of the covenant once more—yet this time things would be drastically different. I can’t help but wonder if David watched and observed how Obed-edom and all that he had was blessed, and David desired that blessing to be upon the nation and people of Israel, and as a direct result of this observation and desire he sought to bring the ark of the covenant forth from that place. We aren’t given any insight into what brought David to the point and to the place where he set out one more time to bring the Ark of the Covenant unto himself and into the city of Jerusalem to the place he had prepared for it, but what we do know is that during those three months David learned and discovered how the Ark of the Covenant—yea, even how that which is sacred and holy should be handled. Scripture is unclear at what point during those three months David came to know and understand how the Ark of the Covenant should be transported, but suffice it to say he came to the understanding that the Ark of the Covenant was not to be carried upon new carts and driven by oxen, but should be carried upon the shoulders of the priests high and lifted up before and in the midst of the people. David recognized and understood that the reason the LORD broke out before and upon them three months earlier was because they did not and had not sought God after the due order, and because the priests and Levites themselves did not carry the ark of the covenant upon their shoulders. I can’t help but wonder if during that time David was afraid of the living God he desperately sought the face of and inquired of the LORD—not only concerning what went wrong and why a breach was made upon them, but also how he could bring the Ark of the Covenant unto the city of Jerusalem, and unto the place he had prepared for it—he would either read in the book of the Law of Moses, or would be instructed by a priest, Levite or prophet concerning the true and proper order for which the Ark of the Covenant should be transported and handled. We aren’t given any clue, nor are we given any indication as to what caused and what brought David to the place where he realized the error and fault of that initial attempt, but what we do know and understand is that David undoubtedly recognized and understood what went wrong that first time, and as a direct result of this revelation, he made the necessary correction in order to bring the Ark of the Covenant safely unto himself, and safely into the city of Jerusalem.

What I so love about both of these passages is not only David’s desire for the glory and presence of the living God he worshipped and served, but also the tremendous display of how the heart that was within David was indeed and was in fact a heart of a worshipper. What’s more, is that I would dare say that it was David’s desire for worship, and it was David’s desire for the Ark of the Covenant that sparked a tremendous fire in the midst of the Levites, as well as in the midst of the priests. I do not believe for one minute that the priests and the Levites had somehow stopped performing their duties at the Tabernacle of Moses which still stood in the midst of the land, however, there was something different about David’s actions during this time that began to ignore a renewed vigor, a renewed fervor, a renewed passion for worship. In fact, if you read the Old Testament book of Psalms you will notice that it wasn’t merely David who wrote psalms, but within this Old Testament book we also find Asaph as well as the sons of Korah writing their own psalms of worship. There is not a doubt in my mind that what began within the heart of David would eventually and ultimately spill over into the hearts and lives of the priests and the Levites, and that not only was there a renewed sense of the ministry of the sanctuary, but there was also a renewed sense of worship, of wonder, of awe, and delight in the living God of Israel. RESTORING DELIGHT TO THE SANCTUARY! RESTORING DELIGHT IN THE MIDST OF THE HOUSE! RESTORING DELIGHT IN THE HEARTS OF THE PRIESTS! RESTORING DELIGHT IN THE HEARTS OF THE LEVITES! WHEN THE MINISTERS OF THE LIVING GOD DELIGHT IN HIM ONCE MORE! Oh how I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with and by the words which are found within these chapters, for in order to understand the significance of what is found in the final chapters of the book of First Chronicles it is first necessary to understand the great joy, the great excitement, the great anticipation, the great jubilation and celebration that began to fill and flood the hearts of the people once more. I would dare say that both priest and Levite alike, both warrior and common person alike, as well as the king all found themselves coming face to face with the beautiful expression of worship before and in the sight of the living God. There is not a doubt in my mind that what we find within this chapter is not only the heart of a worshipper pursuing the glory and presence of the LORD, but an open invitation to the priests and Levites to join and participate with him in that celebration and in that pursuit. It was within the heart of David to pursue the Ark of the Covenant, and to pursue the glory and presence of the living God, and when you come to the fifteenth chapter of this book you find David mobilizing both the Levites and the priests to help facilitate and bring about the pursuit of the glory. MOBILIZING THE PRIESTS! MOBILIZING THE LEVITES! CALLING ALL WORSHIPPERS! WILL THE TRUE WORSHIPPERS PLEASE STAND UP!

As I sit here this morning I find myself encountering and coming face to face with the fact that within this narrative we essentially see two different types of hearts. There is the heart that was within David which was a heart of worship, adoration and awe before and in the sight of the living God, and there was the heart of his wife Michal who upon seeing David dancing and singing with all his might despised him in her heart. Here we find David having mobilized both priests and Levites in order to bring the Ark of the Covenant of the God of Israel into the city of David, and we find David undoubtedly once more leading the procession of worship before the Ark as it entered into the city of Jerusalem, and while countless other hearts were filled with excitement, with anticipation, with jubilation, and with celebration, there was at least one heart in the city that would not have any part of it. THERE’S ALWAYS ONE! THERE’S ALWAYS THAT ONE HEART! I can’t help but consider the absolutely tremendous fact that regardless of how much celebration, regardless of how much jubilation, regardless of how much anticipation and excitement there is in worship in the midst of the assembly and in the midst of the congregation, there will always be at least that one single heart that not only despises the worship which is taking place, but might even despise the worshipper himself. What’s so incredibly telling about Michal’s response is that as she saw David singing and dancing before the living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and as she saw David worshipping before the LORD—she didn’t despise the worship that was taking place, she didn’t despise the singing that was taking place, she didn’t despise the sound of music that undoubtedly filled the streets of the city. What we find within this narrative is perhaps something that is far more sinister and far more dangerous, for Michal didn’t despise worship in her heart, but she despised the worshipper in her heart. DESPISING THE WORSHIPPER WITHIN YOUR HEART! How absolutely tragic it is to watch and behold Michal as she sees this tremendous procession of celebration and jubilation in the streets of the city, and instead of joining in and being part of the procession herself, she looked upon David and despised him in her heart. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this absolutely tragic and dangerous place within the heart of Michal, for not only did she despise the worshipper, but she despised the worshipper in her heart. DESPISING THE WORSHIPPER WITHIN THE HEART! Within the person of Michal I can’t help but see a picture of those within our houses of worship and our churches who stand in the midst of the worship which takes place all around them, and not only do they choose not to join in and participate, but they also despise the worshippers around them within their heart. If there is one thing we must recognize concerning Michal it’s that Scripture doesn’t describe how she despised the worship in her heart, nor that she despised the Levites in her heart, nor that she despised the priests within her heart, nor even that she despised the worship of David within her heart. Instead, that which Michal despised within her heart was David himself, for she despised the worshipper rather than the worshipper. Please catch and understand this fact, for it is incredibly tragic and dangerous to find yourself in a place when others are singing, when others are dancing, when others are playing music with instruments, and are participating and joining in a great celebration, and all you can do is look out from your “window” and despise others within your heart.

THERE IS ALWAYS A WINDOW IN THE CHURCH! THERE ARE ALWAYS WINDOWS WITHIN THE CHURCH! WHEN YOU WOULD RATHER BE A BYSTANDER THAN A PARTICIPANT! WHEN YOU WOULD RATHER OBSERVE THAN PARTICIPATE! I sit here this morning and I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that simply being a casual observer in the midst of a worship service is incredibly dangerous, for it can position us in a place where we perhaps not only despise worship as a whole, but we actually despise the worshipper(s) within our heart. In all reality, I would dare say there is something truly sinister and truly dangerous to simply observe through one’s window in the midst of the sanctuary, and watch and behold as others worship before the LORD, as others sing and dance before the LORD, and as others make music before the LORD, and yet you yourself have absolutely no desire to join in and participate yourselves. I sit here this morning and am absolutely gripped and captivated with the fact that in every pew, in every row, in every sanctuary, in every house of worship there is always a window through which men and women can look out upon the worship that is taking place. It is when and as men and women choose to look through the window and causally observe the worship that takes place in the midst of the people of God rather than participate and join in that something truly dangerous and tragic takes place—namely, despising the worshippers within one’s heart. Please don’t enter into the sanctuary and house of worship when the doors of our churches finally reopen and simply be a casual observer who merely looks out upon the worship, and who merely looks out upon the celebration that is found within the hearts of others, and don’t have any desire within your own heart to join in and participate in the worship before the throne of the living God. I firmly believe that in every sanctuary there is always a window through which men and women can look through. I firmly believe that within every sanctuary there is always at least one or more Michals who choose to look through that window, and who choose to observe the worship and celebration that takes place, and instead of participating in the worship they cast judgment and condemnation within their heart. Consider if you will the narrative and exchange which took place between David and Michal when not only did she despise him in her heart, but she also dared confront the worshipper for his worship. CONFRONTING THE WORSHIPPER FOR THEIR WORSHIP! CONDEMNING THE WORSHIPPER FOR THEIR WORSHIP! Consider if you will the following words which are written and recorded in the Old Testament book of Second Samuel as not only did Michal despise David within her heart, but she also dared confront him within and from that place of judgment, condemnation, and perhaps even disgust and disdain:

“And it was told king David, saying, The LORD hath blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom into the city of David with gladness. And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings. And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart. And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. And as soon as David had made an end of offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts. And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. So all the people departed every one to his house. Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself! And David said unto Michal, It was before the LORD, which chose me before thy father, and before all this house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel: therefore will I play before the LORD. And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour. Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death” (2 Samuel 6:12-23).

Within this passage—not only do we see and encounter Michal despising David within her heart when she saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD, but we also find her coming out to meet David in order that she might confront and condemn him for his worship before the LORD. It’s worth noting that not only did Michal despise David within her heart, but she also dared confront David because of his worship, and because in the process of leaping and dancing he abased himself in her sight. It should be noted that Michal’s words made it sound as though what she was speaking of was the general thought and sentiment of those within the city of Jerusalem, and yet the truth of the matter is that the words which Michal expressed before and in the presence of David were simply her way of expressing her disgust and disdain for David in her heart when she saw and beheld him worshipping the LORD his God. Please don’t quickly move past and lose sight of this thought, for within it we encounter and come face to face with the fact that Michal looked out her window upon the procession that was taking place, she saw and beheld David leaping and dancing with all his might before the LORD, and she despised him in her heart. We dare not miss and lose sight of this, for Michal didn’t despise the worship of David, nor did Michal despise the procession and celebration that was taking place in the midst of the city with the Ark of the Covenant coming into the midst of it, but she instead despised David within her heart. It’s necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this, for as I have already mentioned—there has always been and there will always be that single heart within the sanctuary, and in the midst of the people of God that looks upon and beholds the worship which is taking place, and which despises the worshipper. Here we have David worshipping the living God with all his might, and we find David leading a tremendous procession of celebration and excitement before the LORD as he was surrounded by Levites and priests who themselves were singing, were dancing, were making joyful sounds and noises with instruments of music, and which were celebrating the great grace and mercy of the living God, as He helped the Levites bring the Ark of the covenant into the midst of the city. What makes this truly intriguing is when you think about and consider the fact that Michal undoubtedly saw the priests and the Levites worshipping, singing, dancing, and making a joyful noise with instruments of music, and yet we find absolutely no mention of her despising the priests, nor the Levites. Instead, what we find is Michal looking out from her window and beholding David the king of Israel dancing and leaping before the LORD with all his might, and upon seeing and beholding his worship and his expression before the LORD, she despised him in her heart. Pause for a moment and think about what that heart would have to look like, and what that heart would have to be like in order that one can behold another worshipping the LORD with all their might, and can despise the worshipper within their heart.

It’s quite interesting and intriguing to think about and consider that while David mobilized the priests and the Levites to carry and bring the Ark of the Covenant into the midst of the city, and while the priests, while the Levites, and while pretty much much of Jerusalem worshipped before the LORD, there was Michal looking out from a window in her house upon the great procession that was taking place, and upon seeing David leaping and dancing with all his might, she dared despise David within her heart. I absolutely love that within this narrative and setting—not only do we find the worshipping heart, but we also find the despising heart. What’s more, is that more often than not the heart that despises is often times the heart that casually observes, and the heart that casually sits back and beholds what is taking place rather than actually participating in the great celebration which takes place before the LORD. What I find truly captivating when reading the words in this narrative is how there was the heart of David which worshipped before the LORD with reckless abandon without any regard for himself, and there was the heart of Michal who despised David within her heart upon seeing and beholding this worship. It is truly captivating to think about and consider the fact that while the priests, while the Levites and while even David the king of Israel were worshipping before the living God with singing, with dancing, and with instruments of music, there was at least one heart in the midst of the people of the city that was disgusted with what was taking place, and as a direct result of that disgust looked upon David and despised him within her heart. It is worth noting this heart that was within Michal, for this heart that was found within Michal was a sharp contrast to the heart that was found in the Levites, in the priests of the LORD, and even in David the king of Israel. It’s necessary to understand this contrast in hearts before the LORD—particularly and especially when you read chapters twenty-four and twenty-six, for it was in direct response to the Ark of the Covenant being brought into the city of Jerusalem that worship began to be completely and utterly transformed in the midst of the city-What’s more, is that not only was worship transformed in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, but also within the nation and land of Israel itself. As you read the sixteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of First Chronicles you will find that when the Ark of God was brought into the city of David and set in the midst of the tent which David prepared of it, the priests and the Levites offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings before God. What’s more, is that after David had made an end of offering the burnt offerings and peace offerings he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, and to record, and to thank and praise the God of Israel. Moreover, we also find that those who were to minister before the ark of God were to minister with trumpets continually as they worshipped and praised the living God.

The more I think about this reality, the more I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that as you read the words which are found within the Old Testament book of the Psalms you will find that it wasn’t merely David who wrote many of the psalms which we so absolutely love and appreciate. Included in the compilation of the Psalms are those which were written by Asaph, as well as psalms which were written by the sons of Korah. I can’t help but wonder how many psalms were inspired there before the Ark of God in the midst of the city of Jerusalem during the days of David king of Israel. I can’t help but wonder how many psalms and songs and hymns were sang before the ark of God and in the presence of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. How much inspiration took place there before the ark of God as the priests and the Levites ministered before the LORD continually both day and night? I would imagine that there before the ark of God there was all day and all night worship that took place in His presence, as those who were appointed to minister continually before the ark of God worshipped and praised the living God of Israel. It is absolutely necessary that we understand just how significant the ark of God being brought in the midst of the city of Jerusalem truly was, for the presence of the ark of God in the midst of the city would ignite a tremendous fire and flame of worship that undoubtedly had been absent—not only during the days of Saul king of Israel, but also during the days of the judges. The ark of God being brought into the city of Jerusalem, and the ark of God being placed in the tent which David had prepared for it would ignite a fervent worship before the living God in the midst of the land of Israel, as there were those who were specifically appointed to minister before the ark of the covenant of God both day and night. When you come to the end of the sixteenth chapter you will find that Asaph and his brethren were left before the ark of the covenant of the living God to minister before the ark continually, as each and every day’s work required. What’s more, is that there wasn’t merely a fervent worship which took place in the city of Jerusalem before the ark of the covenant of God, but in Gibeon at the place where the Tabernacle of the LORD was Zadok the priest, and his brethren the priests were appointed to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD upon the altar of burnt offering continually morning and evening, and to do all that was written in the law of the LORD. Moreover, we also find that with Zadok and the priests were others who were chosen and expressed by name who were appointed to give thanks to the LORD, and to worship the living God with musical instruments of God. The presence of the ark of the covenant of God ushered in a tremendous period of restored and renewed worship in the midst of the land of Israel as David who was this worshipping warrior-king set out to ignite a flame and fire of worship in the midst of the land. Oh how absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that there in the midst of the city of Jerusalem—and not only in Jerusalem, but also in Gibeon where the Tabernacle of the LORD was present—a powerful sense of worship would begin to fill the land once more as the priests, as the Levites, and perhaps even as the people themselves would begin to worship before the LORD, the God of Israel.

If you are to truly understand the words which are written and recorded within chapters twenty-four through twenty-six of this Old Testament book of First Chronicles it’s important to note that this order of the priests, and this order of the Levites would be set in motion by the presence of the ark of the covenant of the living God in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. When the ark of the covenant of God was brought into the city of Jerusalem, it was more than simply the ark of the covenant of God being brought in the midst of the people, but it was about worship once more being restored in the midst of the people of God, and the ministry of the Levites and priests being restored within the land. It would be David who was himself a worshipper at heart who would bring back the ark of the covenant of the living God into the midst of the land, and would rest it in the place which he had prepared for it, and it would be the presence of the ark of God in the midst of the people of God that would spark a wonderful and powerful sense of worship that would begin to fill the land. I have to admit that it’s absolutely and utterly amazing to think about and consider what the heart of one worshipper can do, for it was the worshipping heart of David that would ignite this flame of worship within the hearts of the Levites, within the hearts of the priests, and within the hearts of the people. During the days of David there would be a renewed sense of passion for worship, and renewed passion for giving thanks before and unto the living God for His mercy endured forever. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truly wonderful and incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss out and lose sight of just how critical and important it would be for the ark of the covenant of God to be present in the midst of the city, and how worship itself would be restored during the days of the reign of this worshipping king of Israel. What’s more, is that before David died he would set in motion the appointment and division of the priests and the Levites for the work of the house of the LORD that would be built in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. It should be noted that not only did David bring the ark of the covenant into the midst of the city, but David also knew and understood that there would be a house that would be built within the city—a house that would house the Ark of the covenant of the living God, and a house where the priests and the Levites would minister before the LORD. When you come to the final chapters of the book of First Chronicles you will find and discover that everything that is mentioned is indeed preparation for the house of the LORD that was going to be built in the midst of the city of Jerusalem—a house where the priests and the Levites would minister before the LORD, and a house where burnt offerings and sacrifices would be offered before the LORD continually both day and night. Everything we find and everything we read in these chapters is a truly powerful description of a renewed and restored worship that would be present in the midst of the land of Israel, as David was not only preparing his son to build the house, and not only preparing the priests and Levites to minister before the LORD, but also preparing the people for a house that would be built in the midst of the city of Jerusalem where they would come and worship before the LORD their God. During these final moments of David’s life we find a strong preparation taking place within and in the midst of the land in order that the people, the priests and his own son might be ready in order that they might engage themselves in the work of the house of the LORD.

If you read the final words which are written and recorded within the twenty-second chapter of the Old Testament book of First Chronicles you will find David speaking directly to the princes of Israel concerning their assistance and helping his son Solomon when the time came for him to build the house and sanctuary of the living God. If you begin reading with and from the seventeenth verse of the chapter you will find the following words which the author of the book of First Chronicles wrote concerning the words which David himself spoke unto the princes of the land in order that they might come alongside his son to help him build the Temple and sanctuary of the living God. Not only do I invite you to consider the final words which are written and recorded in the twenty-second chapter of the book of First Chronicles, but I also invite you to consider the words which are written and recorded within the opening verses of the twenty-third chapter:

“David also commanded all the princes of Israel to help Solomon his son, saying, Is not the LORD your God with you? And hath he not given you rest on every side? For he hath given the inhabitants of the land into mine hand; and the land is subdued before the LORD, and before his people. Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of the LORD” (1 Chronicles 22:17-19).

“So when David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel. And he gathered together all the princes of Israel, with the priests and the Levites. Now the Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and upward: and their number by their polls, man by man, was thirty and eight thousand. Of which, twenty and four thousand were to set forward the work of the house of the LORD; and six thousand were officers and judges: moreover four thousand were porters; and four thousand praised the LORD with the instruments which I made, said David, to praise there with. And David divided them into courses among the sons of Levi, namely, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari” (1 Chronicles 23:1-6).

What is truly beautiful about the words we find written and recorded in this passage of Scripture is when you think about and consider the fact that the Ark of the Covenant of the God of Israel had already been brought into the city of Jerusalem, and David had already appointed priests and Levites to minister—both before the Ark of the Covenant in the city of Jerusalem, as well as before the Tabernacle of Moses which was still at Gibeon. What David was preparing right now was the house and sanctuary which his own son would be built, and the worship that would take place there in the midst of the sanctuary. Oh I can’t help but wonder if David had a vision of what this Temple and sanctuary would look like, and what worship would look like before the LORD there in the city of Jerusalem. We know that the pattern and design for the sanctuary was given unto David by inspiration from the God whom he served, and we know that pattern was passed down to David’s son Solomon who would indeed build the house of the living God. What I find within these chapters is a continuation of what David had already begun to set in motion within and in the midst of Jerusalem a renewed sense of worship before the living God, yet what we find him doing prior to his death was not only commissioning his son, but also commissioning the house that was to be built before and unto the living God. It must be understood that what we find and what we read within these chapters is a truly powerful picture of David preparing his son, and preparing that next generation for a house that would be built in the midst of the city that would bear the name of the living God. Before David died and went the way of his fathers and the way of all the earth he prepared that next generation for a house that would be built among them in their midst—one where the people of God could worship the LORD with their offerings, with their sacrifices and with the gifts they would bring before the LORD. The more I read these final words the more I can’t help but come face to face with the fact that not only was David calling all workers to the work of building the house of the LORD, but David was also calling all worshippers to prepare themselves to come unto this sanctuary that would be build in the city of Jerusalem for the glory and fame of the living God. I cannot help but come face to face with the reality that David the king of Israel was sounding a clarion call—both to workers and worshippers alike—and preparing them for when the house of the LORD would be among them in their midst. Bringing the Ark of the Covenant of the God of Israel was in all reality the first stage and first step in the people preparing themselves to worship before the living God, and when you come to the book of Second Chronicles, as well as the book of Second Kings you will find perhaps one of the largest, one of the greatest worship services that ever took place in the history of the nation of Israel—one that would be rivaled by the worship and celebration of the Passover that would take place during the days of Hezekiah and Josiah, which would be two kings who sit upon the throne of David in the city of Jerusalem. What’s more, is that when you come to the latter portion of the twenty-third chapter of the Old Testament book of First Chronicles you will find the following words which describe the great undertaking and the great restoration of worship before the LORD in the midst of the city of Jerusalem and in the midst of His holy land. Consider the following words which the author of the book of First Chronicles wrote beginning with the the twenty-fourth verse of the chapter:

“These were the sons of Levi after the house of their fathers; even the chief of the fathers, as they were counted by number o names by their polls, that did the work for the service of the house of the LORD, from the age of twenty years and upward. For David said, the LORD GOD of Israel hath given rest unto his people, that they may dwell in Jerusalem for ever: and also unto the Levites; they shall no more carry the tabernacle, nor any vessels of it for the service thereof. For by the last words of David the Levites were numbered from twenty years old and above: because their office was to wait on the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of the LORD, in the courts, and in the chambers, and in the purifying of all holy things, and the work of the service of the house of God; both for the shewbread, and for the fine flour for meat offering, and for the unleavened cakes, and for that which is baked in the pan, and for that which is fried, and for all manner of measure and size; and to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at even; and to offer all burnt sacrifices unto the LORD in the sabbaths, in the new moons, and on the set feasts, by number, according to the order commanded unto them, continually before the LORD: and that they should keep the charge of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the holy place, and the charge of the sons of Aaron their brethren, in the service of the house of the LORD” (1 Chronicles 23:24-32).

FOR BY THE LAST WORDS OF DAVID THE LEVITES WERE NUMBERED! Please pay careful and close attention to the words which are found within this final portion of the twenty-third chapter, for what you will find within this section of Scripture is a truly powerful picture of David—not only numbering the priests and Levites of the LORD ages twenty years old and above, but you will also find written and recorded within this passage of Scripture one of the things that was most precious to David. I can’t help but wonder in the final moments of your life if you aren’t confronted with that which was most precious within and during your life, and if in the final moments of your life others around you aren’t able to truly see and catch a glimpse of what was truly important, and what was truly necessary within your life. Those words—“for by the last words of David the Levites were numbered”—present us with and bring us face to face with the fact that that which David cared about the most, and that which David was the most passionate about within and during his life was worshipping before the LORD his God. Over and above the battlefield, and over and above warfare and engaging enemies in conflict and battle, David’s single greatest passion and single greatest desire was to worship the LORD. What’s more, is that David wasn’t only concerned with his own worship of the LORD, but David was also concerned with those in his generation, as well as those in the next generation who would worship the LORD. David would spend the final moments of his life coordinating worship of the LORD, and commissioning the sanctuary of the LORD to be built, and his son Solomon to build the house, and within this truth we come face to face with just how vital, just how important, and just how necessary worship was within David’s life, and just how important ministering before the LORD truly was. Despite the fact that David would engage enemies and adversaries in battle, and despite the fact that David would be used of the LORD to bring rest and peace in the midst of the land and nation of Israel, David would do something that was far greater and far more valuable than anything he did on the battlefield—namely, providing the pattern for the sanctuary to the next generation, and preparing an entire nation and future generations to worship before the throne of the living God. David would indeed be used by the living God to engage enemies and adversaries in battle, but there is perhaps no greater legacy, and perhaps no greater assignment David engaged himself in than restoring and renewing worship in the midst of the people of God. It was because of what was found within the heart of David that the ark of the covenant of the God of Israel would be brought into the city of Jerusalem—and not only the ark of the covenant of the God of Israel be brought into the city of Jerusalem, but also a passionate and emboldened plea for corporate worship to be renewed and restored in the midst of the land. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely wonderful reality, for it brings us face to face with what was truly at the very heart and center of the heart of David—namely, worship of the living God. Consider if you will the words which are found in the twenty-seventh chapter of the book of the Psalms beginning to read with and from the first and 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 confident. 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 hast 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 fainted, 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” (Psalm 27:1-14).

As I bring this writing to a close I find it necessary to call and draw our attention to the fact of just how important worship was within the heart of David, and how as you come to the end of his life you will find out what truly mattered the most to him. More often than not it is in the final days, the final hours and the final moments of someone’s life when you can truly get a glimpse of what was most important to them, and for David we are encountering the tremendous truth that that which was most important to him was worshipping before the LORD his God—the one who had been his strength, the One who had been his refuge, the One who had been his shield, and the One who had faithfully protected and provided for him. In these final moments, in these final hours, and in these final days of David’s life we find him commissioning a house and sanctuary that would be built by his own son Solomon who would also sit upon his throne. In these final days and moments of David’s life we encounter a man who diligently and faithfully sought to provide for the building of the sanctuary, as well as preparing both the priests and Levites for the work of the service of the sanctuary, as well as the people themselves to worship the LORD their God. At the end of David’s life he sought to call the workers and the worshippers alike to the sanctuary of the LORD, for there would be those who would be commissioned to help build and construct this magnificent house of the living God. Moreover, David sought to ensure that the priests and Levites were ready for the day that would come when they would no longer minister before the Ark of the Covenant of the God of Israel at the tent he had prepared and pitched for it, and when they would no longer minister at the Tabernacle which was at Gibeon. Oh please don’t miss this truly astounding truth, for within these chapters we find a clarion call to worshippers and ministers of the LORD, and a collective call to both to gather themselves at the sanctuary and house of the LORD. SEE YOU AT THE HOUSE! SEE YOU AT THE SANCTUARY! When you come to the end of the life of David king of Israel you will find at the very heart of everything he did and everything he did a powerful call to workers, to ministers, and to worshippers alike to gather themselves together at the sanctuary in order that the work of the house, in order that the ministry of the house, and in order that the worship of the house might be carried out and completed. Oh that we would recognize and understand during these days that there is a powerful and clarion call for the workers of the house, the ministers of the house, and the worshippers in the house to gather themselves together in order that there might be a powerful sound of worship that might echo within the earth as a people rise up to worship before the throne of the God whom they faithfully serve and follow.

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