A lesson – 2 Samuel 6:1-5
David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. David and all the people with him set out and went from Baale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who is enthroned on the cherubim. They carried the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart with the ark of God; and Ahio went in front of the ark. David and all the house of Israel were dancing before the Lord with all their might, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals.
The first king of Israel was Saul – though Saul didn’t work out so well. While Saul was floundering, the prophet Samuel went looking for a new king, and God directed him to David, the youngest of the sons of Jesse. While he had no leadership experience (save for shepherding flocks of sheep), he proved to be an excellent King. He unified the people, he remembered the covenant that God had made with us, he established Jerusalem as the capital city, and he began plans for a great Temple in that city.
Another prophet, Nathan, told him that unfortunately he would not be the king to build this Temple for God; that would have to wait. However, while delivering this bad news, he offered him some good news too: God would preserve his descendants and do great things with his family. Even though David had some moral failings, people looked to the house and lineage of David for centuries after him as a family whom God had blessed. And, when the prophets and sages of old foretold the coming of the Messiah into the world they reminded people to look to this family, to a descendant of the house of David.
Interestingly, there are two distinct and separate histories of King David in the Hebrew Bible – one in the Books of Samuel and Kings and the other in the Books of the Chronicles. The author of Chronicles spares us of almost any details where David would look bad, even to the point of completely glossing over the episode with Bathsheba. The author of Samuel I & II and Kings I gives us a more rounded telling of David’s story, where he is depicted as a great leader AND a human being who is subject to normal human failings.
The authors of the Gospels go to great lengths to remind us that Jesus comes from David’s stock, and that Jesus coming from the house and lineage of David was a fulfillment of the promises of God.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence
and take not your holy Spirit from me.
Give me the joy of your saving help again
and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.
(From Psalm 51, a psalm that is said to have been composed by David after the Bathsheba affair.)