II Sam. 1-10
Todays reading reminds us of the rule we learned in other lessons, “If we obey God he blesses us but if we disobey him we suffer for our sins.” The one who made us knows us better than we know ourselves and whatever he tells us is for our own good. His way helps us to be happy now and later to live in heaven with him. Everyone has problems sometimes, but as long as we depend on him and his way he’ll take care of us. Think about all the ways Saul depended on himself instead of following God! That’s why the Lord wanted a man after his own heart to be king in his place. As the new king David would make mistakes but he always repented and never forgot that God was there to help him.
One of King David’s first acts was to build the capitol city in Jerusalem. The heathen Jebusites there on Mt. Zion thought no one could capture it, but they didn’t know David’s God. With his help, David conquered them and built a strong fortress there.
David also built a beautiful palace in Jerusalem. His friend King Hiram of Tyre floated cedar logs down the coastline for David’s house so it would be grand and beautiful. A house made of cedar wood was special in those days; most houses were made from mud bricks.
After several great battles the Philistines were beaten too badly to bother God’s people as they had in the past. God helped David defeat his other enemies, too.
Soon David made his plans to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. Taking 3,000 of Israel’s best man, he had the ark set on a new cart and brought down from Abinadad’s house where it had been for twenty years. Abinadad’s sons Uzzah and Ahio drove the oxen hitched to the cart. David and his men went joyfully before it, playing on their harps, cymbals, and tambourines, What a happy procession that was!
Suddenly their merrymaking stopped, Abinadad’s son Uzzah was dead! One of the oxen had stumbled and, maybe without thinking, Uzzah had reached his hand out to steady the ark. God was so angry to see his command about moving the ark disobeyed that he struck Uzzah dead on the spot.
How do you think David and his men felt then? Since it had been his idea to move the ark, Davis seemed to blame himself. He was so upset he left the ark in the house of Obed, an Israelite who lived nearby, and sorrowfully took his company back to Jerusalem.
After three months, David decided to move the ark again. This time, however, he was careful to follow the instructions God gave through Moses. He sent priests down to bring the ark back on their shoulders with poles, saying, “…the first time the Lord our God broke out against us because we did not consult him about the proper order.” To further show their desire to please the Lord, the people offered sacrifices along the way.
There was great celebration when the ark finally reached Jerusalem David gave all the people gifts of bread, meat and raisin cakes. Then priests were appointed so that sacrifices could be offered each morning and evening for the people, just as God had commanded in the law of Moses.
Now David decided to build a house for God. It did not seem right for him to have such a beautiful palace while the ark was still in a tent. “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains,” he told God’s prophet Nathan. At first Nathan told God to go ahead with his plans. That night, however, God spoke to Nathan, saying, “Go tell my servant David, ‘You shall not build me a house to dwell in.”
God said he would set up David’s kingdom to last forever and someone from his family would be its king. After David had died, one of his sons would build a house for the Lord. That was enough for David. With gladness in his heart, he went before the Lord to praise him for all these wonderful promises.
Even David, who the Scriptures tell us was a man after God’s own heart had to learn that the only way to successfully do something is God’s way.