2 Samuel 5:1-5; 6:1-5; Psalm 150
Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron, and said, ‘Look, we are your bone and flesh. For some time, while Saul was king over us, it was you who led out Israel and brought it in. The Lord said to you: It is you who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you who shall be ruler over Israel.’ So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron; and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for forty years. At Hebron he reigned over Judah for seven years and six months; and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah for thirty-three years.
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.
Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty firmament!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his surpassing greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with clanging cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
As I reflected on these readings this week, I couldn’t help but recall the one about an elderly lady who was well-known for her faith and for her boldness in talking about it. She would stand on her front porch and shout, “PRAISE THE LORD!” Next door to her lived an atheist who would get so angry at her shouts that he would shout back, “There ain’t no Lord!!” Hard times set in on the elderly lady, and she prayed for God to send her some assistance. She stood on her porch and shouted, “PRAISE THE LORD. GOD, I NEED FOOD!! I’M HAVING A HARD TIME. PLEASE LORD, SEND ME SOME GROCERIES!!”
The next morning the lady went out on her porch and found a large bag of groceries and naturally shouted, “PRAISE THE LORD!” The neighbor jumped from behind a bush and said, “Aha! I told you there was no Lord. I bought those groceries, God didn’t.” The lady started jumping up and down and clapping her hands and said, “PRAISE THE LORD! He not only sent me groceries, but He made the devil pay for them as well! Praise the Lord!”
And isn’t that how God likes to reveal his glory, through unlikely people in unlikely situations?! I love hearing stories of God using nonbelievers to only strengthen the faiths of believers. And it happens all the time! God constantly uses the unbelief of people as an opportunity to reveal his mighty power. It’s like He sees the unbelief as a challenge, a dare. “Ok, don’t believe in me and what I can do? Then watch this! Oh, and who’s the fool now?!” I’ve seen it happen countless times when God rises to the challenge and reveals their foolishness. God will not be mocked, nor will God be ignored. Our God is a God of relationship and in that relationship, He is to be feared. Only a fool would deny our God, let alone challenge his mighty power. Our God can do unimaginable things. Our God can do IMPOSSIBLE things! Our God isn’t a joke and anyone who believes otherwise is the real joke. Just look at how He turned that nonbeliever into a joke…
Better yet, look at how God took that little shepherd boy, David, and turned him into a mighty king who reigned for 40 years. Again, God used an unlikely person from an unlikely situation to reveal his full glory. David was just as unqualified to reign as Moses was to lead the Israelites out of slavery. Yet God continually put David in unlikely situations to reveal his glory. From the fields of battle to the court of a king, David was continually put in situations that shepherd boys rarely found themselves in. Why? Because he had a “heart for God.” He was receptive and attentive to God. He trusted God, loved God, and that was all that God needed to use him. David may not have had the qualifications, but he had the heart and sometimes that’s enough. Sometimes it isn’t what we bring to the table that matters but rather who we bring to the table. Sure, David brought a lot to the table with his good looks, keen intellect, and various talents. But it was his receptiveness to God that enabled him to achieve greatness. It was God working in and through David that made him great.
It was God who defeated Israel’s enemies. It was God who governed over his beloved people, Israel. It was God working through David. And if God can do all that through him, then imagine what God can do through us. Remember, it isn’t necessarily what we bring to the table but rather who we bring to the table that matters. If we bring God to the table, then we bring a pretty powerful person to the table. We just have to be receptive to God. We just have to listen as I suggested a couple weeks ago when Moses reminded the wandering the Israelites of God’s commandments. God is speaking to us all the time, from the warring nations to the natural disasters to the sicknesses around us. What is God saying to us? Is God pleased with how we’re taking care of each other and his creation? Is this the world God created for us or is it a world we created for ourselves? Where is God in this world? These are hard questions we have to ask ourselves. But we have to ask them and more importantly listen to what God has to say. We have to have “hearts for God” just as David had and allow God to work through us.
It’s interesting that our reading flows from David being anointed (for the 3rd time…1st by the prophet, Samuel, then by the people of Judah and now by all of Israel) to David having the ark of the covenant brought to Jerusalem. Keep in mind that the ark represented God’s presence. Wherever the ark went, there was God, and it was a time before temples. But clearly God was with David all along whether the ark was with him or not. God is with those who open themselves to him. God is with us this morning because we have opened ourselves to him. And God will do mighty things in and through us! It’s only fitting that we should gather to praise his mighty deeds. We should praise God as David would have us praise him in his 150th psalm. It’s God within us that does all the mighty deeds. The apostle, Paul, advises us in his letter to the Colossians, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.” (vs. 3:16) We ought to cry out as the prophet, Isaiah, does, “O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name; for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.” (25:1) What about the prophet, Daniel, when he was being bullied by Nebuchadnezzar? “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are truth, and his ways are justice; and he is able to bring low those who walk in pride.” (4:37) Friends, all three men praised God for his mighty deeds in their times. Our God deserves our praise and thanksgiving! Our God is an awesome God who can do some awesome things! Only a fool would believe otherwise.
God worked through David to reveal his glory. God works through all those who are receptive to him. David’s witness testifies to this truth. Our God is a good and generous God. We may wonder where God is in this world, and I believe He’s within us and all his creation. We just have to allow him to reveal his glory. And He will…if He did it through David, He can do it through us. Let us be open and receptive to him and give him our praise. Thanks be to God!
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.