David Danced Before the Ark of the Lord

My dear friends, the first reading is very interesting. It expresses the joy of King David before the Ark of the Lord. He moved the Ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the capital city of Jerusalem, which he recovered from his enemies with great rejoicing.

Recall that the Ark of the Covenant had been captured by the Philistines and they had a serious problem or encounter with God over the Ark. As such, they later returned it to Israel during the reign of Saul. But the nation was in turmoil under the rule of Saul and the Ark was kept in a man’s house for twenty years. That man’s name was Obed-edom and his household was immensely blessed by God beyond imagination for keeping and protecting the Ark of the Covenant. However, when David became the King of Israel, he decided to return the Ark from the house of Obed-edom to the capital city of Jerusalem which was regarded as the city David (2 Samuel 5:7). He brought the Ark back as a visible sign of God’s presence among his people to ensure that God’s blessings would follow and be part of Israel’s future. He enthroned God as the ‘First and the Last,’ the ‘Be All and End All’ of Israel. He made God in charge of his kingdom and a priority of the people of Israel.

The Joy of David

The remarkable achievement of moving the Ark of God to Jerusalem was very precious to David because he wanted to establish the abode of God among the people. “And when the bearers of the Ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fat sheep in thanksgiving to God. And David danced, whirling round before the Lord with all his might, wearing a linen loincloth round him” (2 Samuel 6:14). His dance was a natural expression of his joy and thanksgiving to God. It was a way of unreserved devotion and adoration to God for accepting Israel back and choosing him to be their king (cf. 2 Samuel 6: 15-16).

King David cherished the bringing back of the Ark of the Covenant to Israel and celebrated it. He almost made it a national feast as he shared a ‘roll of bread to everyone, a portion of dates, and a raisin cake’ (2 Samuel 6:19). They happily returned home in thanksgiving to God for now being part of their nation. And later, due to the Ark of the Covenant, Jerusalem became the epicentre of worship of God. Hence, the psalmist says: ‘I rejoiced when I heard them say: ‘let us go to God’s house. And now our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is built as a city strongly compacted. It is there that the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord. For Israel’s law it is, there to praise the Lord’s name’ (Ps 121: 1-4)

Lessons of Message

Following King David, it is good to enthrone God into our life and family. He did it as an example for us to follow. Again, the household of Obed-edom was blessed for protecting the Ark because they acknowledged the Lord’s presence in their household. David extended that blessing to Israel through the return of the Ark and the Lord’s favour rested on them. So, when we enthrone God as the epicentre of our worship and life, he takes over and blesses us.

It is good and wonderful to sing praises and adoration onto the Lord. David danced with joy and happiness before the Ark. That’s the type of exuberance we witness in some cultures, especially in Africa. It is one of the pious ways of rendering service and worship to God, but it must be done respectfully, knowing too well that God is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning, and the End. So, it is good to dance and praise God like David, with pipes and horns in a moderate and respectful way. We must not take God’s presence for granted, as familiarity breeds contempt. The rendering of worship must be done respectfully in our churches and parishes in accordance with the local norms and customs that guide the church.

Peace be with you!

[Readings: 2 Sm 6:12b-15, 17-19; Mk 3:31-35]

Fr. Cyriacus Uzochukwu

Rev Fr Cyriacus Uzochukwu is a priest of the Catholic diocese of Orlu, a former editor of The Forum Newspaper of the diocese and currently the associate pastor of Sacred Heart Church Exeter, Devon, UK.

Leave a Comment