2 Samuel 6:5-23
Weddings are incredible events where many come to celebrate the union of a couple. Weddings bring with them excitement, joy and a sense of deep anticipation. Many of the guests awaiting the service are anticipating certain events: the entrance of the bride, the giving away of the bride, the vows and then the kiss! You can see at a good wedding this supreme anticipation. The height of this beautiful ceremony is the anticipation of the arrival of the bride. Many are wondering what she will be wearing, how her hair will be, will she be crying? Then when the doors are opened and the bride has finally arrived, everyone stands and is captivated by the presence of the bride; none so much as the groom. The presence of his now bride utterly captivates his every thought for the rest of the day, her presence stops him short, makes him oblivious to the fact that he’s just stopped breathing because in the bride’s presence, time stops, joy comes and a deep sense of peace washes over the groom and many in the room. I know because when I saw Hilary when those doors were opened, this is what I experienced.
This is a beautiful picture of what can happen when we are captivated by the Presence of the Lord. It may sound far-fetched but we too can be captivated by God among us. We like the guests and groom at a wedding who are awestruck at the arrival of the bride can be captivated by the glorious arrival of His Presence. Few people can understand the total weight of this reality and David is one of those few. Here we will see a King wildly abandoned and captivated by the Presence of His God.
READ 2 Samuel 6:14-23
How can we become Captivated by the Presence?
In a portion previous to what we just read, we see that David initially failed at coming to the Presence because he attempted to come to God in a wrong manner, He tried to enter God’s presence in His own way.
I. Recognize It Doesn’t Come Easy (2 Samuel 6:5-12)
In the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant was the symbol of the presence of the living God. The ark contained the tablets of the law, Aaron’s staff and above it was the mercy seat, with the cherubim above. The Ark is where in Exodus 25:22 God said: “There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.” David knew that he needed this, He longed for the Presence of the Lord deeply and yearned to be connected to God in this way, this was his opportunity for constant communion with the Living God. The Philistines stole the Ark and had it for 70 years. It was time to go and get it back. So, David sought to do so, but it was going to be in his way. He built a new cart for it and David’s way ended up killing a man. Seeking the Presence of God can’t just be an add on. Had David sought the Lord, and read the scriptures, he would have known that the Ark was to be carried by the Levites on poles, not carted on a cart pulled by oxen. That was an easy way, but seeking God’s Presence is not so easy. We too can try the easy way. We can make God’s presence something we “add” or something we “pray” for but don’t truly seek. Our Heads may be invested in it but our hearts are not. We say things in our prayer life: “God I want to see you, I desire your Spirit” then we walk away and don’t think about it anymore, and when he urges us or nudges us we ignore him because it would be and interruption to our day or work. David learned this lesson the hard way that to be captivated by the Presence can’t happen by new carts, but comes with a deep longing, a sacrificial desire. To be captivated and struck by the full Presence comes with some personal sacrifice—namely time. Jesus died so we could have communion with God. If you’ve not accepted Jesus as your savior and sacrifice you can never have this deep rich connection to the Presence of God. His death allows us to come into the Presence here and now. We don’t have to wait for Heaven…we can be hit with the huge, healing, powerful Presence of God right here and right now!
II. Seek and Rejoice with Wild Abandon (2 Samuel 6:14-16; Psalm 132:3-5)
David’s soul was so intent on finding the Presence of God a home in his life that his thoughts were crazy and wild in order to get it. “I will not enter my house or get into my bed, I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.” (Psalm 132:3-5 ESV) His longing was with such intensity that he couldn’t rest until he had the Presence of God. I fear many Christians today do not know the power of the indwelling Spirit nor the amazing reality His Presence brings to our lives. Too often we are sent out from churches to seek to live better lives, to do better, to work on such and such and all the while we are not taught the deep reality of the longing for a deeper, richer relationship with God and the amazing reality of His Presence. Many churches today function without the power of the Holy Spirit and few are even aware of the lack. Tozer once said that if the Holy Spirit left the universal church today, just up and split out, only 5% of churches would notice. We cannot be captivated and changed by the Presence of God if we don’t even realize how desperately we need it and aren’t willing to seek it out with wild abandon! God is here and desires to be known more fully, he desires to be among us, with us, yet we don’t seek Him. We are content. David was not content. When he went out to bring back the Ark it consumed his heart until he rested in the Presence. Then when he did find a home for the Presence, he was willing to look foolish in his delight! He danced with wild abandon. He disrobed to show his joy before the Lord. The passage says he danced with all his might. He held nothing back in his dance, he gave it all over to the Lord because he was captivated by the Presence!
III. God Loves YOU, Don’t be Ashamed (2 Samuel 6:20-21)
Here, we see that David’s wife was embarrassed at the actions of her husband. His rejoicing was with wild abandon and she felt the need to criticize his worship. Now, I will grant that there are places where people’s wild abandon towards “worship” is unhealthy and is not caused from a response of God’s love or even the manifest presence of God but rather stems from a heart of showboating or performance. Yet sometimes, we can get caught up in the wild abandon of worship and we can in fact begin to do undignified things because its about worshiping Jesus and responding to his deep love for us. David’s wife accused him of worshipping in this manner in order to woo the young servant girls. She basically says: “you weren’t worshipping God, you were a stripper for young girls! How dare you call yourself King!” To which David responds: “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord—and I will celebrate before the Lord.” Here we see a deep reality of how and why David can be captivated by the Presence of God- God loves him and God chose him. David doesn’t know the full reason why God called him to be King, but God did and David’s response is to worship and thank God for loving him. He sees his faults, failures and can see that despite all of that God still loves him. If he looks foolish for God, who cares, because God should look more foolish…choosing him, David! What a beautiful response. The Presence of God can captivate us because he loves us!
IV. Never Cease Seeking (2 Samuel 6:22)
The Bible assumes as a self-evident fact that men can know God with at least the same degree of immediacy as they know any other person or thing that comes within the field of their experience. The same terms are used to express the knowledge of God as are used to express knowledge of physical things: “O TASTE and see that the Lord is good.” “All thy garments SMELL of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia.” “My sheep HEAR my voice.” …Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall SEE God.” These are but four of countless such passages from the Word of God. And more important than any proof text is the fact that the whole import of the Scripture is toward this belief. David then continues saying that he would be willing to go even further than he did in this portion of Scripture. He’s saying I will never stop seeking, I will never stop searching after the Presence of God, I will never quit trying to know more of God. If you feel you’ve come to a place of knowing all there is to know about God you’ve got a long way to go because God is an unending pool that one could be swimming in forever. A guy named Alan Redpath once said: “This is the thing that matters most in the life of a Christian: that the ungrieved Holy Spirit is indwelling his or her life in power and authority” the only way to bring this about continuously is to never cease seeking!
My challenge this week is to never stop ceasing. Maybe God is calling for a sacrifice of your time to spend more intimate moments with him. Maybe he’s asking you to let go of things that hinder your ability to get closer to Him. Maybe he’s been asking you to allow Him to heal the broken parts of your heart that block him from going deeper. Let those things go and seek with wild abandon His Presence.