These small group studies through the lives of David and Solomon contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.
David and The Ark – 2 Samuel 6 Inductive Bible Study
1. The ark of God – This is a reference to the Ark of the Covenant. The ark was the most sacred object in the tabernacle which Moses and the people built in the wilderness years. It held the ten commandments, Aaron’s staff, and also some Manna. The ark represented the fact that God was willing to dwell with His people and His presence was with them. However, see in 1 Samuel 4-5 that there is nothing actually magical about the ark. It did not automatically bring about victory over Israel’s enemies. Nor did it guarantee that God would bless His people or be with them. Eli’s sons wrongly put their faith in the ark rather than in the God who commanded the ark to be built and it cost them their lives. The ark is probably the most important spiritual object (relic) in the Bible. Yet in the end it is still an object. Even today some charlatans place great importance on certain relics like the bones of saints, supposed pieces of the cross, cloths, holy water, and the like. Those people and those who follow them are focusing on the wrong thing, the creation rather than the Creator. And here in this verse we see that. God is described as being enthroned above the cherubim. God is above all of these things.
2. They placed the ark on a new cart – The Philistines had done this when they sent the ark back to Israel after capturing it. It was certainly an efficient and convenient method of transportation. Clearly this method was much easier than carrying it for scores of miles. The problem was it was disobedient. God had commanded the priests to carry the ark with attached poles. That way was more respectful and also safer. Thus we learn a simple lesson. God’s way is not always the easiest way. God’s way was more difficult than their way. But easy is not equal to best. And in a minute we will see the consequences of this disobedience.
Application: Do not always choose the easy way. Consider what is the best way, even if it is more difficult.
3. David and the people celebrated – Here we see the attitude of David and the people. They were excited. It is accurate to say they were sincere in their worship of God. It seems they had pure motivation. They had a good heart. David wanted the ark in Jerusalem as a reminder to all the people of God’s presence with them and the importance of worshiping Jehovah alone. Many years later David wanted to temple for the Lord. Both of these ideas, show his desire to honor the Lord and lead his kingdom to honor the Lord. By contrast, Saul did not seek to honor the Lord. This is one of the reasons God said that David was a man after His own heart.
Unfortunately sincerity and good motivation are also not enough. Over a thousand years later Jesus would tell the women at the well that people must worship Him in “spirit and in truth.” From this phrase we learn that both a person’s attitude and his behavior are important. The motivation and the action must both be correct. Sometimes people do a good action with a wrong motivation (such as the Pharisees giving lots of money to God). God is not pleased with it. But sometimes people do a wrong action, but with a sincere heart (like David here.) God is also not pleased with it.
Application: Learn to evaluate your actions and your motivations. Ask God for wisdom so that we do not commit sin in ignorance. Make sure you are serving and worshiping God in spirit and in truth.
4. Uzzah dies – God had already warned the people of Israel that touching the ark would result in death. Like many sins, one led to another until the cost was Uzzah’s death. Take careful note of this passage. Uzzah did not set off that day to deliberately disobey God. I don’t believe he had improper motivation. He was sincere in his desire to protect the ark from damage. One could even commend his passion, his zeal, and his quick reflexes. The problem was God had commanded that nobody touch the ark and warned that if they did they would die. Sparing Uzzah would set a dangerous precedent. Allowing the ark to be transported by cows instead of his prescribed way would also set a dangerous precedent. People would then feel free to change God’s divine laws and rituals to suit their own purposes and convenience. The result would be a man-made syncretic religion.
Do you feel shocked by the story of Uzzah? If so, that is good. I think this story is supposed to shock us. It is supposed to show us how seriously God takes obedience. It is supposed to show us that sin is serious. Sin is serious whether it is intentional (like in the case of Ananias and Sapphira) or unintentional. Sin is serious whether it is pre-meditated or committed on the spot. This story should make us think. It should make us evaluate our actions. It should make us stop to make sure that we are obeying.
5. What does this teach us about God? – God is just. God takes sin seriously. God takes His commands seriously. He does not always judge immediately. Most of the time He doesn’t. But sometimes He chooses to make an example out of a case as a warning to everyone else.
6. What does this teach us about David? – In this case David failed in his leadership abilities. We don’t know who made the decision to transport the ark like this, but it was the wrong decision. And David was in charge. So ultimately he receives the blame. Because of his poor leadership in this, Uzzah died. Leaders must take their responsibility seriously.
7. David became afraid – It is a reasonable response. We should fear the Lord, especially when we sin.
II. Verses 11-23
1. David heard that Obed-edom’s house had been blessed – It was this news which prompted him to finish the job.
2. David attempted to bring the ark the second time – The first time failed. But we should know that sometimes we will fail in our walks with the Lord. Sometimes we will fall. When we do, we must get up, not give up. David chose to finish the job he had started. Although he hadn’t heard the verses before, he unknowingly was applying Philippians 3:10-13 by forgetting the past and pushing ahead toward the goal in front of him.
Application: If you make a mistake don’t let it defeat you over and over again. When you fall, get up. Make the decision to move forward to serve the Lord again.
3. David learned from his mistake – This time we see that the ark was transported by bearers as commanded by God. David did not try the same way again. He did not repeat his same mistake. He did not pridefully double down and dare God to do something about it. Instead, he humbly learned the reason behind God’s anger and made sure to correct it. That is a sign of true repentance.
4. David was dancing – Discuss cross-references and dancing/raising hands before the Lord.
5. David and Michal – We see that Michal’s love for David was very fickle and fleshly. His exuberance for the Lord was embarrassing for her. She thought he wasn’t acting dignified like a king should. But she didn’t realize that a king’s primary job is not to protect his own face, but instead lead to the people to worship and honor the Lord. David certainly did not care about his face.
Michal expressed her anger toward David. David responded in kind. He wasn’t very gentle to Michal. Rather he was clearly upset and let her know. It is not a very good picture of how a husband should respond to his wife. It would have been better for David to calmly and quietly (and privately) lead her toward a better understanding of God and how to serve Him. At least David should have tried to guide her toward a better relationship with God instead of impatiently snapping at her.
We see from this passage that David certainly loved God, but he was not perfect or close to it. He was a sinner like you and me. He was flawed like you and me. The good news is that God accepts sinners if we come to him in faith with sincere hearts. If we make mistakes, we must confess and move on. We must make God the priority over everything else.