At the start of today's reading things seemed to be on the up for David. Heralded King by the tribes of Israel (5:1-4), enemies slain (5:6-25)... what more could a man want? A clue to David's unfulfilled desire lies within 1 Samuel 7:1-2 "Here I am, living in a house of cedar while the ark of God remains in a tent". Seemingly, there was something unjust in having the Ark of the Covenant being neglected while the Israelites enjoyed their new settlement.
God instructed the Israelites at the time of Moses (Exodus 25) to create the Ark of the Covenant as a symbol of His continued presence with His people. Special instructions were prescribed to enable the highest levels of respect and reverence were maintained. Failure to oblige always resulted in disaster (Cf: 1 Samuel 4-6). Here, poor Uzzah was the latest victim for seemingly innocently attempting to prevent the Ark from falling (2 Sam 6:6-7). While God wants to dwell with His people, He is still God. He is Holy and pure and must be treated with due diligence. In this instance, the collective people group had forgotten how God had commanded they should move the Ark. (The account of this narrative within 1 Chronicles 13-15 contains more clarity in how the Ark was eventually *safely* moved to Jerusalem).
The death of Uzzah providentially led to the Ark being stored in the home of a non-Jew named Obed-Edom. Obed's life was blessed for the duration of having the presence of God dwell in His home (2 Sam 6:12). Experiencing the presence of God is life-changing. People are never left the same after they encounter God; think about all the changed lives, healing - both emotional and physical, throughout the Gospels because Jesus walked through and interacted with the people He met. For Obed, experiencing life with God caused Him to change vocation. After three months the Ark was moved into Jerusalem and Obed followed to become a leader that oversaw the worship of God (1 Chronicles 16:1-5 +37-38).
Obed had tasted the goodness of God and wanted to pursue that for the rest of His days. Today we still meet people who were never born into a Christian household encounter the presence of God and are changed forevermore.
We don't have an Ark of the Covenant any-more. As a result of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus we have a new covenant. God can dwell within us through His Holy Spirit. This is great news for us because we can meet with God anywhere. For instance, while we can't currently meet at a building we can still encounter God at home. Spend a moment in God, reflect on your relationship. Where do you most experience the presence of God? Remember to treat God with reverence but also remember He is your Heavenly Father that cares and loves you...
'The only person who dares wake up a king at 3:00 AM for a glass of water is a child. We have that kind of access' - Timothy Keller