Lighthouse Leader Study Guide
Date: October 1, 2017
Series: The kings & the King: A Study of 2 Samuel
2 Samuel 6
This Week’s Printable Resources:
- Lighthouse Discussion Guide (pdf)
- Lighthouse Leader Study Guide (pdf)
- Study Notes: Understanding the Significance of Jerusalem as God’s Dwelling Place
- October Prayer Calendar (pdf)
Overview of this Lesson
Imagine a military parade with 30,000 soldiers marching in unison, a marching band, and the nation’s chief leader walking towards Zion. At the center of the festivities is the Ark of the Lord, representing His very presence among the people. The nation is celebrating unity and is recommitting itself as a people fully devoted to the Lord.
Suddenly, there is a tremendous explosion as lightning streaks across the sky and strikes one of the men standing next to the ark. He falls dead. The joy of the celebration is quickly replaced with terror and panic as people run in every direction.
This is how 2 Samuel 6 begins. This week we will look at this historic incident in the life of Israel when God’s anger broke out in righteous judgment against a single man. What could he have done that would provoke the Lord to such anger? More importantly, can we commit the same sin today and can its consequences be just as deadly for any one of us? That is the thrust of this week’s lesson.
Memory Verse for This Week
But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” — 1 Peter 1:15-16
Core Practice: Biblical Community
Biblical Community (Acts 2:44-47): I fellowship with other believers in a small group to accomplish God’s purposes in my life, others’ lives, and in the world.
This Week’s Take Home Truth
“It is necessary to fear God rightly in order to worship Him properly.”
- From your perspective, what is the greatest time of national celebration in America in your lifetime?
- Looking back at your notes from this week’s sermon, was there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
Make sure you ask this question this week. It gives people the opportunity to discuss questions or issues that come up beyond the written questions. People’s responses can often lead into one of the questions in the “Digging Deeper” section. Also, some weeks this question will result in a lot of discussion, other weeks, not so much.
Read the Text (2 Samuel 6)
In 2 Samuel 5, David captured Jerusalem and made the city the political capital of Israel. Now, in Chapter 6, he desires to bring the Ark of the Lord to Jerusalem to establish the city as the religious capital of Israel. The Ark represents the presence of God with the people. Unfortunately, the first attempt ends in tragedy, while the second attempt is successful. The chapter ends with a look into the dysfunctional marriage of David and Michal. Read 2 Samuel 6.
In this section, feel free to develop your own questions to help guide your group’s discussion. Below are some suggestions. Remember, if you are hearing from everyone in your group, chances are you won’t have to time to discuss every question. You may start with one that catches your attention so you don’t run out of time. For example, it’s not odd to start with Question #6, then go to Question #5 and if you have time come back to Question #4.
What is happening in 2 Samuel 6?
The Ark of the Lord represents the very presence of God. We last heard of the Ark when the Philistines captured it during the battle of 2 Samuel 4 in which the sons of Eli were killed in battle and upon hearing the news, their father Eli died the same day. It was a day of tragedy and complete defeat in Israel.
The Philistines quickly learned that passion of the Ark of the Lord was not a good thing. Eventually, the Philistines sent the Ark back to Israel on an ox cart. The oxen pulling the Ark stopped in front of the house of Abinadab, where it would reside for the next 60-plus years, through 20-years of Samuel’s rule and then 40-years of Saul’s reign. Ultimately, at least seven years into David’s reign, he determined it was time to bring the Ark from Baale Judah to Jerusalem.
The moving of the Ark to Jerusalem was a very significant event. In fact, the biblical description of this event (covered in 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 13, 15, and 16) far eclipses the brief description of David’s coronation as king. Psalm 24 and 68 commemorate the event, and Psalm 47; 96; 105:1-15, 106:1, 47-48; 132 parallel the events described in 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles. This was an event of national celebration. In preparation, David assembled a military parade consisting of 30,000 men to accompany the Ark to Jerusalem.
It took two attempts to bring the Ark to Jerusalem. The first attempt ended in disaster when the Lord burned with anger against one of the men transporting the ark and struck him dead. This sudden outpouring of God’s wrath and a visible sign of His absolute holiness scared David to death. Again, the Ark resided in a man’s house.
The second attempt to bring the Ark to Jerusalem was successful, and David led Israel in an outpouring of worship before the Lord. All of Israel was blessed and celebrated the Ark’s arrival in Jerusalem. All of Israel except one person, David’s first wife, Michal.
The Bible never tells us what ultimately happened between David and Michal except that we know their marriage was an unhappy mess. It appears Michal grew bitter towards David, and when he worshipped before the Lord, she despised David. Most commentator’s attribute Michal’s attitude towards David as a lasting fruit of Saul’s attitude toward David. Remember, Michal was Saul’s daughter, and from the moment David walked into Saul’s life, Saul despised and mistrusted David. The final sentence of 2 Samuel 6 provide the sorry epitaph on the marriage of David and Michal: “Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.” The narrator seems to be suggesting that David was never intimate with Michal. This also fulfills the word of the Lord against Saul when Samuel told him that no child or heir of his would ever again sit on the throne of Israel. Michal, Saul’s daughter, died childless.
What was Uzzah’s sin and why did the Lord kill him.
In David’s first attempt to bring the Ark to Jerusalem, he made two mistakes. First, the Ark was placed on a new ox cart to transport it to Jerusalem. Keep in mind the Ark had not been moved for close to 70 years, so Israel had little experience with moving the Ark by this time. Also, the last time the Ark was moved was when it was returned by the Philistines (see 1 Samuel 6), and the Philistines returned it to Israel on an ox cart. The Lord had given clear instructions on how to move the Ark. It was to be carried and never moved by cart (see Exodus 25:14-15; Numbers 3:30-31; Numbers 4:15; Numbers 7:9).
The second mistake was a failure to respect God’s holiness. As the cart was being transported along the road to Jerusalem, the oxen stumbled. Instinctively, Uzzah reached out to stabilize the Ark before it fell to the ground. But in touching the Ark, Uzzah committed a most serious offense, for the Lord had stipulated that not even the Levites could touch the holy furnishings of the Tabernacle. To touch the holy furnishings was to violate the holiness of God Himself. If any person ever touched one of the holy furnishings, he was to be stricken dead. And this was exactly what happened to Uzzah: he was stricken dead by the glory of God’s holiness as soon as he touched the Ark (Numbers 4:15). Remember, on two other occasions the holiness of God had flashed out against those who had violated the holiness of the Ark (1 Samuel 5:3-12; 1 Samuel 6:19-20).
When God’s anger burned against Uzzah and struck him dead, the celebration immediately stopped. Imagine a bomb going off in the midst of a parade. The people probably scattered as the fear of the Lord overshadowed the event. For his part, David became angry with God (2 Samuel 6:8).
Was David’s anger justified? No. David either ignored or was ignorant of the clear instructions God gave to move the Ark. Still, David memorialized the place where this happened, naming it Perez Uzzah, which means “outburst against Uzzah.”
Side Note: What Happened to the Ark of the Covenant?
The ark of the covenant was a wooden box, approximately 4 × 2½ × 2½ feet, covered inside and out with gold, capped with a golden mercy seat that was flanked by two golden cherubim. When God brought Israel up out of Egypt during the exodus, he gave Moses specific instructions on how to construct this ark (Exodus 25). Throughout the early history of Israel, the ark of the covenant played a critical role, for it represented the focal point of God’s Presence among Israel, combining his holiness and his power with his desire to dwell among his people and relate to them.
In 3:16 Jeremiah makes a very radical prediction: in the future restoration the ark will be gone, and, more surprisingly, no one will even miss it. In accordance with Jeremiah’s prophecy, the ark of the covenant disappears from biblical history after the Babylonians capture and destroy Jerusalem in 587/586 BC. What happened to it?
Numerous legends and theories that attempt to answer this question continue to circulate. One very questionable Jewish legend states that Jeremiah himself hid the ark beneath the Temple Mount just before the Babylonians captured the city. Some speculate that it is still there. A few people claim to have seen it. Most Old Testament scholars find this legend highly unlikely, without any verifiable evidence to support it.
Another legend about the ark comes from Ethiopia. The Ethiopian national “folk legend” states that the queen of Sheba was an Ethiopian queen. After she visited King Solomon in Jerusalem, she returned to Ethiopia and gave birth to Solomon’s son, a boy named Menilek. Later, Menilek returned to Jerusalem to visit his father, but then stole the ark of the covenant, taking it with him back to Ethiopia, where it remains to this day. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church claims to have the original ark of the covenant in a church in the ancient city of Axum. Unfortunately, they will not let any scholars examine it.
The problem with this legend is that it doesn’t square with history. King Solomon predates the Axumite kingdom of Menilek by nearly one thousand years. Thus it is highly unlikely that Solomon was Menilek’s father. However, the Ethiopians have something very old and significant in that church that has produced this ancient legend, along with several church rituals relating to the ark. What do they actually have in that church?
One possibility relates to a Jewish colony that was built in ancient southern Egypt on the Isle of Elephantine on the Nile River. In the sixth century BC the Egyptians hired Jewish mercenaries to defend a fortress on this island. Archaeological excavations on this site indicate that these Jews apparently constructed a model of the temple in Jerusalem on their island, ostensibly to worship God. Did they also construct a model of the ark of the covenant to place in that temple? Perhaps. No one knows for certain what happened to these Jewish mercenaries who had settled in southern Egypt. Some suggest they migrated east into Ethiopia, taking their replica of the ark with them. If this scenario is true, then the Ethiopians might have this ark, a very old (and highly significant) replica of the ark of the covenant, but not the original.
Most scholars maintain that the most likely fate of the ark of the covenant is that the Babylonian army melted it down and carried the gold back to Babylonia. At any rate, Jeremiah was correct. The ark disappeared. God’s people today experience God’s Presence through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; thus they do not miss the ark of the covenant.1
What is holiness?
We have seen much about holiness in this chapter, and it will help us further in our understanding if we can clearly define holiness. This is one of those broad terms that often takes on a myriad of definitions. In the biblical sense, the concept of holiness is most closely identified with the act of setting apart or separating someone or something by God himself and declared holy. God Himself is holy, the Ark was holy, you and I, if we are Christians, are holy.
Boice provides an excellent commentary on this question that brings much clarity to the topic:
What is holiness? Some people have identified it with a culturally determined behavioral pattern and so have identified as holy those who do not gamble or smoke or drink or play cards or go to movies or do any of a large number of such things. But this approach betrays a basic misconception. Actually, although it may be the case that holiness in a particular Christian may result in abstinence from one or more of these things, the essence of holiness is not found there. Consequently, to insist on such things for the church is not to promote holiness but rather to promote legalism and hypocrisy. In some extreme forms it may even promote a false Christianity according to which men and women are justified before God on the basis of some supposedly ethical behavior.
Paul had found this to be true of the Israel of his day, as Jesus had also found it previously. So he distinguished clearly between this kind of holiness (the term he uses is “righteousness”) and true holiness which comes from God and is always God-oriented. He said of Israel, “Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness” (Rom. 10:3).
The biblical idea of holiness becomes clear when we consider words that are synonyms for it in the English language, namely “saint” or “sanctify.” Christ uses the second one in John 17:17: “Sanctify (hagiazo) them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” What is a saint? A saint is not a person who has achieved a certain level of goodness (which is, nevertheless, what most people think), but rather one who has been set apart to himself by God. It follows from this that in the Bible the word is therefore not restricted to a special class of Christians, still less a class that is established by the official action of an earthly ecclesiastical body. Rather, it is used of all Christians, as is particularly clear from Paul’s use of the word in his epistles (cf. Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1, etc.). The saints are the called-out ones who make up God’s church.
The same idea is also present when, as in Exodus 40, the Bible refers to the sanctification of objects. In that chapter Moses is instructed to sanctify the altar and laver in the midst of the tabernacle. That is, he was to make saints of them. The chapter does not refer to any intrinsic change in the nature of the stones obviously—they are not made righteous. It merely indicates that they were to be set apart to a special use by God.
In the same way, Jesus prays just two verses farther on in this great seventeenth chapter of John, “I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified” (v. 19). The verse does not mean that Jesus makes himself more righteous, for he already was righteous. Instead it means that he separated himself to a special task, the task of providing salvation for all men by his death. If holiness is to be understood at all, it must be understood in this framework.2
Does God expect Christians to be holy and to respect His holiness?
Rather than answer this question myself, I will defer to the Apostle Peter. Not one to mince words, Peter states, “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16).
In the Epistle to the Hebrews, the writer addresses the theme of holiness in 15 different passages.
God expects his people to be a holy people.
How can we show respect for God’s holiness in 21st Century America?
If we could enter a time machine and transport back to 1960, we would find a “holiness code” interwoven throughout American culture. Many of the laws and values that defined American culture prior to 1960 were Scripture-based. Most courthouses built in America prior to 1960 had the words of the Ten Commandments inscribed on their walls (including the U.S. Supreme Court).
Today, these moral and ethical values have been erased. The strong foundation of Scripture has been replaced by the shifting sands of moral relativism—each one of us does what is right in his or her eyes. Americans now openly bristle at any suggestion that their thinking or actions may be judged right or wrong by some existential being (i.e. our Creator God).
How can Christians today only demonstrate our respect for God’s Word and God’s commandments? This is a question each one of us must wrestle with before the Lord. I don’t want to provide a list of do’s and don’ts because the list will be different for each one of us. Instead, let me provide some basic principles that are both biblical and universal.
- Holiness requires lifelong intensity and intentionality. The writer to the Hebrews tells us we are to pursue holiness (Hebrews 12:14). Kenneth Wuest translates this as Constantly be eagerly seeking after … holiness.3 This is not a once-and-done project for the Christian, it is a lifelong pursuit.
- Holiness requires knowing what God expects and desires for his children. The Bible clearly defines God’s ways and God’s methods. There is no guesswork involved. As we read and study the Bible, the Holy Spirit will impress upon us (convict us) of adjustments we need to make in our life in order to be in line with God’s ways. If you struggle to know these areas, begin praying, “Father, show me your way to holiness. Help me to live my life in a manner that is pleasing and glorifying to You.”
- Holiness requires saying “yes” to God and “no” to the world. We see this principle illustrated in verses like 2 Timothy 2:22 where Paul says, “Flee (say “no” to the world) also youthful lusts; but pursue (say “yes” to God) righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. James employs the same principle when he states, “Therefore lay aside (say “no” to the world) all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and (say “yes” to God) receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).
- Holiness requires personal obedience and sacrifice. I would like to tell you that the road to holiness is an easy road, but that is not true. It is easy in that we are being obedient to God and to His Word, but it is costly from a human perspective. In order to be holy, we will need to sacrifice our own wants and desires in place of God’s will for our life. This is why the path to holiness is different for each person. I could tell you that in order to be holy, you must give up smoking, but for many of us who don’t smoke, that’s not an issue. But, if while reading the Bible over time I become convicted that I can no longer participate in an activity that I very much enjoy, but is contrary to God’s will for my life, that is a costly matter indeed.
Are we in danger of committing the same sin Uzzah committed in 2 Samuel 6? If we commit this sin, can it lead to death?
The answer to both questions is yes—we can commit the same sin that Uzzah did in 2 Samuel 6, and if we commit this sin, it can lead to death…not only physical death, but, more importantly, eternal spiritual death.
That is a weighty statement that I hope you ponder for a moment. Let’s break this down a bit more to help us understand exactly what I mean by that statement.
What was the sin Uzzah committed? In summary, Uzzah’s sin was to disrespect for God’s holiness in the way he carried the Ark and in touching the Ark. Why did Uzzah show disrespect? Because he did not follow God’s explicit commands detailing how the Ark was to be moved. Uzzah’s motives were right, but his way of approaching God was wrong, and it cost him his life.
Here is how this applies to us: God has given us clear, explicit instructions on how we are to approach Him. Let me provide some of these instructions:
- John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
- John 6:68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
- John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
- Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
- 1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
- 1 Corinthians 3:11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
- 1 Timothy 2:3–5 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.
You see, God is very clear with us today: there is one way, and only one way, to approach Him, and that is through Jesus Christ. There is no other way.
In Matthew 7:22-24, Jesus made a startling statement when he said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
Like Uzzah, many seek to approach God with the right motives, but in the wrong way. When we approach God with the right motives in the wrong way, God’s anger burns against us to the point of death.
Beloved, don’t make the same mistake Uzzah made. Our God is a holy God, and He has provided us with clear instructions regarding how to approach Him, and that is only through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. When we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we can approach God clothed in the righteousness and holiness of Christ. There is no other way. If we fail to understand this, or if we ignore His clear instructions, we will suffer the same consequences as Uzzah, only this death will be an eternal death in Hell.
These questions are given to prompt both reflection and learning on a personal level, and should likely be completed individually and apart from your regular group time.
Looking back at this week’s teaching and study, what’s the most important thing to remember?
Becoming A House of Prayer
“Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices; Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” – Isaiah 56:7.
Prayer Focus for the Week of October 1
Set aside a portion of your Lighthouse for prayer.
- Pray for LifeChange Church as they begin their new journey together as a church family. They start on October 1.
- Pray for those who serve the Lord as missionaries in foreign lands. Pray that God will open doors for evangelism and discipleship.
- Pray for our school-age children as they learn and develop within a culture that is increasingly hostile to Christians.
- Pray for our political leadership at the federal, state, and local level. May God give them wisdom and may God restrain evil.
- Pray for those in our church family who are new believers in Christ. May they be diligent to study the Bible and be obedient to its teaching.
- Pray for Pastor Todd and Pastor Carlos that they will preach the word with boldness.
Questions to consider as you continue to reflect on what you learned this week:
- Take Action: Take some time to review your own personal salvation testimony. How would you answer the question, “why am I justified to approach a holy God?” Does your answer line up with the Scriptures we noted this week that provide God’s prescribed method for people today to approach Him?
- Reflection: are you a holy person? In what ways would someone who observes your life report that you are consecrated and set apart for God? Is your life distinct and uniquely Christian? Are there areas of your life that are unbiblical and un-Christian? If so, separate yourself (put off) from these things. Are their things you should be doing to more closely conform your life to the image of Christ? If so, do (put on) these things.
- Prayer Focus: Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)
Work to memorize this week’s memory verse: 1 Peter 1:15-16
Our Core Practice this week is Biblical Community (Acts 2:44-47): I fellowship with other believers in a small group to accomplish God’s purposes in my life, others’ lives, and in the world.
Remember to use the daily Bible reading plan as part of your walk with Christ, taking the time to reflect on each passage and what it means for your lives.
Coming Dates This Fall:
10/01/2017 – Life Change Church Launch Day
10/15/2017 – Begin 40 Days of Prayer
10/25/2017 – Mobilization Conference Begins
10/27/2017 – 2017 GO Trip Reports
10/29/2017 – Guest Speaker: Ray Chang
10/29/2017 – International Dinner & Commissioning
10/30/2017 – Lighthouse Midterm Break; No Groups the week of 10/30/2017
11/05/2017 – Daylight Savings Time Ends
11/05/2017 – Fireside Chats Begin
11/13/2017 – Operation Christmas Child; 11/13 – 11/20
11/19/2017 – Harvest Offering
11/19/2017 – Thanksgiving Night of Worship
11/23/2017 – Thanksgiving Day; Church Facilities Closed
11/24/2017 – 40 Days of Prayer Ends
11/29/2017 – Fall Wednesday Night Ministries End
12/09/2017 – Kids’ Christmas Musical
12/24/2017 – Christmas Eve at First Family
12/25/2017 – Christmas Day
12/31/2017 – New Year’s Eve Day; Ankeny: 10:00 am | Bondurant: 10:00 am
01/01/2018 – New Year’s Day
01/07/2018 – Lighthouse Spring Semester Begins
Fall Teaching Schedule:
09/10/17 – 2 Samuel 1:1-27
David mourns the deaths of Saul and Jonathan.
09/17/17 – 2 Samuel 2:1-4:12
David becomes King of Judah; Civil War in Israel.
9/24/27 – 2 Samuel 5
David becomes King of Israel; War with the Philistines.
10/01/17 – 2 Samuel 6
David seeks to bring the ark to Jerusalem.
10/08/17 – 2 Samuel 7
The Davidic Covenant.
10/15/17 – 2 Samuel 8-10
David consolidates his kingdom.
10/22/17 – 2 Samuel 11:1-12:25
David’s great sin that brings destruction to his family.
10/29/17 – Guest Speaker
International Dinner (No Groups)
11/05/17 – 2 Samuel 12:26-13:39
Nathan rebukes David for his sin; David repents; the rape of David’s daughter, Tamar.
11/12/17 – 2 Samuel 14-15
The Parable of Two Sons; Absalom rebels against David.
11/19/17 – 2 Samuel 16-17
Absalom captures Jerusalem, lies with David’s concubines to show his contempt for his father.
11/26/17 – 2 Samuel 18
Civil War between Absalom and David. Joab kills Absalom. David mourns the death of his son.
12/03/17 – 2 Samuel 19-21
David is restored to the throne, but conflict and turmoil continue to plague David.
12/10/17 – 2 Samuel 22:1-23:7
David nears the end of his life as conflict and turmoil continue.
12/17/17 – 2 Samuel 23:8-24:25
David’s last words; David sins again and the Lord judges Israel; 70,000 die from a plague.
- J. Daniel Hays and J. Scott Duvall, eds., The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011), 339. ↩
- James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of John: An Expositional Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2005), 1300. ↩
- Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 2, Hebrews 12:14 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973). ↩