2 Samuel 6
Lewis once said that if the saints were to catch a glimpse of each other in our glorified state, then we would be tempted to worship each other. And if such is true for our glorified state, think about what that means for God’s very own holiness. We have no idea how awesome he is. We walk around every day, oblivious to the Consuming Fire. But he does give us glimpses. He did so for King David in 2 Samuel 6.
The Text – A Summary
David gathers thirty thousand men of Israel to bring up the ark of God to Jerusalem. They drove the ark on a cart. This was the way the Philistines transported the ark and directly contrary to the way prescribed by God in Exodus 25. They went forth with songs and music. But when they came to a threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it. The anger of the Lord was kindled and God struck him down. David was angry and afraid so he took the ark to Obed-edom the Gittite.
The Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household. David then brought the ark up properly, sacrificing animals and dancing before the Lord with all his might. There was shouting and the blow of the horn. As the ark comes into the city, Saul’s daughter Michal peers out of the window, seeing David and his dancing. She despises him in her heart. They bring the ark in and place it in a tent. David offers burnt offerings, blesses the people, distributes food to the assembly, and the people depart.
When David returns home, Michal sarcastically ridicules him, claiming he has dishonored himself (uncovered himself). The issue was not David being physically unclothed. We are told he was clothed. Michal spoke of him shaming himself with his actions. David says that it was before the Lord he danced and rejoiced, adding that it was the LORD who chose him over her father. David says that he will make himself even more contemptible than this. The KJV has fun language: “I will yet be more vile than thus.” The passage ends by saying that Michal had no child to the day of her death.
What are we to do with the holiness of God? We are, like David, caught between a rock and a hard place. If we do not draw near him, then we die. And if we draw near him, then we die. He dwells in unapproachable light. He is a God who kills people. How can we go toward such a God?
In the Silver Chair, C. S. Lewis signaled the way. He tells the story of a girl named Jill who, due to poor judgment, finds herself alone in a strange wood, very thirsty and looking for water. She sees a stream and would love to drink. But she was frightened to death becasue there was a lion right there at the stream.
“Are you not thirsty?” said the Lion. “I am dying of thirst,” said Jill. “Then drink,” said the Lion. “May I — could I — would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill. The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl . . . ”Do you eat girls?” she said. “I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion… “I dare not come and drink,” said Jill.
“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion. “Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”
“There is no other stream,” said the Lion.”
Lewis draws out two truths that are lost on modern man. First, God kills people. We are caught off guard by the lion’s response, “I have swallowed up girls and boys.” As Lewis says in another place, “He is not a tame lion.” And Sarah, the mother of the prophet Samuel told us this way back in 1 Samuel 2:6 “The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: He bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.” And yet modern man still wants to say, “I get it, this is some kind of metaphor.” No. It is not a metaphor. Look at Uzzah.
The second illuminating truth from Lewis is that this God who kills people is simultaneously the only way to be saved. What each man must come to deal with is the fact that salvation if found in the hand of the Judge of all the earth. There is no running from this King. You go to him and drink of the Living Water that he supplies, or you will die of thirst. God has wired things this way such that salvation is by grace, through faith, in Christ. There is no hope is self-preservation. There is no salvation for the prideful. There is no salvation for cowards.
Would you be saved? Then go to the King of all the earth, humble yourself, and ask him. Call upon his name, and you will be saved.