Summary: Biblical expressions of worship are explored with attention to the Psalms and David’s example.

Expressing Worship

2 Samuel 6:12-23[1]



I want to begin this morning with a video clip from the movie “Hoosiers”[2].

Begin in Ch 30 at 01:47:00 and End at 01:49:33

Without question those people were fully engaged in that basketball game. Their expression of joy over that victory is unmistakable. Can you imagine that movie concluding with the final basket winning the game and then everyone nonchalantly saying, “Well that was nice”? (I sat in a lazily in and chair and said the words in an indifferent tone).

A greater victory has occurred than any basketball game ever. Two thousand years ago Jesus defeated the Devil on the cross and rose triumphant from the grave. That victory has profound implications for you and me. Our whole future depended upon the outcome of that contest. If ever there was a victory worthy of passionate celebration it is the victory of the cross.

I want to speak with you this morning on the subject: Expressing Worship. We have talked extensively in previous messages about worshipping God from the heart.[3] Jesus said, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."(John 4:24)

When people just go through outward motions but their hearts are not in it, all you have is dead ritual.[4] True worship springs forth from relationship with God and genuine gratitude for who He is and what He has done for us. We want to build upon those teaching today. How do we express our love to the Lord in our worship? C.S. Lewis said, “We praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.”[5] Expression of worship is important in our relationship with God.

Is our expression of worship left up to our own personal taste and preference? Or does the Bible give us some instruction about worship? Are there specific imperatives about worship in the Bible? Are there examples of how to worship in Scripture?

I believe we have an example in our text that teaching principles about expressing worship. In 2 Samuel 6:12-23 we see David’s exuberance in worship to the Lord. We see his wife’s response to that worship. And we see David’s answer to her response. It is all very instructive about worshipping the Lord.

In 2 Samuel 6 David is bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. The Ark of the Covenant was a rectangular box that God told Moses to make. It was 3¾’ long and 2 ¼’ wide and high. It was covered inside and out with pure gold. On top of the box was the mercy seat and on each side of the mercy seat was a golden cherub. On its molding were golden rings where poles were inserted so the Levites could carry it.[6] Hopefully that helps you picture what we’re talking about.

But the real significance of the Ark of the Covenant is found in 2 Samuel 6:2 “He and all his men set out from Baalah of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the ark.” The Ark represented the presence of God. Listen to what God said to Moses after He told him how to construct the Ark of the Covenant. Ex 25:22 “There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.”

That helps us understand the spiritual significance of what David is doing here in our text. He is ushering in the presence of God.

In the first half of this chapter He made some serious mistakes about how to go about doing that. You may remember the story of Uzzah trying to steady the Ark and being struck dead in the process. The problem in that case was that David was not following God’s instruction on how the Ark was to be transported. God had said that the Ark was to be carried on the shoulders of the Levites.[7] Instead David had it on a new, shinny cart—the way the Philistines had done. The lesson David had to learn about ushering in the presence of God was “obedience is better than sacrifice”[8]. Do it God’s way. You can’t just do it any way you want to. You can’t look at the world and find out how to do it.[9] You have to look at the Word of the Lord and do what He has said to do.

So by the time we get to verse 12 David has worked through all that and is doing it right this time. And there is tremendous joy in the process. 2 Sam 6:12 “Now King David was told, ‘The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.’ So David went down and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing.”

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