Read 1 Chronicles 15
The Ark Brought to Jerusalem
15 After David had constructed buildings for himself in the City of David, he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. 2 Then David said, “No one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, because the Lord chose them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister before him forever.”
3 David assembled all Israel in Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the Lord to the place he had prepared for it. 4 He called together the descendants of Aaron and the Levites:
5 From the descendants of Kohath,
Uriel the leader and 120 relatives;
6 from the descendants of Merari,
Asaiah the leader and 220 relatives;
7 from the descendants of Gershon,
Joel the leader and 130 relatives;
8 from the descendants of Elizaphan,
Shemaiah the leader and 200 relatives;
9 from the descendants of Hebron,
Eliel the leader and 80 relatives;
10 from the descendants of Uzziel,
Amminadab the leader and 112 relatives.
11 Then David summoned Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel and Amminadab the Levites. 12 He said to them, “You are the heads of the Levitical families; you and your fellow Levites are to consecrate yourselves and bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. 13 It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.” 14 So the priests and Levites consecrated themselves in order to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. 15 And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord.
16 David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their fellow Levites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals.
17 So the Levites appointed Heman son of Joel; from his relatives, Asaphson of Berekiah; and from their relatives the Merarites, Ethan son of Kushaiah; 18 and with them their relatives next in rank: Zechariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-Edom and Jeiel, the gatekeepers.
19 The musicians Heman, Asaph and Ethan were to sound the bronze cymbals; 20 Zechariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah and Benaiah were to play the lyres according to alamoth, 21 and Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-Edom, Jeiel and Azaziah were to play the harps, directing according to sheminith. 22 Kenaniah the head Levite was in charge of the singing; that was his responsibility because he was skillful at it.
23 Berekiah and Elkanah were to be doorkeepers for the ark. 24 Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah and Eliezer the priests were to blow trumpets before the ark of God. Obed-Edom and Jehiah were also to be doorkeepers for the ark.
25 So David and the elders of Israel and the commanders of units of a thousand went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the house of Obed-Edom, with rejoicing. 26 Because God had helped the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord, seven bulls and seven rams were sacrificed. 27 Now David was clothed in a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and as were the musicians, and Kenaniah, who was in charge of the singing of the choirs. David also wore a linen ephod. 28 So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouts, with the sounding of rams’ horns and trumpets, and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps.
29 As the ark of the covenant of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David dancing and celebrating, she despised him in her heart.
Most of what we read about in 1 Chronicles 15 today is in reference to what we read a couple days ago in 1 Chronicles 13. What we saw then was a lack of attention to details; the ark was instructed to be taken care of in Numbers 4 in a particular way because of God’s holiness. And out of His kindness, David has been given a second chance to do things over again, this time the right way.
An important element in doing this right is making sure that they are consecrated before the Lord (v. 12, 15). Consecrate means to be set apart for sacred use. It is purification for a purpose. Leviticus 11:44 instructs, “I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.” So we are called to consecrate not just because of His holiness, but also as a way to imitate Him. How great that we are called to be like Him, to be His image-bearers, set apart for a purpose to look like him.
Then the second half of this chapter goes into a beautiful moment during the carrying of the ark–they go into worshiping the Lord! It goes into great detail about all the instruments and people involved in this ceremony. Verse 28 says, “All of Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouts.” All of this was a celebration for His presence. When done properly, we see it filled with joy and gladness. Imagine what this looked like: all of God’s people lifting up a shout of praise to Him! That is what is emphasized here, that the assembly of His people came together to worship Him. More often than not, we see examples in scripture of Israel’s hard, wayward heart toward God but today we get to see a moment of faithfulness–and not just by David. They all were given a second chance, and the result was whole-hearted praise! Psalm 103:1 says “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.”
While this is Israel’s response, at the very end we see Michal (David’s wife) witnessing all of this and “despising him in her heart” (v. 29). When in the presence of true worship, she turns her heart away from praising the Lord. Worship isn’t about us, and yet sometimes we can get caught up in the way it is done and criticize it. May we be aware of having a right response to praise and worship, that when we encounter dancing and celebrating, that we would remember it is about praising the Lord and remembering His faithfulness!
- Where do you see God’s character in this chapter?
- Just like Michal, sometimes we can have hardened hearts to what God is doing around us. Where do you find yourself leaning towards cynicism and judgment? How can you work towards changing this?
- What does it look like for you to worship the Lord today?
Did You Know?
This scripture is almost exactly cross referenced in 2 Samuel 6. The main difference is in 2 Samuel we see more of an emphasis on how David led and worshiped the Lord and here we see what all of Israel did in praise of the Lord.
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4 thoughts on “1 Chronicles 15”
I was encouraged to have the reference to 2 Samuel 6 cited in the “Go Deeper – Did You Know” section of this account of returning the arc of the Lord to Jerusalem; where Michal mocks David for how he was dancing before the Lord: “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!” (vs 20)
David replies to her in verse 22, “I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes….”
Oh that I would remain this recklessly abandoned to the praise and worship of the Lord my God in all of my thoughts, words and actions. Lord, guard my heart from pleasing man over you…
What a completely different picture we see today of the return of the Ark of the Covenant compared with David’s first attempt in chapter 13. The first time seemed like an impulsive decision, this time he thoughtfully followed God’s specifications and the Levites carried the Ark. As a result all the people were able to celebrate the return of this sacred symbol of God’s presence. The striking paradox of Michal’s response to the event and the people’s jubilation proves she had no understanding of the significance of true worship of the one true God. When we are tempted to slip into judgement of others let’s stop and pray for them instead.
Sometimes we get second chances to do it right or better. Praise God, I did!!! For which I often have not enough words of adoration nor adjectives to describe my amazement of joy to and for God. As far as David’s way of in this passage of praise and worship I am all in. There are times of simple reverence and other times my WOOHOO’s just roll out without notice and it is hard to stand still while I worship. Oh I can only imagine and I do all the time, the wonderfulness of being at His feet and throne praising Him!! WOOHOO!! (sorry not sorry) It is not about anybody here it is ALL about HIM!! My God is Great and GREATLY to be Praised with respect and reverence and WOOHOO’s!!
Do-overs are hard because you want to do everything right and still seem to make blunders along the way. I am so thankful my God Loves me enough to lead guide and direct me as I travers through this second chance. Hopefully with His guidance I will do things more better. Ephesians 3:14-21
God thank You for spiritual strength. For this reason I bow my knees before You Father, that according to the riches of his glory You may grant me to be strengthened with power through Your Spirit in my inner being so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith—that I may, be rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that I may be filled with all the fullness of You, God. Now to You, God, who is able to do far more abundantly than all that I can ask or think, according to the power at work within me, to You be the glory in Jesus name amen
Reflections on 1 Chronicles 15
As an active parent of busy kids, I feel like I attended about a gazillion choir and orchestra concerts. And the first thing I did, as soon as I sat down, was check the program… for MY CHILDREN’S names.
1 Chronicles 15:17-24 strikes me as a similar “proud parent“ moment… for GOD. Just imagine the joy he must have felt, watching his children display their God-given gifts … so much so, he made sure to include their names in the program!
Each of us has a unique and essential part to play in worshiping God. I’m reminded of the summer church camp song, “A Place in the Choir.” My personal favorite is the line, “and some just clap their hands – or paws – or anything they got now!” If you’ve never listened to it, check it out – it’s delightful!
My second takeaway comes from this Go Deeper reflection:
“An important element in doing this right is making sure that they are consecrated before the Lord (v. 12, 15). Consecrate means to be set apart for sacred use. It is purification for a purpose.”
One of my favorite #RegenerationRecovery verses puts it this way:
“So if anyone purifies himself from anything dishonorable, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21 HCSB).
So often I struggle with temptation, falling far short of God’s call to holiness. But His Word reminds me what’s at stake. If I am to be a special instrument, useful to my master – as I truly long to be – I must be willing to live “set apart” – consecrated to his purposes.
Almighty God, keep me from anything and everything dishonorable. Help me live a pure and blameless life so that I might take my place in your choir. I’m ready to clap my hands – or paws – or anything I got now!