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Thanks and Praise for God’s Mercy

1 Chronicles 16:34 (ESV) … “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”

David consults his people about bringing the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. It will be an act of supreme importance, because it will unite the symbol of God’s presence with the throne of David and his capital city. David is only willing to do this if the people want it.

The ark of the covenant, or the ‘covenant box’, has been kept in the southern town of Kiriath Jearim for twenty years—ever since the Philistines captured it but found it too dangerous to keep (1 Samuel 4:17–7:2). From Kiriath Jearim to Jerusalem is a journey of eight or nine miles.

The ark was made in the days of Moses. It was constructed of acacia wood, overlaid with gold, and with two golden cherubim standing at each end. Its solid gold cover is God’s throne, the ‘mercy seat’, where forgiveness or ‘atonement’ is granted for sins. Inside the ark are the stone tablets on which are engraved the Ten Commandments.

The ark symbolizes God’s presence among his people. It was carried ahead of them on their wilderness journey and rested in the tent of meeting when they camped. It stood guard when they crossed the River Jordan, and led them into battle in the days of the judges.

The ark is brought to Jerusalem, but not without a shocking accident. One of the attendants, Uzzah, tries to steady the ark on its ox cart, and is struck dead. The Chronicler is showing us that the holiness of God is not to be treated casually. The ark is left to rest in the house of Obed-Edom for three months, where it brings great blessing to his family. Obed-Edom is a Levite. When the ark is finally transported to Jerusalem, only the Levites are allowed to handle the precious cargo.

The ark is brought into Jerusalem with music and dancing. The Chronicler describes David as dressed in a linen ephod like a priest, dancing and celebrating with the rest. He also notes that David’s wife despises him. She is Saul’s daughter and expects her king to behave with more dignity.

David has the ark installed in the tent that he has prepared. He takes great care to make appropriate sacrifices and offerings, and to appoint suitable attendants and musicians. This is the kind of attention to detail which David will one day give to the planning of the temple and its worship.[1]

Thanks for divine goodness. I. God its source. II. Displayed in suitable ways. Mercy to the miserable. III. Lasting in its nature. Outweighing sin and rebellion. “Endureth for ever.”[2]

[1] Knowles, A. (2001). The Bible guide (1st Augsburg books ed., pp. 174–175). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg. [2] Wolfendale, J. (1892). I & II Chronicles (p. 76). New York; London; Toronto: Funk & Wagnalls Company.


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