Up to Jerusalem

1 Chronicles 15:1-3 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. 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.” David assembled all Israel in Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the LORD to the place he had prepared for it.

1 Chronicles 15:14-16 So the priests and Levites consecrated themselves in order to bring up the ark of the LORD, the God of Israel. 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. David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brothers as singers to sing joyful songs, accompanied by musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals.

1 Chronicles 15:22 Kenaniah the head Levite was in charge of the singing; that was his responsibility because he was skillful at it.

1 Chronicles 15:25-29 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. Because God had helped the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD, seven bulls and seven rams were sacrificed. Now David was clothed in a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and as were the singers, and Kenaniah, who was in charge of the singing of the choirs. David also wore a linen ephod. 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. 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.

2 Chronicles 5: 4-7 When all the elders of Israel had arrived, the Levites took up the ark, 5and they brought up the ark and the Tent of Meeting and all the sacred furnishings in it. The priests, who were Levites, carried them up; and King Solomon and the entire assembly of Israel that had gathered about him were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and cattle that they could not be recorded or counted. The priests then brought the ark of the LORD’s covenant to its place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Most Holy Place, and put it beneath the wings of the cherubim.

2 Chronicles 5:12-14 All the Levites who were musicians—Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and their sons and relatives—stood on the east side of the altar, dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres. They were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.” Then the temple of the LORD was filled with a cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God.

Read all of 1 Chronicles 15 and 2 Chronicles 5

Background Notes:

In 1 Chronicles 13 we read the sad story of the death of Uzzah, who touched the Ark of of the Covenant of God. Even though Uzzah was sincere in his intentions and zealous for the safety of the Ark, God’s Law clearly said that His people were not to touch the Ark of the Covenant. The death of Uzzah was a lesson to all God’s people at that time, and it should be a lesson for us today. God expects His people to know and follow His Word.

The root problem that led to Uzzah’s death was King David’s failure to follow God’s instructions for transporting the Ark. David’s motives and desire for bringing the Ark up to Jerusalem were good, but his methods were wrong. According to God’s Word in Exodus 25:12-14 and Numbers 4:16, the Ark of God was to be carried on poles on the shoulders of the Kohathites who were of the priestly tribe of Levi. Transporting the Ark on a cart was not only contrary to God’s Word, it was the method used by the Philistines. (Compare 1 Samuel 6:7-8 and 2 Samuel 6:3-4.) It was doomed to fail. God’s work must be done in God’s way!

Following the tragic death of Uzzah, David was reluctant to move ahead with his plans to bring the Ark up to Jerusalem. The Ark was temporarily placed for safe-keeping in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. “The Ark of God remained with the family of Obed-Edom in his house for three months, and the Lord blessed his household and everything he had” (1 Chronicles 13:14).

During those three months (covered in 1 Chronicles 14), God blessed King David and gave him victories over the Philistines because he not only asked the Lord for instructions, but followed the Lord‘s directions. David also did the right thing with the idols that the Philistines abandoned in their hasty retreat—he burned them! His troops were not permitted to take any idols home with them as “souvenirs” of the battle, because David didn’t want to risk idolatry creeping into the nation in any way, shape or form.

This is a good lesson for us today. Many of us do not realize that people can be introduced to the occult world when they naively purchase a gift or souvenir or game with occult connections. In many areas of the world (including our own country), occult religious objects have become popular souvenirs. Be very careful when purchasing decorative items such as masks, jewelry, small statues, unusual carvings, etc., as mementos of a trip. If you have innocently brought home these types of souvenirs in the past, be on the safe side by following David’s example—“burn” them!

When King David heard that God was blessing the family of Obed-Edom because the Ark of the Covenant was in their home, he decided to bring the Ark up to Jerusalem—and to transport it in the proper way! He prepared a tent in Jerusalem to receive the Ark. This tent was not the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was in Gibeon at this time. The tent in Jerusalem was to be a temporary home for the Ark, because David’s intention was to build a “house” for the Lord and the Ark of God. (See 2 Samuel 7 and 1 Chronicles 17.) Ultimately, however, since King David was not permitted to build a Temple for the Lord and the Ark remained in the tent for the rest of his reign. When David’s son, Solomon, built the Temple of the Lord, the Ark received a more permanent dwelling place.

Doctrinal / Teaching Points:

1. There was a great celebration when the Ark was brought up to Jerusalem

1 Chronicles 15:14 tells us that the priests and the Levites consecrated themselves in accordance with the Law of God in order to properly transport the Ark of the Covenant. In honor of the occasion, King David and the Levites who carried the Ark were dressed in robes of fine linen. Sacrifices were made to thank God for His help. 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” (v15).

King David wanted music to enhance the glad celebration as the Ark was brought up to Jerusalem (v16). Singers and musicians were appointed, and all the musicians were given fine linen robes to wear. A skillful musician named Kenaniah was placed in charge of the singing. To accompany the choir, a praise band of musicians played harps, lyres (stringed instruments), and loud cymbals! The praise band accompanied the voices of the singers as they sang joyful songs. In addition to the singers and the band, seven priests were appointed to blow trumpets before the Ark as it progressed up the road towards Jerusalem.

It was a joyful but noisy procession! Maybe some of God’s people even said to David, “Can’t we drop those loud cymbals from the band, and just have the harps and lyres which are ‘more spiritual’ instruments? !” David probably said, “Quit complaining! Just join in the celebration and praise the LORD! ” Seriously speaking, as the Levites carried the Ark on their shoulders, the loud praise band accompanied the voices of the singers as they sang joyful songs, the priests blew the trumpets, King David danced in celebration, the people shouted, and “so all Israel brought up the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord with shouts, with the sounding of ram’s horns and trumpets and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps” (v28). In 2 Chronicles 5, we see that there is further celebration and worship when the Ark was installed in its proper place in the Temple built by King Solomon.

There was a great celebration when the Ark was brought up to Jerusalem!

  2. There will be a great celebration when the Lord returns to Jerusalem.

As many of you know from your Old Testament, the blood of Jesus Christ, the Sacrifice for sin, is the basis of our atonement and our salvation. The death of Jesus Christ opened up the way for those who are redeemed by His blood to enter the Holy of Holies, the presence of God. The blood-sprinkled Ark is the meeting place between God and man, where a holy God and His redeemed people are brought into fellowship with one another.

In the book of Joshua, the Ark of the Covenant represented Jesus Christ leading His people as they marched around Jericho. (Read Joshua 6:6-9.) The Ark was the focus and center of attention. In the great and joyful occasion of bringing the Ark up to Jerusalem here in 1 Chronicles 15, the Ark is again the focus and center of attention. There is joyful celebration as the Ark returns to Jerusalem in the midst of God’s people with great honor, praise and joy to reign in His Kingdom.

Thus in 1 Chronicles 15 where the Ark is brought up to Jerusalem as well as in 2 Chronicles 5 where the Ark of God is installed in the Temple, we have a spiritual picture and prophetic glimpse into the future, when our ascended Lord will return to this earth to set up His Kingdom. According to Zechariah 14 and other Scriptures, the Lord will return to Jerusalem to reign as King. What a joyful occasion! What a coronation day that will be! There will be a great celebration when the Lord returns to Jerusalem!


Practical Application:

Use your skills for the Lord!

Why was Kenaniah put in charge of organizing and leading the choir? Was it because he was the “head Levite,” or because he liked to be in charge and lobbied for the job, or because he had “connections,” or because he loved to bellow out the good old gospel hymns? None of these reasons! The Bible is clear that Kenaniah got the job because he was a skillful musician!

Kenaniah was appointed to the position because he was skilled in the area of singing, and he was available to dedicate his talents in this area to the Lord. His skill was used to bring praise to God and joy to God’s people as the Ark was brought up to Jerusalem.

Do you have any skills that could be used to bring praise and honor to our Lord? Do you have a particular ability or an area of proficiency or training that could be offered to the Lord? If you have a special skill, are you willing to take the responsibility to use it in service for Him?

Maybe you’re skilled in construction. Maybe you’re skilled in writing. Maybe you’re trained and have expertise in computers. Maybe, like Kenaniah, you’re skilled in music. Maybe you’re a good teacher. Maybe you’re skillful at coming alongside hurting teens. Maybe you’re gifted in hospitality, or in making new people feel welcome in your church fellowship. Maybe you’re skilled at organization, like planning and running Vacation Bible School, or organizing a work party to keep the church building in good repair.

There are many diverse areas where the Lord can use you. When you use your talents skillfully and responsibly, the Lord is honored and His people are strengthened and encouraged!

Are you willing to offer the Lord your time as well as your skills? All areas of ministry require a sacrifice in time to do the job properly. Praise bands and singers don’t just accompany the singing for 30 minutes on Sunday morning—the musicians have to take time out of their busy lives to plan and rehearse. Teachers and preachers have to spend time studying the Scripture and preparing their lessons in order to teach well. It takes time and effort to open your home for the ministry of hospitality. Leading youth groups and children’s ministries requires enormous amounts of time, effort and patience.

Think it over. There is no doubt that there’s at least one area where you can use your God-given gifts, skills or talents to bring praise and honor to Jesus Christ. (See 1 Peter 4:10.) Kenaniah used his skill for the Lord, and so can you! Use your skills for the Lord!
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