True Worship: Uzzah vs. Michal (2 Samuel 6:12-19)

2 Samuel
2 Samuel
True Worship: Uzzah vs. Michal (2 Samuel 6:12-19)

Preached by Pastor Bryan Clark

Sunday, January 17, 2021


True Worship:  Michal vs. Uzzah (2Sa 6:12-19)

Jan 17, 2021.  This is our third Sunday on 2Samuel 6.  I love this story b/c it is so rich and vivid, and we want to explore every detail and see from diff angles.

After years of waiting, David has just become king in Jerusalem. He wants to bring the ark of God’s presence to Jerusalem.  Wants to be close to God.  2 tries

Round 1:  First half of chapter features Uzzah: how Uzzah ends up dead

Round 2:  Second half of chapter features Michal: how Michal ends up barren

Both were David’s fault: he set Uzzah up, he had mistreated Michal


Let’s look at both stories thru a lens of worship: capture big picture, deep narrative.   


Uzzah:  David’s heart is full of joyful, in the spirit of worship. He had good intentions, but God had given specific guidance that Uzzah was ignoring.  Uzzah ends up on the ground dead. David learns that you can’t just do whatever “feels right” in public worship. Worship is not just a “free-for-all” where you “have it your way” (Burger King). David has the spirit of worship, but fails (somehow) to truthfully portray who God is. 


Michal:  She sees David out there jumping around in his underwear (half-naked) and she is repulsed. Michal is concerned with royal dignity, proper decorum. She wanted things to be done right.  Lack the true joy of worship: no Joy b/c she too busy Judging (or visa versa?). I can get so focused externals and liturgy and mechanics and we miss the true spirit of the Lord. We dance in our living rooms when our team makes a touchdown, but Sunday morning is a big yawn.  

All about the truth of worship, but forgets the true spirit of worship


Uzzah:  no reverence:  fails to get the danger of God’s presence

Michal:  No joy:  fails to get the delights of God’s presence


Beautiful balance of this chapter:  2 warnings placed side by side:

Uzzah:  Spirit w/o the true portrayal of God. He ends up dead.

    Michal:  True portrayal of God w/o proper Spirit for worship. Ends up barren

Jesus says it this way: We must worship in Spirit and in Truth.


We so easily fall to one side or to the other. But either side is equally deadly!

Super relevant: this is all about what we do and why we do Sunday morning


What does David do the same the second time around?

Look for repeated terminology in the story


Same communal call.  6:5 all Israel were celebrating 6:15 All Israel were bringing up the ark.  Public worship. Why?  6:1 David again brought together 30,000. GNT: Once more David called together.  This is communal worship. Public worship. It’s is not David’s own little private show.  Who didn’t answer the call? 6:20 came out to meet him  She opted to stay home and watch from her window. She opted not to go in person. He could have. Able, but not willing.  Heb 10: Let us not give up meeting together


Same visceral joy. 6:5 celebrating with all their might 6:14 dancing with all his might. Rejoicing (12), Shouting. Blowing trumpets (15). Leaping (16)

This was every bit the joyful part as the first time around.  We want that full engagement of our heart, our emotions, our bodies. We want something of the leaping and dancing that we see here in David. 

Bodies: don’t just sit and absorb: sing, stand, sit, hold our hands, read in unison. 

In round 2, David will be far more careful, more cautious or order his worship in a way that honors God. An orderly approach to God does not suppress joy but stimulates it.  Chesterton: ‘while [Christianity] established a rule & order, the chief aim of that order was to give room for good things to run wild’ FH47

Trampoline. Bounce as high as you want and no one will get hurt.


Same sacramental presence  before the LORD  Occurs 6x in this chapter (5,14,16,17,21) “In the personal presence of and in the sight of the Lord” (lit: to the face of the LORD).  6:2 who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark.  The ark was not merely a symbol of God but a sacrament of his presence. Sacrament: a promise of God’s special presence to bless (11,12).  

When we gather for worship, God promises to be present in a special way. 1Co 5:4 When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present.  

Here in this story someone dies because they abuse the sacrament.  Is that just the OT God?  In the NT God is chill?  Does the abuse of the sacrament ever cause death in the NT?  //  Read 1Co 11:29-30 about what happened to the Corinthian abusing the Lord’s Supper, taking it for granted, trivializing its meaning and significance. How? By celebrating “your own private suppers” (11:20)

What did David do differently the second time around?

6:14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the LORD with all his might,  Reminds of Samuel at the very beginning of Samuel. The boy Samuel had worn one when he served in the place of worship under Eli (1Sa 2:18).  It was a new beginning: God was raising Samuel up to replace the corrupt leadership of Eli and his sons. In the same way, this event represented a new beginning: God was raising David up to replace the corrupt leadership of Saul’s regime (YKC 592). 


6:13 When those who were carrying the ark of the LORD had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. Note that the ark is now being carried as ordered in Nu 4:15.  Right at the beginning, what kind of a sacrifice was it?  Probably a sin offering. Lev 4 specifies that a bull be offered to atone for the sins of the congregation, and they will be forgiven. 

6:17 They brought the ark of the LORD and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the LORD. 6:18 After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD 

1 Call. 2 Sin offering.  3 Burnt offering. 4 Peace/fellowship offering. 5 blessing.  


How do we know this order is important? //  Because we see the same order over and over again in OT worship. In 7 other instances of public worship, we see this same order. Leviticus 9.


Sin offering. Lay their hands on the animal and confess their sins. A form of the sin offering aimed at corporate sin and a form aimed at individual sin! God cleanses us. In round 1 public worship, there was no confession of sin, no forgiveness received.


Burnt offering. Leviticus emphasizes this meticulous process of preparation and washing by which the sacrifice was offered to God. Every piece of our lives was to be washed and prepared and offered to the Lord.  God consecrates us. As we commit ourselves to God.


Peace/fellowship offering. Meal. God would “eat” the fat burned on the alter. The priest was to eat the right breast/thigh as his portion. The worshiper & his family to eat the rest. Meal with God that involved bread and wine and celebrated intimate fellowship. God communes with us.


Look at the worship guide.  The liturgy teaches us. 

1 God cleanses us. Uzzah thought he could get up close with God w/o recognizing reality our brokenness and our failures. That kind of worship is sentimentalism. 

2 God consecrates us. We respond to God’s forgiveness by giving our tithes, listening to his word. To change that order around is the anti-Gospel. 

3 God communes with us:  The ultimate goal of worship is not cleansing or consecration. It’s relationship. It’s not primarily get out of jail free, fire insurance. It’s not primarily about lifestyle, way of living. It’s intimate covenant relationship. 


This order (liturgy) rehearses the Gospel. If you participate in our service, you will come out a Christian. Worship is not primarily about expressing who we are (self-expression). It’s about expressing who God is:  rehearsing good news of Jesus


Q: What separates David’s first attempt “Round 1” (failure) from David’s second attempt “Round 2” (success)?   A: Sacrifices saturate Round 2. 13,16,17.    

When it comes to true worship: every step we take presupposes, assumes, rests on the sacrifice of Christ.  The lesson of this text is not: “Don’t touch that ark.”  “You better dance.”  Sacrifice makes all the difference: Christ’s sacrifice. 

  1. God cleanses us. How? Thru the sacrifice of Jesus. 
  2. God consecrates us. How? Thru the sacrifice of Jesus
  3. God communes with us. How? We eat his flesh & drink his blood. 


The perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ enables every part of our worship. Worship is not only about Jesus, but enabled by Jesus.  Gospel-driven worship