Dave Burnette's Commentary

1 Chronicles Chapter 13

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Ezra
Date Penned: (430 BC)
Overview: A History of God's Chosen People (c 1-29)
Theme: The Reign of David (c 10-29)
Message: David Brings the Ark to Jerusalem (v 1-40)

1 Chronicles 13 Commentary 

(13:1) The Moving of the Ark - The parallel account of moving the ark (2 Samuel 5-6) shows that David's building projects were completed before he brought the ark to Jerusalem. The writer of Chronicles puts the moving of the ark first in order to highlight David's spiritual accomplishments and relationship to God.

(13:1) David Listens to His Followers - David took time to confer with all his officials. As king, he had ultimate authority and could have given orders on his own, but he chose to involve others in leadership. Perhaps this is why his decisions had unanimous support (13:1-5). When in a position of power, we can be tempted to make unilateral decisions, pushing for our own opinions. But effective leaders listen carefully to others' opinions, and they encourage others to participate in making decisions. Of course, we should always consult God first. We can run into big problems if we don't talk with him (see the note on 13:10).

(13:3) The Ark of the Covenant - The ark of God is also called the ark of the covenant. The most sacred object of the Hebrew faith, it was a large box containing the stone tablets on which God had written the Ten Commandments (Exodus 25:10-22). David had already made Jerusalem his political capital (1 Chronicles 11:4-9). At this time, he brought the ark there in order to make Jerusalem the nation's center for worship.

(13:3) A Symbol of Devotion - The ark of God had been in Kirjath-jearim for many years. The neglect of the ark symbolized Israel's neglect of God. Bringing the ark back to the center of Israel's life reflected David's desire to remind the nation of its true foundation--God. Neglecting the things that remind us of God--the Bible, the church, and relationships with Christians--causes us to also neglect God. How would an observer know that God is at the center of your life?

(13:6) Cherubims - Cherubims are mighty angelic beings.

(13:8) A Worshiping King - Worship in the Old Testament was more than a sober religious exercise. David's exuberance as he worshiped God with dancing and music is approved of in Scripture. Our worship should reflect a healthy balance: Sometimes we should be reflective and serious (see Exodus 19:14-25), and sometimes we should show enthusiasm and jubilation. What do you need- more serious reflection or more joyous celebration?

(13:10-14) A Swift Judgement - Uzza died instantly for touching the ark, but God blessed Obed-edom's home, where the ark was stored. This demonstrates the two-edged aspect of God's character: He is both perfectly loving and perfectly just. Great blessings come to those who obey his commands, but severe punishment comes to those who disobey him. This punishment may come swiftly or over time, but it will come. Sometimes i've focused only on the blessings God gives us, while forgetting that when we sin, "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31). At other times, however, we concentrate so much on judgment that we miss God's blessings. Don't fall into a one-sided view of God. Along with his blessings comes the responsibility to live up to his standards regarding fairness, honesty, and justice.

(13:10) A Holy God - Why did Uzza die? He touched the ark, and that offense was punishable by death. God had given specific instructions about how the ark was to be moved and carried (Numbers 4:5-15), and those instructions had been neglected. The Levites were responsible for moving the ark (there is no record that Uzza was a Levite), and it was to be carried on their shoulders with poles through its rings (Numbers 7:9). It was never to be touched. Bringing the ark on a cart followed the Philistines' example (a Samuel 631-21). Uzza, though sincere in his desire to protect the ark, had to face the consequences of his sin, and David was reminded that respect and obedience to God's laws were more important than enthusiasm about moving the ark. Also, David had conferred with all his officials (1 Chronicles 131) but had neglected to consult God. The advice of our friends and colleagues is no substitute for God's direction.

(13:11) A Serious Symbol - David was angry at both God and himself. David knew that he had done something wrong in transporting the ark, and he was angry that his plans for the joyous return of the ark had ended in a man's death. Once David's anger cooled, it was replaced by fear as the king realized the importance God placed on the ark, the symbol of his presence and covenant with Israel. David left the ark in Obed-edom's home until he could consider how to get it to Jerusalem. This allowed David to discover God's instructions for transporting the ark. The next trip would be carried out according to God's commands.


Dave Burnette's Life Application

The Presence of the Lord in Your Life


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of 1 Chronicles with Chapter 13 and we see the account of David and the ark and how the Lord smote Uzza when he touched the ark and how he blessed the family of Obededom as the ark took residence in their home. In making application we see the ark represents the power and presence of the Lord. When the presence of Lord was in the home the household prospered and when we disobey the presence of the Lord we face the judgement of God just as Uzza found out. It reminds me of times in my life where I have sought the Lord to be blessed and others where I disobeyed and had the Lord discipline me. Now not everything bad that happens to us is result of our disobedience but the principle of the ark and obeying the Lord will result in a positive or negative effect on our lives. How about you? Do you see the principle of the ark in your life? Let us learn from our text today and this principle of the ark to remember that need the presence of the Lord in our lives.


1 Chronicles 13

1 Chronicles 13

 1And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader.

 2And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good unto you, and that it be of the LORD our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren every where, that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites which are in their cities and suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us:

 3And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we enquired not at it in the days of Saul.

 4And all the congregation said that they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.

 5So David gathered all Israel together, from Shihor of Egypt even unto the entering of Hemath, to bring the ark of God from Kirjathjearim.

 6And David went up, and all Israel, to Baalah, that is, to Kirjathjearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up thence the ark of God the LORD, that dwelleth between the cherubims, whose name is called on it.

 7And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drave the cart.

 8And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets.

 9And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled.

 10And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God.

 11And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzza: wherefore that place is called Perezuzza to this day.

 12And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God home to me?

 13So David brought not the ark home to himself to the city of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite.

 14And the ark of God remained with the family of Obededom in his house three months. And the LORD blessed the house of Obededom, and all that he had.