Thursday, December 13, 2007

2 Samuel 6:1-23 - Unrestrained Worship


Passage: 2 Samuel 6:1-23
Originally Preached: 09/12/07 - 6:30pm Service - St Stephen's Anglican, Belrose
Series: The Rise of King David

Description: Worship is not about being undignified, it's about being in unrestrained in your response to the character of God.

Comment: As I mention in the sermon I wasn't overly excited about doing this passage. Not because I don't like the passage but because worship is such a big thing at my church. I've learnt a lot about worship at my church, and to talk about it is a little bit intimidating. I'm not an expert. But I figured the Bible is a better authority on worship than me so I'd just preach the Bible as faithfully as possible.

Talking about the song "Undignified" meant that we couldn't sing it that night. Partly because I give the way we use the song a bit of a bad wrap and partly because I think it would distract people as they tried to work out if we liked the song or not. For the record I don't have a big problem if the song is used properly. If it is used as a response to what God has done, it's good. If it's used as a prescription for proper worship practice, I'm not all that impressed.

After I preached this one of my friends came up to me looking at 2 Samuel 6:13 and told me that he had never read the passage in terms of killing animals every six steps, but only after the first six steps. This kinda threw me as I'd never considered it this way at all. I'd always just assumed they killed lots of animals. Nothing in the commentaries, that I can remember, suggested otherwise but then again, maybe they just assumed it was only on the first six steps too.

That interpretation would make sense. To sacrifice for the earlier sin of Uzzah and Israel they kill an animal at the seventh step. Seven being the number symbolic of perfection. Plus it would also explain David's lack of clothes. That he killed the animal in priestly robes, then takes them off for the journey up to Jerusalem as they are covered in blood.

I had a look at a few other translations and they're equally ambiguous, except for The Message which says they "went and brought up the Chest of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David, celebrating extravagantly all the way, with frequent sacrifices of choice bulls." So at least we know what Eugene Peterson thinks. The parallel passage in 1 Chronicles 15 also doesn't shed much light on the issue. So I've decided to leave it ambiguous for now. When I learn Hebrew or remember to ask someone who knows Hebrew, I'll solve the issue.

At this stage I'm happy with David doing the Conan/Lord of the Dance thing.

I was pretty happy with this sermon. I had a few people who thought it helpful so I appreciated that. It was, in the end, a fun one to preach, so it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought.


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