And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep. 2 Samuel 6:13
I’m going backwards. I was supposed to begin chapter eight of Second Samuel today, but for the last forty eight hours or so, my mind has been flipping back to this passage from chapter six. I have gotten the sense that I should unpack the verse some more.
We would recall that the first official act of King David was to bring the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem and that the feat was a total catastrophe. As a result Uzzah died and the Ark was sent away. Obed-Edom housed the Ark for ninety days and old Obed and his family were blessed by God. Quoting from my blog of two days ago…
In the three month period Obed-Edom had the Ark, David did his homework. The prescribed manner to move the Ark was six paces at a time. Every six steps the procession would stop, an altar would be erected, and animals would be sacrificed. The ritual would continue until the Ark reached its resting place, regardless if was ten feet or ten miles.
That got me thinking. If stopping to offer sacrifice and praise to God every six steps was appropriate then, is it not proper for us today? I’m not being legalistic, I’m being realistic. Is the God we worship today somehow not as worthy to be praised and exalted as He was in these days? Of course He is worthy; nothing at all has changed, except the fact that we don’t have an Ark to move around.
So What Am I Saying?
I am saying that this practice has an application for us today ~and~ it is not unreasonable for us to stop every six steps and offer our sacrifices of praise. What would that look like? First, jot down on a piece of paper what you typically do on a normal day numbering them. For example, my day looks something like this:
1) Wake up
2) Get dressed
3) Do ‘bathroom’ stuff
5) See the family off to work and school
6) Check emails
7) Ministry stuff
8) Bible study
9) House chores
10) Guitar practice
11) House chores
That’s only half my day and I purposely left out a lot of incidentals between entries, but looking at the list would it not be considered reasonable to pause at every sixth item to give thanks in prayer and check in with the Lord? I believe it is reasonable and in so doing we will bless God and He will in turn bless us. Going back to the previous blog entry for a moment…
To me it (pausing every sixth step) speaks to my continual need to be reminded of Christ’s presence in my life. The fact is I can finish praying or reading His word, get up and take six steps and forget all about Him. This passage reminds me of that deficiency in faith walk. It also reminds me in simplicity to draw near to God and He will draw near to me (James 4:8), to acquaint myself with Him, to be at peace and good will come to me (Job 22:21), to deny myself and take up my cross daily (Luke 9:23), and finally, as often as I eat the bread and drink of the cup, to proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes (1 Corinthians 11:26).
The world is into efficiency and frankly, stopping in the middle of the day to do anything other then what we have scheduled seems unproductive. However, our God is a God of quality, not quantity. He has so much more in store for us then we could ever begin to imagine. Remove Jesus Christ from the equation and every aspect of whatever we’re involved with suffers.
I would suggest that you give this six-step program a try, for its model has divine roots. While it’s not commanded of God, we can read the biblical account and make the application understanding the spiritual implications. I suspect that for many of you [that] as you go about making your daily lists you’ll discover you’re already doing it (and didn’t realize it) or you discover (like did) that there are significant gaps in your day when you are out of contact with the Creator of the universe.