9 David was afraid of the Lord that day and said, “How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?” 10 He was not willing to take the ark of the Lord to be with him in the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. 11 The ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the Lord blessed him and his entire household.
We define fear as an emotion, being afraid of harm. For a believer, fear of the Lord is different. It is an expression that means expressing awe and reverence for God. We worship God who is Creator of the universe. We give praise to God our savior in Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God who dwells within us through the gift of the Holy Spirit. We love God who is mighty and whose judgments are just. We are not afraid of God’s judgment, because we express sorrow for our sins to God in confidence that Jesus has taken them away on the cross and forgives us.
The Ark of the Lord was a box containing the tablets of the Ten Commandments, a pot of manna and Aaron’s rod, and it was also a place for God to reveal his will to his servants. David planned to take the ark to the City of David, but he changed his mind, because he was afraid. He was afraid that God would do something to judge David, or that David could face punishment for an act of wrongdoing. So David was not willing to take the ark of the Lord, this symbol of God’s divine presence. Instead, he took the ark to the house of Obed-Edom.
David was afraid of God and the ark. In contrast, Obed-Edom displayed fear of the Lord as an act of worship. He took on the special responsibility in keeping the ark of the Lord safe within his home, and God blessed him and his household. As the chapter goes on, David realized what blessing he was missing by being stuck in his fears, so he brought the ark to Jerusalem, the City of David, dancing before the ark and praising God with all his might. In the same way, God is also inviting us to worship and give praise to the Lord, show a healthy dose of awe and reverence for our God, and let go of our fears. God loves us and is ready to do whatever it takes to claim us and bless us into eternity.
Gracious God, we give to you our fears, but let us not be afraid of you. You sacrificed your only son for us, allowing him to die to forgive us our wrongs. This is the act of one who loves, not one who is ready to condemn us. Let us praise you and be joyful before you, for you are our God who saves us. Amen.