At Christmas we sing, “Joy to the world! The Lord is come,” as we celebrate when Emmanuel – God with us – was born in Bethlehem, bringing His presence to earth. We also find a story on joy and God’s presence in the Old Testament. In 2 Samuel 6, David was outrageously joyful as he brought the Ark of the Covenant, the presence of God on earth, to Jerusalem.
What is the difference between happiness and joyfulness?
Read 2 Samuel 6:1-11. What was David’s plan for bringing the Ark “home”? How did it fail? Why did it fail? (See Number 4:5-6.)
As Joe stated on Sunday, context is key for joy. David was joyful as he was bringing the ark back (2 Samuel 6:5), but then tragedy strikes. What is David’s reaction?
Read 1 Chronicles 15:13. After Uzzah died, David was afraid, and then angry at God, but at some point he reoriented himself toward God. He learned what he did wrong in his first attempt to transport the Ark, and was careful to correct this. How do you reorient yourself toward God in times of trials?
Read 2 Samuel 6:12-13. What phrase in v. 13 shows the difference in how the Ark was transported? Why do you think this mattered so much to God?
Read 2 Samuel 6:14-15. Discuss what it must have been like to participate in or watch this event, and to see the King of Israel dancing before God with all his might.
What do you learn about joy from the following verses?
- Nehemiah 8:10
- Psalm 16:11
- Psalm 30:5b
- Psalm 51:12
- John 15:11
- John 16:22
- Acts 13:52
- Romans 15:13
- Hebrews 12:2
Read James 1:2-3. How can you be joyful in the midst of painful circumstances?
12Now King David was told, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. 13When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf.14Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, 15while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets. 2 Samuel 6:12-15
In Luke 2:10-11, the angels announced “good news that will cause great joy”. This week, read the Christmas story in Luke 2, and when you sing “Joy to the World”, remember that Joy is a person – Jesus – Who came to save us.