We are studying 1 Chronicles 15 for Sunday, December 1, focusing on some of the verses that describe how David arranges to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. [Some notes on the text are here.] Here are some questions about the text we might want to consider or discuss:
The first verse introduces the Ark of God. [The design of the ark is described in Exodus 25; its construction is described in Exodus 37; instructions for its care in transport in the wilderness, Numbers 4.] How do we ourselves think of the Ark of the Covenant? [For instance, we might think of it as a “sacred object”; a “ritual object”; a “religious symbol” …] What makes us think of it that way? Why would it have been important for this Ark to reside in Jerusalem, do we think?
What in our religious life would be similar to the Ark? In what way or ways would it be similar? How would it be different? Does this comparison prompt any thoughts, feelings, or questions? What are those?
Would we call the transport of the Ark of the Covenant “worship”? Why, or why not?
What is our definition of “worship”? Where does that understanding of worship come from, do we think? What would it include, what would it exclude?
One definition of worship is “formal acknowledgement of God’s existence and power.” According to that definition, would the arrangements made for the relocation of the Ark be “worship”? Why, or why not? Did this change our answer from the first question? Why, or why not? What does all this tell us about the way we think about worship?
According to verse 2, only the Levites are allowed to convey the Ark of God; David will now comply with these instructions. For one thing, this means that ritual responsibilities in ancient Israel were hereditary. What thoughts, feelings, or questions does this raise for us? Why, do we think?
How do we assign ritual responsibilities? Is that similar in any way to the way these responsibilities were assigned in ancient Israel? How? How is it different?
Does it matter how these responsibilities are assigned? How? Why?
Verses 16-24 and 28 refer to the musical accompaniment of the relocation of the Ark. What role did this music seem to play in this event? Why do we say that? What role does music play in our worship? Why do we say that?
Verses 16 & 25 refer to the joy that people expressed during this event. How do we understand that – what made the event joyful, do we think?
What makes our worship joyful? What elements of our joyful worship seem to have been present in the worship in 1 Chronicles 15? What elements seem to have been missing? What effect do we think that would have on us? Why?
Overall, it seems to me that we might want to think about the relationship to worship being demonstrated in 1 Chronicles 15, and how it compares and contrasts with the relationship to worship we ourselves have, and then look for what light the text sheds on that.