The Tabernacle of David


John Hoole – September 27, 2009




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In our last lesson, I felt led to take a detour from my notes.  I asked if anyone in the class could name a tabernacle that existed between the Tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Solomon.  Then I introduced you to a tabernacle erected by David.  Today, I would like to come back and discuss the Tabernacle of David more thoroughly.  I think we can learn some very important things.


Let me begin with Passage describing the reign of Solomon, which refers back to an event during the time of his father, King David.


2 Chronicles 1:1-4 NKJV


1       Now Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the Lord his God was with him and exalted him exceedingly.

2       And Solomon spoke to all Israel, to the captains of thousands and of hundreds, to the judges, and to every leader in all Israel, the heads of the fathers' houses.

3       Then Solomon, and all the assembly with him, went to the high place that was at Gibeon; for the tabernacle of meeting with God was there, which Moses the servant of the Lord had made in the wilderness.

4       But David had brought up the ark of God from Kiriath Jearim to the place David had prepared for it, for he had pitched a tent for it at Jerusalem.


Notice several things in this Passage.


•  The Tabernacle of Moses was located at Gibeon.


•  The Ark of the Covenant was located at Kiriath Jearim – the ark was not with the Tabernacle.


•  David brought the Ark to Jerusalem – placing it in a tent he had prepared for it.


That means it was David’s intent not to place the Ark in the Tabernacle.  But there was something about David’s erecting this second worship center that touched God’s heart.  It also appears that it revealed God’s intent and desire with regard to worship.


Now let’s look at a Psalm that also speaks of this event.  Psalm 132 refers to David.


Psalms 132:1-5 NIV


1.      O Lord, remember David and all the hardships he endured.

2       He swore an oath to the Lord and made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:

3       "I will not enter my house or go to my bed — 

4       I will allow no sleep to my eyes, no slumber to my eyelids,

5       till I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob."


This Psalm refers to an oath made by David.  David is quoted as having made a vow not to enter his own palace to sleep, until he found a place for the Lord to dwell.  This shows a passion for the presence of God not seen in King Saul’s latter years.


Let me give an historical setting for what is mentioned in these comments.  Also keep in mind what we read in 2 Chronicles 1 a moment ago, when the ark was found, David had it brought to the city of Jerusalem.  This means that neither the vow of David or the return of the Ark happened soon after David became king.  When David became king, there was no Jerusalem.  2 Samuel 5 tells us that David reigned for 7½ years in Hebron, and 33 years on Jerusalem.


When David was crowned King, the city was called Jebus, and controlled by the Jebusites.  David would conquer the city, and rename it.  And it would be at this time David makes his vow to bring the Ark to a place in Jerusalem he will make for God to dwell.


This tent is called the Tabernacle of David by two prophets who lived 250 years later.  Isaiah and Amos both prophesied during the reign of King Uzziah.  They were also contemporaries of Micah and Hosea.  Isaiah and Amos each prophesy about the significance of the Tabernacle of David.  Let’s read each of these passages.


Isaiah 16:5 NKJV


5       In mercy the throne will be established; And One will sit on it in truth, in the tabernacle of David, judging and seeking justice and hastening righteousness."


Isaiah 16 is speaking of the judgment to come upon Moab, but the prophet makes reference to One (the Messiah) sitting on a throne in the Tabernacle of David as he dispenses his judgment and justice.


The prophet Amos, while denouncing Israel’s sin during a dark era of her history, declared God’s word about the hope of a future day.


Amos 9:11 NKJV


11     "On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old;


Why would God set Himself to recover a second Tabernacle.  Especially since the Tabernacle of Moses had by the time of Isaiah and Amos been dismantled.  At this time the grand Temple of Solomon had been in use for over one hundred years.




For sure, in David’s Tabernacle, the Ark and God’s presence was more approachable.  In the Tabernacle of Moses, only the High Priest approached the Ark of the Covenant, and that only once each year – on Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement.


After David had the Ark placed in the tent he had prepared for it, the Lord send the prophet Nathan to speak to David.  Because the Lord was pleased, Nathan prophesies a beautiful set of promises for David and his family.  He says He would make the name of David great.  God announces a combination of promises that include blessings during his lifetime, the promise of eternal life, the establishing of a family line that will fulfill God’s will in future years.”  Then Nathan tells David, “The Lord tells you that He will personally make you a house” (2 Sam. 7:11).  What more could a person desire.


In response to the message of Nathan the prophet, 2 Samuel 7:18, “Then King David went in and sat before the Lord.”  That phrase is a telling phrase.  David did something that was unthinkable for the previous 400+ years.  A man who was not an high priest had approached the Ark of the Covenant, and was communing with God in personal intimacy.  The whole text makes clear that there was nothing glib or reckless about this change in tradition.  And David is called by God, “A man after God’s own heart.”  That is mentioned originally in 1 Samuel 13:14, and quoted in Acts 13:22.


Earlier in our lesson today, I mentioned that 2 Samuel 5 tells us about the conquest of Jebus and the changing of the name to Jerusalem.  The next chapter - 2 Samuel 6 – relates the story of bringing the Ark from Kiriath Jearim.  As it approached Jerusalem, there was much singing and dancing.


2 Samuel 6:5 says: “all the house of Israel played music before the Lord on all kinds of instruments of fir wood, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals.


2 Samuel 6:17 (NKJV) then tells us:


17     So they brought the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place in the midst of the tabernacle that David had erected for it ….


With the return of the Ark and the setting it in the tabernacle of David, a more intimate and joyful worship ensued.  A whole set of priests – still from the lineage of Levi – were installed, who played a whole set of instruments (1 Chronicles 16:6).  And later in the same chapter – verse 37 – they were to play their instruments before the ark every day.


This also means that during the reign of David and through a few years of Solomon’s reign that this tabernacle was the place of worship.  That means that David wrote most, if not all, his psalms for singing in this tabernacle.  Let’s look at a few of those Psalms.


Psalms 15:1 NKJV


15     Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?


Some have concluded from the last phrase about “Your holy hill” that this tabernacle was located on Mount Moriah.


Psalms 27:6 NKJV


6       And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.


Notice the type of sacrifice mentioned here.  Sacrifices of joy and praise.  Psalm 51:17 speaks of a sacrifices of a broken spirit.  Psalm 107:2 refers to the sacrifice of thanksgiving.


Back to the Tabernacle of David.


Psalms 43:3-4 NKJV


3       Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your tabernacle.

4       Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; And on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God.


                   Once again God’s holy hill is mentioned.


Psalms 76:1-2 NKJV


1       In Judah God is known; His name is great in Israel.

2       In Salem also is His tabernacle, and His dwelling place in Zion.


Salem is an ancient name for Jerusalem during the time of Abraham.  And the writer is mentioning the tabernacle in Jerusalem – not the tabernacle of Moses.


Each of these Psalms mention the tabernacle, and most likely they are referring to the tabernacle David set up in Jerusalem.  David inaugurated praise worship in this tabernacle, which was characterized by:


                   •  Hand clapping – Psalm 47:1.


                   •  Shouting – Psalm 47:1.


                   •  Singing – Psalm 47:6-7.


                   •  Dancing – Psalm 149:3.


                   •  Hand waving – Psalm 134:2.


                   •  Displaying Banners – Psalm 20:5.


                   •  Every form of musical instruments – Psalm 150.


• Trumpet, Lute (10 stringed), Harp, Timbrel (small drum or tambourine), String Instruments, Flute, Cymbals, Lyre.


There are two things we have learned about the difference between the tabernacles of Moses and David.


1.      The latter allowed immediate access into the very presence of God.  One did not need to go through an intermediary – like a priest.


2.     Unlike the tabernacle of Moses, which focused on sacrifices of animals, the focus of the tabernacle of David was a sacrifice of praise and joy.


The fact that intimacy with God and sacrifices of praises of deep joy go together should not surprise us.  Psalm 22:3 tells us, “He inhabits the praises of His people.”  Last week I asked you how do we know that Christ is here in the room?  This is one of the answers you gave.  God has promised us that our praise and adoration to and for Him is the mechanism to ensure that He will be with us.


Over the last year I have asked the Lord to help me be an influence for righteousness.  With that quest, I have asked God that wherever I go that people sense His presence even if I don’t say a word.  I want to be full of him so that people recognize His presence even if they don’t know I am there.  I know that there are times when I do need to open my mouth.  But this must be about Him, not me.  He must increase and I must decrease.  But I also know that will never happen without intimacy with my Lord.  I can never reflect Him without having intimacy with Him.


King David makes a statement in Psalm 84 that for him might seem to be strange.  There is a song people sometimes sing, the chorus of which has these words:


         Better is one day in your courts,

         Better is one day in your house,

         Better is one day in your courts

         than a thousand elsewhere.


But that is only the first phrase of Psalm 84:10, and most of you know the remainder.  Let me read it.


Psalms 84:10 NIV


10     Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.


This is a page out of David’s intimate journey with God.  David was a king.  That is a real position of influence.  Why did he say he wanted to be a doorkeeper in the house of his God?  He would probably come back and answer that question:  “I have learned something - that a doorkeeper at the right door has more influence in the world that a king on his throne.”


A doorkeeper in the house of God is a doorkeeper at the gate of Heaven.  These are people or groups of people who have sought and found the face of God.  These are those who are not satisfied with the blessings of God, but, like Moses, want to see God’s full glory.  Those who have searched for and have been touched by the glory of God are those who will have the greatest influence in their family, their church, their city.


I want to be a doorkeeper.  I want to open the door of heaven so that others who follow will enjoy its benefits.  I want this entire class to be doorkeepers who enjoy such intimacy with God, others will be influenced by His glory in you.  Never underestimate the power of His presence.


If you can be a doorkeeper and open the door of the manifest presence of God to your church or your community, please understand that you have been placed by God in a most influential position.  You or I can literally become a walking doorway to God’s presence.  And people can sense the glory shining under and around the door.


Let me briefly return to the story of David bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.  He goes to Kiriath Jearim and begins the journey.  But, as most of you are aware, something went wrong, and a man named Uzzah dies for touching the Ark.




He stops the journey and places the Ark in the house of one named Obed-Edom.  It remains there for three months.


2 Samuel 6:10-11 NKJV


10     So David would not move the ark of the Lord with him into the City of David; but David took it aside into the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite.

11     The ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite three months. And the Lord blessed Obed-Edom and all his household.


Notice that the Lord blesses Obed-Edom simply because the ark was in his home.  Or to say it another way – Obed-Edom was bless by having God’s presence in his home.  We don’t know the extent of the blessings – whether it was his crops, his wealth, his family’s health.  But in the verse that follows, it mentions this blessing again, so whatever the blessing was, it was markedly noticeable during this three months.  So we have another man who knew what it was to live in the presence of God.


Obed-edom knew what it was to have a divine visitation turn into a divine habitation.  And he discovered there were side-benefits that came with the job.  His crops grew better, his dog stopped biting people, his roof didn’t leak, his kids didn’t get sick, and everything in his life was incredibly blessed.  And I believe the tenor of the Scripture implies that these blessing were noticeable by others.  Read the next verse.


2 Samuel 6:12 NKJV


12     Now it was told King David, saying, "The Lord has blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God." So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with gladness.


David hears of the astounding blessing Obed-edom is experiencing because of God’s presence.  He decides to wait no longer to bring the ark to Jerusalem.


According to the John Hoole version, the story could go something like this:


Knock, Knock


“Obed, this is King David.  You know the Ark we left at your house about 3 months ago?  We’re here to pick it up now.  My, Obed, things sure do look nice around here.”


Obed:  “King David, let me get this straight: You are going to take the ark away from me?”


David:  “Yes, well, as I recall, you were a little bit afraid when we first left it here.”


Obed:  “That was then.  Now I’ve learned that wherever that ark is, there is a blessing.”


David:  “Well, we need to take it now because I’ve prepared a special place for the ark in Jerusalem.  It will take us a while to get it there, but once we do, the whole nation will be blessed.”


Obed:  “King David, could you hold on just a minute?  


….Mom, you and the kids pack up!  Yeah, pack up all your stuff and gather all the clothes.


Obed Jr.:  “Where are we going, Dad?”


Obed:  Wherever this ark is going, that’s where we are going.”


The next time we hear of Obed-edom, do you know what it says he is doing?  You can read it in 1 Chronicles 15:24 – He is a doorkeeper for the ark.  It almost looks like Obed-Edom took any job just to be near the presence of the Lord.


Where are our doorkeepers?  God knows we need doorkeepers more than we need kings and presidents.  We need people who know how to access His presence and open the door for the glory of God to come into our homes, churches, cities and nations.


David again makes the call for doorkeepers or gate keepers.


Psalms 24:7 NKJV


7       Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.


Gates don’t have heads.  It is obvious that WE are the gates in this Psalm.  If we lift up our heads, what happens?  The Hebrew literalization of that phrase is “be opened up you everlasting doors.”  When we obey this command, the King of glory Himself will come in.


What does this mean?  We, as the Church are literally a gateway for the rest of the world to have an encounter with God.  When you stand in worship and praise of our Great God, you are literally opening wide a spiritual gate – an entrance for the risen Lord.


Doorkeepers and Gatekeepers are a rare and priceless breed.  Are you and I going to unlock the windows of Heaven and lock up the gates of hell?  Will you prop open the door so the King of Glory can personally come in?