He was a ruler over all the land. They were just servants in the tabernacle. His wealth was beyond counting, and his home was a great house. They were given some fields to tend and had some livestock to raise, but really, they owned nothing. He could do whatever he wanted, he was the king. They had been conscripted in place of the nation’s firstborn to assist in the worship of God, they were the Levites. And what grabbed me this morning as I read, is that he dressed up just like them.
So David and the elders of Israel and the commanders of thousands went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD from the house of Obed-edom with rejoicing. . . . David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as also were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and the singers and Chenaniah the leader of the music of the singers. And David wore a linen ephod. So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, to the sound of the horn, trumpets, and cymbals, and made loud music on harps and lyres.
(1Chronicles 15:25, 27-28 ESV)
David couldn’t carry the ark. But he could dress like those who did.
It’s not that it was beneath him to do such manual labor. Instead, it was above his pay grade . . . way above his pay grade. The holiness of God’s presence demanded that only those set apart by God were to transport the ark of the covenant. And those set apart for such privileged and glorious labor were the Levites.
But if David could of . . . he would of.
Instead he gets as close as he can. Part of the procession, he joins the parade as they march the ark up to Jerusalem. Singing with those who sing the songs of redemption, dancing with those who dance the dance of joy and celebration, dressing like those who carry the place where God’s glory was pleased to dwell. Nothing, it would seem, jazzed the king like dressing up and drawing near to his God.
The lyrics of these servants would be his lyrics:
How lovely is Your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. . . . For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of My God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
(Psalm 84:1-2, 10 ESV)
So, if he couldn’t serve like them, then at least this king would dress like them . . . and with all his heart seek to draw near like them.
And while I’m no king, and certainly not a Levite, I too can dress up and draw near to God. Having been given a garment made not of fine threads, but crafted with the perfection of Christ. A robe, not of fine linen, but of divine righteousness.
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of righteousness . . .
(Isaiah 61:10a ESV)
It’s not some garment to leave hanging in the closet. It’s not that 3-piece suit stored with mothballs only to be retrieved for special occasions. Instead, it is to be put on everyday. Everyday providing new opportunity to draw near to where the glory dwells. Wearing the robe of His righteousness, we can confidently enter the veil and draw near to His holy presence. Clothed in Christ’s perfection, we are so bold to think we can sup with the Creator Himself and abide in His holy presence.
No place we’d rather be. One day there, better than a thousand elsewhere.
Like David, we can dress up and draw near.
Because of His grace. All for His glory.