The reading in Samuel relates the account of David having the Ark carried into his city, making it God’s city. This act is the beginning of the three-thousand-year role of Jerusalem as the holiest city of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Who decided to build a new cart to haul the Ark? It was a bad choice. The old cart belonged to the Philistines who just wanted to get rid of the dangerous Ark. [1 Samuel 6] According to Exodus 25:12-14, the Ark had gold rings through which gold covered acacia wood poles slid so the Levites could carry the Ark. Other verses insist on that method of movement.
When we look back to the return of the Ark from the Philistines, we notice the lack of any mention of the gold poles. Most likely they took the gold and burned the wood. Likewise, the poles are absent from this reading. Perhaps Uzzah died more because he forgot to carry the Ark than because he had it thrown on a cart like some sack of beans.
Either way, we see King David dancing his way to the city. Verse 13 has those carrying the Ark [with poles?] take six steps when David stops them, so he can sacrifice a bull and a calf. Nothing bad happened in those few steps, reassuring the King that he had God’s blessing to continue.
Why dancing? And all that music? Turns out it was very common in that age for special processions, especially religious ones. All the kingdoms around them did it, so David did as well. Remember that David was a musician.
Why did David make a fool of himself as he danced? [Verse 14, David whirled with all his might before the Lord. JSB] He gave himself so completely to God that he lost himself. His joy overflowed. His wife Michal accused him of exposing himself like common riffraff. His answer? I will dance before the Lord and dishonor myself even more. JSB
The Gospel reading in Mark has a very different dance, not one before the Lord. It was a dance steeped in sin and resulted in the execution of God’s messenger.
The issue for each of us is to know when we dance before God and when we do it for our gain.
Be righteous and do good.