DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!
In 1 Chronicles 11 you can read the story about how David became the King of all Israel. He and his warriors then captured Jerusalem and it became his home. Then in chapter 13 is the story about how David decided to move the Ark of God there. Verse 3 David says: “‘It is time to bring back the Ark of our God, for we neglected it during the reign of Saul.’”
In 13:7 it says: “They placed the Ark of God on a new cart and brought it from Abinadab’s house. Uzzah and Ahio were guiding the cart.” It was definitely a time of celebration for the nation to finally be bringing this back where it should be; and, I am sure that since the cart they were going to be moving the Ark on was “new”, all was good. Then the unthinkable happens. Verses 9-11a says: “But when they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the Ark. Then the Lord’s anger was aroused against Uzzah, and he struck him dead because he had laid his hand on the Ark. So Uzzah died there in the presence of God. David was angry because the Lord’s anger had burst out against Uzzah…”
It must have been a very confusing time for David and all the others that were elated that they could finally do what seemed so right to them. Verse 12 says: “David was now afraid of God, and he asked, ‘How can I ever bring the Ark of God back into my care?’”
Are you like me? I have had things happen in my life when I thought I was definitely doing the right thing. I would make a decision and move on it, then things would turn and go south on me. It would be confusing and I could not figure out what had gone wrong – why did not things work out like they should have? Sometimes it was little things but other times it was more monumental.
After a period of time when I could really focus and think about things rationally, I would realize that I had just jumped out on my own, thinking that what I was doing was a good thing, so what could possibly go wrong? But…I had neglected to stop and pray about it.
Some people think that just because what they are doing is a good thing – no bad intentions at all – that it should be fine to step out and do it without “bothering God”. After all, He is busy trying to wrangle all those sinful people. He does not need to be pestered by me about something that is so trivial and obviously okay.
The fact is, our God is very concerned about every aspect of our lives. For some reason, that is something hard for us to conceive. But what we need to do is consider how we feel about our own children and/or other family members. We are concerned about things they do that could have an impact on their lives – and possibly even the lives of others. Sometimes an innocent, seemingly right thing to do can go terribly wrong as it did for David and Uzzah. (The fact is, Uzzah was a Levite and he should have known better and advised David – but I guess in all the excitement, he did not think it was necessary.)
As it turns out, they apparently forgot how God had instructed that the Ark always be moved – on poles carried on the shoulders of Levites, so that it was not touched with their hands at all. I would assume that they used poles to lift the Ark up onto the cart since God did not strike anyone dead for touching it before. They must have been taking the easy way out by putting it on the cart. (Just like we sometimes try to take the easy way out instead of doing things as they should be done.)
Apparently either David himself or someone else remembered the instructions God had issued in the past about handling the Ark. So, after the city was a bit more established and a tent was erected as a place for the Ark, they went again to bring it into the city – and did it in the manner that had been established.
I believe that if David had just consulted God before that first journey to bring the Ark back, he likely would have been told what should be done in order to do it correctly. It would have saved a man’s life and would not have killed the joy everyone felt. He would have saved himself the headache and done it right the first time!
That is something we should daily keep foremost in our minds. It is so easy to step out ahead of God trying to do good and right things. But if we want to ensure that what we are doing is the best for ourselves and others around us, it is as simple as taking a few moments to inquire of God. Save yourself a potential headache.
Written by Karran Martin – April 10, 2021
P.S. On February 23, 2020 I published an article titled “Decisions, Decisions” based on some of these same verses. It has a bit of a different slant to it, so if you would like to check that out you can go to the archives and read it. But when I read these passages in my Bible study time yesterday and today I just felt like I was supposed to write this, even if there is some duplication. Maybe there is someone out there reading this that just needed to hear it?
(Quoted scriptures are all from the New Living Translation.)