News flash! It is possible to have a noble, honorable desire… seek to fulfill it… and do it in such a way that it displeases God! The “how” matters… Not just the desire, or the “what!”
The sacred “Ark of God” – the symbol of God’s presence among His people – had been displaced. It had been taken out of the “Tabernacle” – from behind the curtain (the “veil”) – from the room referred to as “the Holiest of All” – and was in exile in Kiriath-jearim. King David had a noble desire to “bring back the Ark” to its resting place where “God enthroned (manifested) Himself” among His people. A noble desire – He just went about it in the wrong way. God’s law directed the sacred Ark to be carried on poles by prescribed individuals (Exodus 25:13-14). David probably thought, “What does that matter – let’s just get the Ark back where it belongs!”
So here is where the story I read this morning in the Bible begins…
“So David assembled all Israel … to bring the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim… to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the LORD who sits enthroned above the cherubim. And they carried the ark of God on a new cart, from the house of Abinadab, and Uzzah and Ahio were driving the cart. And David and all Israel were celebrating before God with all their might, with song and lyres and harps and tambourines and cymbals and trumpets. And when they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzzah put out his hand to take hold of the ark, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark, and he died there before God. And David was angry because the LORD had broken out against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzza to this day.” (1 Chronicles 13:5–11 ESV)
I mean it was a great day in Israel… The Ark – the sacred symbol of God’s presence among His people – was coming home! The worship was loud – they sang and danced and celebrated with all their might! And in the middle of all of that… Suddenly God’s holiness had been violated and Uzzah was dead! [Important lesson – Celebratory worship does not cover violations of God’s holiness and disobedience!] And then David was angry… angry at God! Figure! [Another important lesson! It does pay to be angry at God for our mistakes and violations of His revealed will!]
Above all, it seems to me this is what I need to remember… Sincerity does not excuse disobedience. It’s not only the “what” that matters to God, It’s the “how” – and when the Lord has prescribed not only the “what” that He desires, but also the “how,” I dare not ignore and violate the “how!” And loud, celebratory, worship does not excuse or cover that oversight and disobedience!