EVER LEARN A LESSON THE HARD WAY? Like, it pays to change the oil in your car once in awhile and not ignore the little warnings that pop up in the display on your dash. Or how about the lesson that embarrassing tattoos go on your body a lot easier than they come off. Or maybe, it might be a good idea to think twice about that post on Facebook or the content of that e-mail before you click “send”. Don’t worry, I’ve got my own list of “lessons learned the hard way!”
David learned an important lesson “the hard way” … The lesson? SINCERITY IS NOT ENOUGH… It pays to do things God’s way – it pays to obey!
David had a noble and admirable desire… to bring the Ark (the sacred box that epitomized God’s presence among His people) back to its resting place in Israel. David said, “‘Let us bring the ark of our God back to us, for we did not inquire of it during the reign of Saul.’ The whole assembly agreed to do this because it seemed right to all the people.’”
This is what the Bible says, “So David assembled all Israel… David and all Israel went to Baalah of Judah (Kiriath Jearim) to bring up from there the ark of God the Lord, who is enthroned between the cherubim—the ark that is called by the Name. They moved the ark of God from Abinadab’s house on a new cart, with Uzzah and Ahio guiding it. David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, timbrels, cymbals and trumpets. When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God.”
David’s response? “Then David was angry because the Lord’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah. David was afraid of God that day and asked, ‘How can I ever bring the ark of God to me?’” (From 1 Chronicles 13 NIV)
David had not followed God’s command – he was sincere, but disobedient – he ignored Divine directions. The Ark was to be moved only by the Levites, who were to carry it with poles inserted through rings in the side of the ark (Exodus 25.12-15). None of the holy things were to be touched, on penalty of death (Numbers 4.15).
Later however David “Prepared a place for the Ark of God and pitched a tent for it. Then David said, ‘No one but the Levites may carry the Ark of the Lord and to minister before Him forever’ … Then David summoned Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel and Amminadab the Levites. He said to them, ‘You are the heads of the Levitical families; you and your fellow Levites are to consecrate yourselves and bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. WE DID NOT INQUIRE OF HIM ABOUT HOW TO DO IT IN THE PRESCRIBED WAY.’ So the priests and Levites consecrated themselves in order to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord.” (From 1 Chronicles 15.1-15 NIV)
Lesson learned! (But the hard way) … Sincerity alone, is not adequate! Religious enthusiasm minus obedience “won’t cut it!” My prayer today? Lord help me to learn this important lesson of life and worship… obedience matters – in fact, “obedience is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22)! May I learn the import lessons of life and worship “the easy way”! MAY I PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO WHAT GOD’S WORD TEACHES AND NOT SIMPLY DO WHAT “SEEMS RIGHT IN MY OWN EYES.”