When things turn out all wrong
Sometimes you think you are doing things right, and it turns out all wrong.
In studying for Sunday School recently, I encountered the story of David bringing the ark of the covenant home to Jerusalem. The ark was an incredibly important piece of the Israelite’s worship. It was supposed to be in the most holy place inside the tabernacle. It was there that the high priest met with God. The ark had been stolen by the Philistines, and then returned to their land. Now King David was ready to bring it to the capital city.
David had gathered 10,000 people to go get the ark. They were from all over the kingdom. They were excited, and praising God with all their might. The Bible even puts it that way – with all their might (II Samuel 6:5). They had a new king who wanted to follow God. Their God was coming to their capital city and they were going to hear from Him! Everyone was ecstatic! As they brought the ark into the city, the oxen stumbled and Uzzah reached out and touched the ark to steady it. Immediately, Uzzah fell dead.
David was angry. Yeah. Then his anger turned to fear of God. Immediately, he was unwilling to bring the ark to Jerusalem. (II Samuel 6:8-10)
It was that point in the story when I thought. “Oh my, that’s me on all counts”.
Angry at God – then afraid of having done it wrong – and then unwilling to continue. I’ve done that. I have followed God with abandon – with all my might – believing that He could do anything. Then He responded with not doing what I thought was His will. And I quit. Afraid of asking, for sure. Afraid to be wrong, probably. Afraid to lead people to pray or do something that He wouldn’t answer because I asked for the wrong thing, yes.
But to stop asking or stop doing? That means I won’t have the privilege of celebrating the answers!
David only waited 3 months. During that time, he talked with the Lord about what happened and took responsibility for the fact that he had not followed God’s instructions for transporting the ark. Then he did it correctly. He brought the ark into Jerusalem, dancing with abandon in celebration. God was pleased.
Those are amazing things about our God: He wants us to celebrate in His presence. He wants us to follow His instructions, and He is willing to forgive us completely when we don’t.
Don’t stop obeying (or believing) when God does something that doesn’t make sense to you. Stop and ask God about it. It might be that you were headed the wrong way or doing the wrong thing. It might be that you were wrong about how to do it. Ask, listen, respond, and then get up and try again.
(II Samuel 6, and I Chronicles 13 & 15 tell the whole story)