Today’s Reading – 1 Chronicles 13 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 48:1 & 2
Read the “0511 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps.” (1 Chronicles 15:28)
It is never easy to pick up the pieces and keep moving forward after blowing it “big time.” The natural reaction to failure is to just go hide under a rock somewhere and quit. That is exactly what David probably wanted to do after failing to bring the ark of God to Jerusalem the first time; a failure by the way which resulted in the death of an innocent man – Uzza.
The background to the story is complicated, but basically what had happened was that the ark of God had been taken in previous years by the Philistines in a battle they fought with Israel. The Philistines received the judgment of God because of it, so they returned it to Israel. For years the ark remained in Kirjath-jearim, but when David became king he wanted to bring the ark to Jerusalem (See 1 Samuel 4 & 5). David’s first attempt to bring the ark to Jerusalem is recorded in 1 Chronicles 13. There we see David with all good intentions and excitement because he believes that he is doing something that the Lord would be pleased with. David may have been doing what God wanted done; the problem was, however, he was not doing it the way that God had instructed. The ark of God was supposed to be transported by the Levites in a very specific way:
“ This shall be the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation, about the most holy things:  And when the camp setteth forward, Aaron shall come, and his sons, and they shall take down the covering vail, and cover the ark of testimony with it:  And shall put thereon the covering of badgers’ skins, and shall spread over it a cloth wholly of blue, and shall put in the staves thereof. …  And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation.” (Numbers 4:4-6, 15)
When David moved the ark in 1 Chronicles 13, he placed the ark on a “new cart,” which may at first sound like a great way to honor the Lord and His ark, but it was not the way that God wanted it done. It was supposed to be carried by the Levites. When the oxen that were pulling the cart stumbled and the cart wobbled, Uzza did what any of us would probably do, he put his hands on the ark to keep it from falling off of the cart. God was very upset because nobody was supposed to touch the ark. Even the Levites were forbidden to actually put their hands on the ark itself; they were only permitted to touch the staves (or rods) that were inserted into the loops on the ark. The result of Uzza’s (and David’s) error was that Uzza was killed by God. The fault for Uzza’s death, however, lay more with David and the Levites who should have known better. They blew it.
David failed, and his failure resulted in the death of a good man. That would have been enough to cause many a good man to quit trying to serve God at all, but David took some time to recover, and got back up and tried again to get it right, and this time He was successful. He instructs the Levites to carry the ark as prescribed by Moses in the Law, and they get the ark to Jerusalem where it belongs:
“ And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent.  Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the LORD chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever. …  For because ye did it not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order.  So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel.  And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the LORD.” (1 Chronicles 15:1-2, 13-15)
The point of this article is simple: don’t quit. You are going to fail and will probably do so often. The only people that do not fail are people who do not do anything. Also, your failure may hurt other people who are completely innocent. Bad decisions often have horrible consequences. You will want to run and hide, but you must eventually get back up and keep doing what you need to do. Take some time to prayerfully reevaluate what went wrong, but if you know that what you are trying to do is the will of God, try again, but this time be sure to do it God’s way. “The tough keep going.” Good leaders are not people who do not ever fail, they just do not allow their failures to keep them from trying to succeed again.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.