May 4 (Daily reading: 1 Chronicles 13-16) When the Philistines had taken the ark back to the Israelites, “they put the ark of the LORD on the cart” (1 Sam. 6:11). Later, when the Israelites were ready to move the ark to Jerusalem, they followed the example of the Philistines, “they carried the ark of God on a new cart” (13:7). This led to the death of Uzzah when he touched the ark to steady it. David cancelled the project, and the ark stayed in the house of Obed-edom for three months; “and the LORD blessed the family of Obed-edom and all that he had” (13:14).
After David had prepared a place for the ark, he again made plans to take it to Jerusalem. But this time, they did things differently. “David said, ‘No one is to carry the ark of God except the Levites; for the LORD chose them to carry the ark of the LORD and to serve Him forever’ … The sons of the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles on them, just as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the LORD” (15:2, 15).
The mistake in the first attempt was following the example of the Philistines. We will always make a mistake if we pattern our actions after those of the world. The second attempt followed the word of God, as it had been given to Moses, for the moving of the ark. We will never make a mistake when we follow God’s word obediently! When David was obedient in following God’s instructions, the ark was brought to Jerusalem, which was an occasion of great celebration for David and the people. A song was written, including the words: “Let the heavens be joyful, and the earth rejoice; and let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.” … Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting!” (16:31, 36).
– Al Gary