industrial worker adjusting a large gear April 29 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): 2Samuel 6:12-23; 1Chronicles 15, 16; Psalm 15

Do It Right

Sometimes in relatively unimportant tasks we just need to “get 'er done”. At other times, however, it is very important to get things done right the first time. Here are a few examples of the importance of doing things right.

An auto mechanic works on a car or truck. What happens if he does not follow the specifications for repairing the vehicle? He messes up the vehicle's normal operation and must do it all over again at his own expense.

Similarly, when a dressmaker does not follow the pattern, she has to pull out the seams and start over.

Carpenters have a saying, “measure twice, cut once.” If the wood is cut to the wrong measurement the piece is ruined. It's faster and less expensive to double-check than to make a mistake.

If a person were going to bring an expensive audio-visual system, computer system, or other machinery into his home, church, or business, he would want to get the most qualified and insured people to move it. He would not just pick any person off the street to handle it. He would even prepare the site where it will be used. He would train himself or other people to learn how to run the new equipment.

Proper preparation is essential, not just for practical reasons but for emotional and spiritual reasons. A wedding is a very important ceremony, and we have just one chance to get it right. Sloppy preparation can mar the sanctity of the event. All of these illustrations prepare us for today's lesson.

King David starts his reign with the right desire—he wants to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem (it is a symbol of God's presence). His troops recently conquered Jerusalem from the Jebusites and made it Israel's new capital. The ark had been lost in a war with the Philistines and then later returned. He wants to bring it to Jerusalem so people will worship the LORD there. This is certainly a worthy goal which the LORD approves. The king also has the support of all the people.

David decides to “get 'er done.” He has the ark lifted by its poles onto a new cart pulled by oxen, and the celebration begins. When an ox stumbles, however, a man named Uzzah reaches out to steady the ark. He is immediately slain by the LORD! Everyone fears the Almighty. They leave the cart where it is and the party is over.

What happened? They had offended the holiness of God. The LORD said if anyone touches the ark or looks in it he will die. The ark represents the holiness and presence of God. Earlier, seventy Men of Beth Shemesh looked inside the ark and were also slain for profaning the holiness of God. They were afraid of it and said, “Who can stand in the presence of the LORD, this holy God?” (1Samuel 6:19-20) Then they sought to send it elsewhere.

David, however, still wants the ark of God with him in Jerusalem, especially after he hears the household of Obed-Edom, where they left it, is being blessed abundantly. In Psalm 101:2 David asks God, “when will you come to me?” This is a possible reference to the ark of God and expresses David's desire.

The king missed something very important: God is holy and wants to be esteemed before all his people. Do we esteem the LORD as holy before others or do we disrespect him by our words, our actions, or our worship? In Psalm 15 (NIV) David writes,

LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.

Like David, we need to worship God in a holy manner. The Apostle Paul wrote,

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight (Ephesians 1:3-4, NIV)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-- this is your spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1, NIV)

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body (1Corinthians 6:19-20, NIV).

The king redeems himself. He does the right thing; he goes back to Jerusalem, seeks the LORD and reads in the Holy Scriptures the proper procedures for moving the ark (Numbers 4:5,6,15). He rights his error. We can do the same thing. David then gathers Israel together and humbly admits his error to all the people (a good thing for leaders to do). Afterwards, he leads them to carry it as God prescribed (do it right). He assigns the Kohathites to carry the ark on their shoulders by the golden poles inserted into the golden rings, and he makes sure they are all properly attired in their priestly garments for the occasion (even David removes his kingly attire and wears a linen garment to show his humility before God's holiness). He invites his military commanders to accompany him.

Then the celebration begins. In honor of God, he sacrifices burnt offerings for dedication. David involves all the people in the festivities, and he appoints singers and musicians to lead the people in worship. He composes a song for the occasion, and he dances before them. David prepares an honorary place for the ark, and then he dedicates burnt offerings to the LORD, and the people share fellowship offerings. Then he sends each man and woman home with gifts of bread, dates and raisin cakes. God is then properly honored in the eyes of the people. David did it right.

Unfortunately, his wife Michal does not understand. In her jealousy she despises David for dancing before the Lord, but David defends himself. Michal dies childless. Some people will not understand your relationship with the Lord. Do not be discouraged or dissuaded from your worship of God; he is pleased.

Lessons to Live By

  • Sometimes we need to just get a task done, but sometimes we need to be very particular to do things right, especially in spiritual matters.
  • We should respect the holiness of God in the way we live and worship.
  • If we have sinned by disrespecting God, let us right our errors and do things the way God prescribes (more...)
  • Not everyone will understand our worship of God—do not be dissuaded.

Focus Verse

Psalm 101:2 (NIV) “I will be careful to lead a blameless life-- when will you come to me? I will walk in my house with blameless heart.”

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A Look Ahead: Now that David moves the ark as instructed by God, he also gives us Reasons to Celebrate. Join us for our Next Lesson.

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