Reading: “They set the ark of God upon a new cart.” 2 Samuel 6:3
David was anxious that the long-neglected and dishonored ark should be suitably housed in Zion. His desire was good and his motive pure, but his execution of this plan met with the open displeasure of the Lord and therein we learn that God’s work must be done God’s way.
In the fervency of his zeal, David ignored the precepts of God. The Lord had given very definite instructions as to the order which must be followed when the ark was to be moved (Numbers 4:5–6, 15; 7:9). Nothing was said in Scripture about placing it on a “new cart.” That, although having the air of piety about it, was a human invention and contrary to the instructions of the Lord. Again, David’s desire was holy, his motives were pure, but he went about things in a wrong way, and the consequences were disastrous, indeed fatal.
Are you going about right things in the wrong way? There are many today within Christendom who want to do good, but they are lax and careless in the mode and manner in which their desires are carried out. They act as though the means used and the methods employed matter little or nothing so long as their aim and end is right. The end, however, does not justify the means.
David’s well-meant effort turned out a failure. In returning the ark, David acted without divine orders. Perhaps he reasoned, “It seemed to work for the Philistines. I’m sure it will work for us.” What seems to work for others ought not be the criterion for our way of life. The Scriptures are to be our only infallible rule of faith and practice, and yet often what we ascribe to in theory we depart from in practice. Lord, help me to do the right thing and to do it right way.
After thou hast prayed, observe what God doth towards thee; especially how He doth guide thy feet and heart after prayer. That which was the spirit of supplication in a man when he prayed, rests on him as the spirit of obedience in his course. —Thomas Goodwin