Again David gathered all the choice men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, whose name is called by the Name, the LORD of Hosts, who dwells between the cherubim. (2 Samuel 6:1-2)
This was an extremely special occasion. The Ark of the Covenant represented God’s immediate presence with His people. Twenty years prior to this event, the Ark came back from the land of the Philistines and had sat at the house of Abinadab for 20 years. David greatly desired the presence of God to be in the central place of Israel, namely Jerusalem.
So they set the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab. (2 Samuel 6:3)
But this is where David made his mistake.
Transporting the Ark on a cart was against God’s specific command. The Ark was designed to be carried, not set on a cart (Exodus 25:12-15) and was only to be carried by Levites of the family of Kohath (Numbers 4:15).
David would surely have prayed for God’s blessing in this venture, but he hadn’t prayed for guidance. How did God want this to be done? David’s intentions were right but his actions were wrong. David did it his way.
However, David learned from his mistake. He learned the right way of transporting the Ark and he fulfilled his mission through his humility and obedience. He could have chosen to abandon his efforts altogether. He could have sulked and blamed God. His initial reaction was anger born out of disappointment and confusion. But he chose the noble way, the way of humility and confession, and as a result he achieved his heart’s desire to have the Ark in Jerusalem.
So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with gladness. (2 Samuel 6:12)
Not only would he be greatly blessed by this, but so would countless others. Jerusalem would have been all the poorer if David had not learned from his mistake and sought to put it right. The Bible is honest about its heroes. It depicts their failings as well as their faith. If we are wise, we will read the accounts of their lives carefully and deeply learn the lessons they teach us.
Have you learned from your mistakes?
“God’s call to any man and the anointing of the Spirit for service are conditioned upon that man’s heart response.” Alan Redpath*
*The Making of a Man of God: Lessons from the Life of David
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