Week of Monday June 17 – June 23
Doing Right! – Man as Instructor

David built houses for himself in the city of David. And he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. Then David said that no one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, for the Lord had chosen them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister to him forever. And David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the Lord to its place, which he had prepared for it. …  So David and the elders of Israel and the commanders of thousands went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the house of Obed-Edom with rejoicing. …  So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, to the sound of the horn, trumpets, and cymbals, and made loud music on harps and lyres. - 1 Chronicles 15:1-3, 25, 28 ESV

Have you ever tried to put together something with a bunch of pieces and parts without the instructions? Yep, I see those hands going up. I’ve done it, too. Sometimes, it doesn’t go so well. That’s what happened when David first tried to move the ark of the covenant a few chapters earlier without following the instructions. Sometimes, we read the Scriptures and are confronted with a myriad of detailed instructions, especially when it comes to the worship of God, and we wonder if it is all necessary. I mean, if our heart is in the right place, does anything else matter? 
Andrew Bonar puts it all in perspective:

It is not the importance of the thing, but the majesty of the Lawgiver, that is to be the standard of obedience...Some, indeed, might reckon such minute and arbitrary rules as these as trifling. But the principle involved in obedience or disobedience was none other than the same principle which was tried in Eden at the foot of the forbidden tree. It is really this: Is the Lord to be obeyed in all things whatsoever He commands? Is He a holy Lawgiver? Are His creatures bound to give implicit assent to His will?

The newly crowned King David had great motives in wanting to bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. His heart was in the right place, but he went about doing it the wrong way. Following the lead of the Philistines, who sent the ark back to the Israelites on a cart, David and his men did the same. The problem was that’s not the correct way to bear the holiest object on earth! In short order, the cart lunged, the ark lurched, and a man died instantly attempting to secure it.

Doing the right thing the wrong way can have dangerous, even deadly consequences. The excitement to have the ark in Jerusalem quickly faded, and the plans were shelved, leaving the ark sitting in Obed Edom’s house. While there, God brought great blessing and prosperity to this house, which brings me to another observation: Doing the right thing the wrong way can result in missed blessings!

But back to the point about instructions. David, over time, rethinks his approach by reading the original instruction manual, the Scriptures, and thereby instructs the priests to bear the ark as God originally instructed it to be carried. You see, in doing the right things the right way, there is great blessing for all involved! Each of us as men of God have been tempted to cut a corner, to make an adjustment because there must be an easier way.

David learned a lesson we must never forget. God not only cares about what we do, He cares about how and why we do it! For us men of God, there can be no shortcuts to complete obedience! Men, do the right things and do them the right way!

Have you ever given in to the temptation to take a shortcut in your obedience to God? Have you ever been half-hearted in serving Him?
- How can you work to instill the importance of complete and detailed obedience to your children and grandchildren?
- Ask God to show you areas where you may be cutting corners. Confess them to God and request that He give you a heart that is completely obedient to Him.