A Particular God

1 Chronicles 13:12 “David was afraid of God that day and asked, ‘How can I ever bring the ark of God to me?’” (NIV).

Observation: Through twenty years of Saul’s reign, the ark had resided in Kiriath Jearim while Saul turned his back on the God of Israel. In one of his first major acts as king, David joined with the nation’s military leaders and the whole nation of Israel to bring the ark back to Jerusalem. In a spirit of tremendous celebration they began moving the ark on a new cart, but when Uzzah righted the tilting cart, the Lord struck Uzzah dead. As a result, David was angry because of God’s wrath against Uzzah (v. 11) and afraid of God, not knowing how he could hope to successfully bring the ark to Jerusalem.

Application: The real problem here was that although David had a correct understanding of God’s will in the matter, he failed to consult God as to method. His intentions were good, but his actions were not according to God’s precepts. The ark’s place was indeed in Jerusalem, but the proscribed method of transport was on the shoulders of Levites on poles through rings fastened to the ark itself.

God certainly could have prevented the cart’s tipping, but that would have brought it to Jerusalem by means of men’s devising, rather than in the fashion God had clearly commanded through Moses. David’s second try, done God’s way, was wildly successful (1Chron. 15:15).

Do God’s strictures seem overly particular? If so, we would do well to know Him better. Psalm 7:11 describes Him as a righteous judge, “a God who expresses His wrath every day.” Taken alone that would be disheartening indeed, but it immediately follows this: “My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart” (v. 10).

He is indeed particular, but His heart is fiercely protective of those who will once and for all yield to Him. Once David chose to fulfill God’s purposes in God’s way, His blessings covered the whole undertaking. My choice is exactly as David’s was, to follow God with no instance of compromise. In full obedience, David ultimately succeeded in admitting the presence of God into his life. The Lord is equally delighted to dwell within me, but also just as jealous that His access be only on His terms.

Prayer: Lord, I am reminded what a huge part of Your passion for me is that I would learn to come to You on Your terms alone. Teach me to serve you in gladness and in trembling.


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