By Frank Driver
David, the new king of Israel, had gathered thirty thousand chosen men to bring up the ark of the covenant, where God dwelt, to the new political and spiritual center of Israel, Jerusalem. The sacredness of the ark and the solemnity of the occasion justified the large number and the ceremony described in the record. But though zealous and pious, David did wrong by transporting the ark on a new cart rather than on the shoulders of the priests as God required. As one sin usually leads to another, this resulted in Uzzah’s conscientious and reasonable effort to “steady” the ark as it was carried. But he, too, violated the word of God (Num. 4:15-20) and was slain of God. Here was a “good work” performed in good faith, yet in violation of God’s word, which was punishable by death.
David reasoned that if God is so exacting in the conduct of His work, “how shall the ark come?” (2 Sam 6:9). He was afraid to move the ark further, left it three months in the house of a righteous man, and finally brought it to Jerusalem. Like many today, David thought if he could not do the work of God as it seemed best to him, it could not be done effectively at all. Those who are disposed to serve God in the ways of human wisdom, identify opposition to their violations of God’s word with “doing nothing.” With David they cry, “How shall we do the work?” But David learned that the ark indeed did reach its destination in God’s divinely appointed way.
There is a difference between that which God requires and what men are often inclined to do. If David had been careful to regard the ordinance of God in his movements, he would not have fallen victim to his own wisdom and pride, Uzzah would not have died, and the ark would have reached its destination much earlier.
Yes, there is a difference. Contrary to human wisdom, it does matter whether we sprinkle or immerse for baptism, whether we make music to God by singing only or by playing an instrument also. It makes a difference whether we serve God through the local church or though a conference, synod, or other organization of churches, or organization independent of the church. It is the difference between doing what God said and going beyond what He said (2 John 9, 10).
Truth Magazine XXII: 47, p. 763
November 30, 1978