Most men have a healthy dose of pride. In the Avenger series of movies, Captain America and Iron Man regularly clash and disagree about what to do. Having confidence is good, but when a man is driven by his pride, he can make foolish decisions.
From the story of David, we can find six lessons or six foundation stones for biblical manhood. In my previous articles, I explained the lessons of courage, loyalty, and honor. This week we are looking at how King David plans to bring the Ark of the covenant to Jerusalem.
The Ark of the Covenant represented God’s presence in their midst. Everywhere the Ark went, the glory of God either blessed or cursed people. Wherever the Ark was, it became the holiest place on earth – the central place of worshipping God. When I mention the Ark, many men think of the movies – The Ten Commandments or Raiders of the Lost Ark. The power of the Ark is not in its Acadia wood or gold, it was from God.
Four ringlets were on the corners for two poles to be passed through and so four men could carry the Ark without anyone touching it.
Inside the Ark were the Ten Commandments tablets, a jar of manna, and Aaron’s rod. The Ark of the Covenant was the holiest symbol of God’s covenant or promise to the Israelites. For a while, they lost it in a battle to the Philistines, but when the Philistines put the Ark in their temple near their God named Dagon, they were astounded as each morning, their idol to represent Dagon was face down before the Ark of the Lord. (1 Sam. 5)
So the Philistines thought the Ark was cursed and sent it back to Israelites on a cart with oxen (not with men and poles).
King David was thrilled to have the Ark back and quickly organized a grand parade to celebrate. In his rush, David did not do his homework and kept the Ark on a cart instead of having Levite men carry it.
David was in a rush and thought he knew best. The Philistines were ignorant, but David had the information he needed, but in his pride just pushed ahead.
Patience Lesson # 1 – Men need to do things God’s way, not rush ahead in our own wisdom.
The tragedy happened as the cart came to the oxen stumbled on the uneven floor where they threshed wheat. As the Ark started to fall to the ground, Uzzah reached out and touched the Ark, and he died right there beside the Ark.
Uzzah also knew that no one was to touch the Ark, but in a forgetful moment, he grabbed hold of the Ark. His knee jerk reaction was understandable, but Uzzah would not have been in that position if David had done things by God’s instructions.
Patience Lesson # 2- When men are not patient, our pride can cause others to suffer.
At first, David is angry at God for striking down Uzzah, but in time, he realizes he is to blame. The Ark should never have been moved on an ox cart.
Pride leads to harmful and unintended consequences, and David’s initial anger at God leads to fear. So David leaves the Ark at the house of Obed for three months wondering what he should do and frozen in fear. The scripture says while David is delaying the house of Obed is blessed. The Ark is a blessing when it is treated with the respect one should show God.
Patience Lesson # 3 – Men who want God’s blessing do not give up despite painful setbacks.
David was at a low point. He could have given up. But David concluded that staying away from God after you make a mistake is not the answer. Men, don’t you allow your mistakes to seem too big to prevent you from returning to God with humility and worship.
Now David is ready to move the Ark again, but this time he does it God’s way.
David wore a white ephod like Samuel to signify he was the chosen leader of God’s people. The men once again, they were worshipping with shouts and sounds of trumpets. The set up a tent for the Ark and made the correct offerings before God. David is careful with every detail – sacrificing more burnt offerings. It is a proud moment for David.
Patience Lesson # 4 – God is concerned with our obedience even in the details of life.
I greatly admire men who do detailed woodwork. They measure twice, carefully make their cuts, and have the patience to create an impressive result. These men are craftsmen who know that pride in their work is a result of patience.
Men, serve God with patience and pride.
Paul Arnold is a husband, father, grandfather, and currently serves as a chaplain to a senior living facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He hosts several podcasts – Man to Man (career advice for men) and Pardon the Confusion (Sports) that are found on iTunes and www.redcircle.com