2 Samuel 6 Really Getting it Right: "The Missing Element to Success!”

Several years ago, Reader’s Digest told of a young couple who had just bought a water bed. While assembling the bed, the couple realized they would need a hose to fill it with – and they didn’t own one. So, the husband went to the hardware store and bought one. They attached the hose to the bed, ran it through the apartment to the kitchen tap and – knowing it would take over an hour for the bed to fill – they left their apartment to run an errand. About an hour later they returned to check on its progress. And that’s when they discovered that the husband had bought a sprinkler hose.

Did you ever try to do the right thing for the right reason, but things went terribly wrong! It is possible to do the right thing, have the right heart, have the right parts, and still get it completely wrong!

There are four ways to do worship, and only one of them is the right way!

1)       The wrong God, the wrong way. I read not long ago about a spiritist in a Florida city that was bleeding himself and his followers as part of religious rituals, and was arrested for bloodletting in children.

2)       The wrong God, the right way. How many people do you know are giving and sacrificing to please an angry and vengeful god. I have lived and worked among Muslims that walked in fear of allah’s vengeance, yet they were loving and moral people.

3)       The right God, the wrong way. I just heard about a ministry in Tampa this week that had their two Pastors – Mr. Pastor and Mrs. Pastor – stand before their more than 20,000 member congregation and announce they were getting a divorce and each would be going on in Pastoral ministry, his with the Tampa congregation, and her with her own new ministry.

4)       The right God, the right way. This is the desire of God. He wants us to know His Word, follow His Word and walk in truth. He wants us to guard our hearts and do right to honor His name.

Today, David is our example of how to the right thing the WRONG way, then learn and try again. The initial mistakes cost a man his life, and David is set back on his heels. Today we will learn the missing element of success – doing it the WAY God says to do it!

Key Principle: Having the right intent and trying the right thing for the right God only truly pleases Him if it is done the right way  –  as God told us to do it! We cannot make up the rules and ask God to fit into them!

Look at the Promising beginning of the story:

  • Excellent Unity: On the back of several great solidifying victories in warfare and the establishment of a new capital, David got the people “on board” with a plan that he felt strongly about (6:1).
  • Effective leadership: David didn’t “send” the people on a mission, he personally joined and led them (6:2a).
  • Exciting Purpose: The crowd was set for celebration as David brought the 400 year old Ark of God to the new capital city (6:2b).
  • Exultant Heart: David celebrated and had all the parade fanfare as he was excited and anticipating the Ark in the tent that he made on the threshing floor north of the new capital (6:5).

Sounds like a great story, right? David is doing the right things with the right heart, for the right reasons. But from this point the story goes off track:

  • Followed the wrong preparations: Number 4:5 offers the instruction that the Kohathites were to cover the Ark with the cloth from the Tabernacle BEFORE it was moved, to hide it from onlookers (6:3a).
  • Used the wrong means: Numbers 4:15 offers the further instruction that trained Kohathites were to place the poles in the ark and carry it while draped over with the cloth of the curtain by hand (6:3a)

David borrowed his idea from the Philistines. The Philistines were not familiar with God’s instructions for handling the ark. God did not punish them for transporting the ark on a cart. GOD WAS MERCIFUL TO THEM BECAUSE OF THEIR IGNORANCE! To the Philistines, the ark of the covenant was only part of the bounty they had captured. They had no cherished memories of the ark. To them the ark meant very little. They had defeated the Israelites and captured their God. The church today has borrowed from the world the vehicles of her ministry. We study techniques of this age… the gadgetry of the business, social and entertainment world,…

Churches have begun to copycat the world. We have to have entertainment, for we are not content to be in church. Ministers have begun to slant their messages to “tickle ears” for fear that the flock will go else where. We’ve begun to try methods and fads of the world within the church, just to try to add to our number. LIKE DAVID, OUR INTENTIONS ARE RIGHT…BUT OUR METHODS ARE WRONG!

  • Relied on the wrong people: After 20 years of watching the Ark, they should have known who could move the Ark and how it was to be transported, but they were not even close (6:3b).

One Pastor wrote: “When Diana and I were first married, we bought a brand new push mower. It was still in the box and we had to put it together. I figured it couldn’t be that hard to assemble and before long it was standing in our back yard all nice and shiny. I pulled the starting rope and it purred to life… just like it was supposed to. However, I did have one small problem. I couldn’t shut if off. So, I finally relented and pulled out the manual… and there on the top of the first page were these words: “Now that you’ve decided to read the instructions…”

The outcome of the celebration was:

  • God was angered and felt the men were irreverent rather than being glorified (6:6-7).
  • Uzzah lost his life (6:7)
  • David’s relationship with God was badly affected. He first became angry with God (6:8a) and was later estranged for a time from God because of fear (6:9). He realized he had done wrong (cp. 1 Chron. 15:26) and it created a negative guilt and an unwillingness in David to move forward with God (6:10)

In our society, we can understand David’s anger. We don’t like standards either, we think “trying” should get an award, even if not by the rules…

July issue of Reader’s Digest about a class in Piper, Ks. who is given an essay assignment by their teacher and warned not to cheat by plagiarizing off the internet. But 28 out of the 118 students in her classes did just that, and did it poorly, some copying entire sections from the same internet website. They got zero’s on their papers, but only temporarily. Soon, the parents of the 28 complained to the school board refusing to believe their child cheated and calling the teacher’s “zero’s” too harsh. Incredibly the school board gave in. They told the teacher to go back and give partial credit to the students. Teacher Christine Pelton said, “The next day I went to my class and tried to teach my kids, but they were whooping and hollering, ‘We don’t have to listen to you anymore, we don’t have to obey you!’” Her authority gone, she did the only thing she could. She quit. What did those kids learn? How to write properly? How to think for themselves? No, they learned how to disobey and get away with it. But please understand this.. God’s not going to quit. He’s not going grade on the curve. He has given His rules to us for our own good and expects us to obey them. You see, while God is a God of perfect love, He is also is a God of perfect justice.

  • The place of the events became marked as a terrible place (6:8b). The place of the Ark didn’t come close to its new home, and ended up in a place not prepared for it (6:11).

What’s wrong with this picture?

Key Principle: Having the right intent and trying the right thing for the right God only truly pleases Him if it is done the right way  –  as God told us to do it! We cannot make up the rules and ask God to fit into them!

If God didn’t care HOW we raised our children, would He have given so much instruction? Our business? Our community? Our churches? If we discount the value of God’s Word to direct us, and don’t take seriously our call to know what He has told us to do in these areas, we may lose the ability to bring glory to Him with these areas. It won’t be because we didn’t care about Him, it will be because we failed to take care concerning His instructions.

Let’s try it again!

1)       Repentance: David became aware of his mistake. He understood that he did wrong (1 Chronicles 15) and repented before the Lord. He didn’t apologize for the wrong desire, he apologized for the wrong execution! He then saw that God was blessing again, and went ahead with the right plan the right way (6:12a).

2)       Renewal: David reinitiated the celebration, and led the way again! (6:12b).

3)       Obedience: David had the Ark carried by the right people, the right way (6:13).

4)       Worship: David offered a sacrifice to God after he saw that all was well. The sacrifice was presented by a humbled King in a simple garment. He danced with joy before God and brought musicians together to play (6:14-15). Eventually, he placed the Ark in its new home (6:17).

5)       Offerings: David gave to the people some public displays of affection and celebrations with gifts of food (6:18-19).

6)       Endurance: David withstood the attack of Michal who thought him to be un-regal and base. It began with her heart (6:16). The embarrassment and anger drove her out to the front step on his return as she tried to shame him (6:20-23).

In our story we must remember, when all looked right, something was critically wrong. When all was done to God’s glory, some people (even close ones) were dissatisfied and contentious.

We are to do exactly what God told us to do the way God told us to do, for the purposes God told us to do them. Anything else may look successful, and may even bring happiness to us and those around us, but ultimately will not honor and glorify God.