Then David summoned the priests, Zadok and Abiathar, and these Levite leaders: Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab. He said to them, “You are the leaders of the Levite families. You must purify yourselves and all your fellow Levites, so you can bring the Ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. Because you Levites did not carry the Ark the first time, the anger of the Lord our God burst out against us. We failed to ask God how to move it properly.” So the priests and the Levites purified themselves in order to bring the Ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to Jerusalem. Then the Levites carried the Ark of God on their shoulders with its carrying poles, just as the Lord had instructed Moses.
(1 Chronicles 15:11-15)
David refers to the incident recorded in 1 Chronicles 13:8-11 and 2 Samuel 6:1-11. As the Ark was being brought back to Israel on an oxcart, the oxen stumbled. Uzzah, trying to steady the Ark with his hand, was killed instantly for touching it. The mistake was not in David’s desire to move the Ark, but in his method for its return. David either ignored or was unaware of the specific instructions in God’s law about how the Ark was to be moved. Obviously he had discovered his mistake and was now preparing to correct it. This incident was a divine object lesson to all Israel that God governed the king and not the other way around. If David had been allowed to handle the Ark of God carelessly, what would that have said to the people about their faith?
David learned an important lesson: When God gives specific instructions, it is wise to follow them precisely. This time David saw to it that the Levites carried the Ark, based on the instructions recorded in Numbers 4:5-15.
We may not fully understand the reasons behind God’s instructions, but we do know that his wisdom is complete and his judgment infallible. The way to know God’s instructions is to know his Word. But just as children do not understand the reasons for all their parents’ instructions until they are older, we may not understand all of God’s reasons in this life. It is far better to obey God first, and then discover the reasons. We are never free to disobey God just because we don’t understand.