A GOD OF SECOND CHANCES
Lord, teach me the right way to do things in Your sight.
Read 1 CHRONICLES 15:1–16
The Ark Brought to Jerusalem
15 After David had constructed buildings for himself in the City of David, he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. 2 Then David said, “No one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, because the Lord chose them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister before him forever.”
3 David assembled all Israel in Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the Lord to the place he had prepared for it. 4 He called together the descendants of Aaron and the Levites:
5 From the descendants of Kohath,
Uriel the leader and 120 relatives;
6 from the descendants of Merari,
Asaiah the leader and 220 relatives;
7 from the descendants of Gershon,
Joel the leader and 130 relatives;
8 from the descendants of Elizaphan,
Shemaiah the leader and 200 relatives;
9 from the descendants of Hebron,
Eliel the leader and 80 relatives;
10 from the descendants of Uzziel,
Amminadab the leader and 112 relatives.
11 Then David summoned Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel and Amminadab the Levites. 12 He said to them, “You are the heads of the Levitical families; you and your fellow Levites are to consecrate yourselves and bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. 13 It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.” 14 So the priests and Levites consecrated themselves in order to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. 15 And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord.
16 David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their fellow Levites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals.
New International Version (NIV)
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Unlike Saul, David learned from his mistakes and humbly accepted God’s correction. As a follower of Christ, do you humbly submit to your Master’s discipline?
“God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supplies.” This was declared by a man who knew what he was talking about—Hudson Taylor, the 19th-century pioneering missionary to inland China. Through his tireless ministry hundreds of missionaries were inspired to serve God in China. Schools were founded, preaching stations were opened and national workers were raised up. The term “successful” certainly fits this passionate Yorkshireman, whose consecration and obedience to God are inspirational.
Does our consecration and obedience to God necessarily make us “successful”? Hudson Taylor’s life seems to say “Yes!”—as do the events of today’s passage, in which King David learns from his disastrous mistakes in chapter 13 and goes on successfully to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. David himself admits why his first attempt has been such a dismal failure: “We did not enquire of [God] about how to do it in the prescribed way” (13).
David’s second attempt, in compliance with God’s instructions, leads to a much happier result. This is something Hudson Taylor knew all about from his own experience nearly three thousand years later. Yet Taylor did not succeed apart from personal sacrifice, for during his exemplary missionary career he was beaten, robbed and ridiculed, and he buried two wives and six children. Let us be certain of this: God is no man’s debtor. We do not receive his favor in return for our good works. Everything owes to God’s grace. Yet, he delights in rewarding our faithful and obedient service. Indeed, what greater reward can there be than hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matt. 25:21)?
Do you know someone discouraged by some recent moral failure? Look for ways to encourage that person to trust God for forgiveness and strength to repent and start afresh.
Lord, we understand that we can earn nothing from You and that Your grace underlies everything we do and have.