Occasionally, envy can be a healthy motivator. In King David’s case, it rekindled his passion for God. The ark of the covenant had been stored at the home of Obed-edom for three months. When David saw how God blessed Obed-edom, it fueled his desire for God’s presence in his capital. It was no longer enough to visit once in a while; David longed for God to be central. However, there was a price to pay.
David “prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. Then David said, “No one is to carry the ark of God but the Levites; for the Lord chose them to carry the ark of God and to minister to Him forever.” (1 Chron. 15:1-2)
- David had to make an effort and set up a tent. We must prepare a place for God too. In our case, space in our schedule is the most valuable, but an undisturbed location helps.
- David learned that only the Levites were to transport the ark, not ox carts (1 Chron. 15:12-13). To discover this, David must have turned to Scripture, which spells out God’s will and ways.
- Admitting his earlier mistake of using an ox cart might have been the steepest price. However, humility is a basic requirement for spiritual growth. God promises to dwell with the humble and contrite.1
- The Levites carrying the ark took six strides, then stopped to sacrifice an ox and a fatling (2 Sam. 6:13). Another account says seven bulls and seven rams (1 Chron. 15:26). In less developed economies, animals are wealth—this was a tangible price.
What is a growing sense of God’s presence worth to us? In a society that celebrates productivity and relational networking, it is hard to find time for One who speaks in a still small voice, who knocks on our door but never barges in. No doubt we believe that in His presence is fullness of joy, but is that enough? Secretly I am drawn to a more measurable result.
Perhaps the highest price we have to pay for God’s presence is to reject the world’s value system where it conflicts with God’s. The benefits of intimacy with God are not always tangible or immediate; they are nonetheless real. He promises fruit to those who give prime time to simply abiding in Him (John 15:4-5). The people who know God will be strong and take action—but knowing God comes first (Dan. 11:32).
- Isa. 57:15; 66:1-2 [↩]