T.S. Eliot wrote, “Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions.”
Why do I start that way? Because of what I read in 1 Chronicles 13. This is such an interesting chapter in the Bible. I’ve read it, studied it, taught on it, preached on it, but still we make the same mistake David made, over and over again.
In the opening verses of 1 Chronicles 13 we read David conferred with each of his officers – those who were commanders of thousands and hundreds, about bringing the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. They all agreed it was something that should be done and they would be very willing to make it happen.
Then David brought it before all the people and told them the situation and the plans. He said…
“‘We will invite everyone in Israel to come here, including the priests and the Levites in the towns surrounded by pastureland. But we will do these things only if you agree, and if the LORD our God wants us to.’ The people agreed this was the right thing to do.” 1 Chronicles 13:3-4 CEV
Everything was set to go. Everyone was in agreement. However, a group of godly men and an entire group of people, all with good intentions would soon make a very significant mistake because they took the counsel of each other, but they never did consult with God. Because they never asked God, Uzzah reached out and touched the Ark of the Covenant, which was forbidden and died.
They had great intentions but still did everything wrong, like… instead of allowing the priest to carry the Ark, like they were supposed to, they just put it on a new cart. A lot of our service to the Lord is like that – a new cart, a new program, a big production – and we have the strength of those around us leading out in front – yet it’s all done without ever inquiring of God.
The Bible does tell us “The way of the fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” Proverbs 12:5 NASB. It’s good to have people around us who offer us good godly counsel but ultimately we must first inquire of the Lord and listen to His direction.
I believe David prayed for God’s blessings on this big production, but he didn’t ask God regarding the big production itself. This was a good thing done the wrong way.
Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Don’t let your good intentions, even when backed up by family and friends, ever be done without God’s direction. Your good intentions will only make things worse.
Thank You for not rolling Your eyes at me when I have a great idea, but have totally left You out. Thank You for grace and love which covers over my multitude of sins. Help me start with You and end with You in everything I do. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.
Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen
Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.