An interesting evolution in King David’s faith in God takes place in in Chapters 13-15 of 1 Chronicles. At each stage in the development of David’s faith over the course of these three chapters the same Hebrew word is used to show the mighty or forceful activity of God–God’s outburst–in shaping David’s faith.
As the new king over Israel, David consulted with all his advisers and they decided to move the Ark of God to Jerusalem, the new capital city. With the Ark being more accessible, King David could regularly inquire of God, which had not been the case during the reign of Saul. “The whole assembly agreed to this, for the people could see it was the right thing to do” (vs. 13:4).
But, God burst out against Uzzah on the Ark’s journey to Jerusalem because he reached to stabilize the Ark when it started to topple: “Then the Lord’s anger was aroused against Uzzah, and he struck him dead because he had laid his hand on the Ark…David was angry because the Lord’s anger had burst out against Uzzah” (vs. 13:10-11).
In Chapter 14 the Philistines mobilized against David and he inquired of God (rather than his advisers) if he should fight. God said to fight and David and his troops defeated the Philistines. David said that God used him to burst out against the Philistines and defeat them in battle: “He used me to burst through my enemies like a raging flood. So they named that place Baal-perazim which means ‘the Lord who bursts through'” (vs 14:11).
By Chapter 15 David seems to have learned a hard lesson in obedience to God’s will.and again attempts to move the Ark to Jerusalem. This time he is successful and God doesn’t burst out against him because he followed God’s plans: “Then the Levites carried the Ark of God on their shoulders with its carrying poles, just as the Lord had instructed Moses.” (vs. 15:15).
Notice David’s faith moved from trying to do the right thing in Chapter 13 to doing God’s will in Chapter 15. David’s faith developed from presuming his good intentions are God’s will to determining what is God’s will and then acting accordingly.
And it’s a lesson all who endeavor to serve the Lord should learn: Good intentions are not the same as God’s will.
Even though our good intentions may be “good,” they mainly serve our own “good” and not necessarily God’s “good.”
So, we should not presume that our own supposed good intentions are God’s will, but rather through prayer, Bible study and the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we should determine what is God’s will for us to do.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2, NLT)