Scripture reading – 1 Chronicles 13; Psalm 107

Click on this link for translations of today’s Bible study into German, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic, and French.

Background for Today’s Study (1 Samuel 4-7)

The Ark with the Mercy Seat of God served as a symbol of the LORD’s heavenly throne and a reminder of His promise to dwell amid His people (Leviticus 16:2; 1 Samuel 4:4; Psalm 80:1). Sadly, the Ark was forsaken for many years (13:3) after it fell into the possession of the Philistines during Eli’s rule as Israel’s judge (1 Samuel 4:4-17; 1 Samuel 5:1-12). When the Ark was returned to Israel, the people of Bethshemesh had foolishly violated its sanctity and were slain by the LORD (1 Samuel 6:19-21). Fearing the LORD’s judgment, the men of Kirjath-jearim retrieved the Ark and placed it in the home of Abinadab, where it remained for twenty years (1 Samuel 7:1-2).

David’s Proposal and Purpose in Bringing the Ark of God to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 13:1-6)

Our first Scripture reading is 1 Chronicles 13, which recorded the tragic events accompanying David’s failed attempt to move the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. As Israel’s newly crowned king (1 Chronicles 12), it was in David’s heart to honor the LORD and bring the Ark to the city so that all might worship the LORD. With the support of his leaders (1 Chronicles 13:1), David proclaimed to “all the congregation of Israel” his desire to “bring again the ark of our God to us” (1 Chronicles 13:2-3; note 2 Samuel 6:1-11).

David Violated Spiritual Principles and Precepts (1 Chronicles 13:7-10)

David authorized the method of transporting the Ark from the home of Abinadab. However, the king did not follow God’s law concerning the means of bringing the Ark. Instead, he followed the method and manner of the Philistines: “And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drave the cart (1 Chronicles 13:7). Tragically, as the cart bearing the Ark neared the “threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled” (1 Chronicles 13:9).

By reaching forth to steady the Ark with his hand, Uzza violated God’s command and treated what God declared holy as common (Numbers 4:15). Though he lived in the home of Abinadab, where the Ark was kept for two decades, Uzza failed to follow God’s protocol for transporting the Ark (1 Chronicles 13:3). The Law of God was clear—the Ark of God was only to be carried by priests using staves overlaid with gold (Exodus 25:13-14; Numbers 17:9; 1 Chronicles 15:15).


The King’s Response to Uzza’s Death (1 Chronicles 13:11-14)


Uzzah’s death “displeased” and angered David. Was he angry with God or with himself for failing to seek the way of the LORD? Soon the king’s anger was displaced with fear, for “David was afraid of God…[and asked] how shall I bring the ark of God home to me?” (1 Chronicles 13:12).


David did not continue to convey the Ark to Jerusalem. Instead, he entrusted it to “the house of Obededom the Gittite” (1 Chronicles 13:13). The LORD smiled upon Obededom’s household, “And the ark of God remained…in his house three months” (1 Chronicles 13:14).

Closing thoughts – Regardless of your motive, right is right, and wrong is wrong.


David employed a pagan method (the cart) to accomplish a righteous end, which was unacceptable to God. The king’s desire to bring the Ark to Jerusalem was “right in the eyes of all the people” (1 Chronicles 13:3-4), but it was the means, not the motive, God judged. This reminds me of a quote I often heard during my Bible college years: “It is never right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right!” (Dr. Bob Jones, Sr.)

Tragedy befell Uzza when he steadied the Ark with his hand. His motive was honorable; nevertheless, transporting the Ark via cart was wrong and set in motion an event that cost him his life.

Application – The 21st-century church and believers would be well-served if we examined the means we employ to do God’s work and ministry. I believe the average church today is guilty of using the world’s carts: Its methods, message, and music. The result, I fear, will be as it was for Uzza and David…sorrow and loss.

Questions to ponder –

1) What did the leaders and the congregation of the people agree was a good thing? (1 Chronicles 13:1-2)

2) What had been neglected during Saul’s reign as king of Israel? (1 Chronicles 13:3)

3) What circumstances caused Uzza to be struck dead? (1 Chronicles 13:9-10)

Psalm 107 – A Psalm of Celebration and Thanksgiving

I close today’s Bible study with a brief introduction to Psalm 107. The psalm does not bear a title, nor do we know the author or the date it was composed.

Given the celebratory nature of the psalm, a good case can be made that Psalm 107 was composed after Israel’s return from the Babylonian captivity. The psalmist wrote, “Whom [the LORD] hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; 3And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south” (107:2-3).

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals by entering your name and email address at the bottom of today’s devotion.

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization. Your donation is welcome and supports the worldwide ministry outreach of