READ: 1 Chronicles 13-15, Psalm 120, Mark 3, Hebrews 5
It does not matter how much effort you put into good things. It does not matter how many people are involved. It does not matter how much professional advice you solicit. It does not matter how much consensus you build. If you do not repeatedly consult the Lord about the proper order, He will break out against you (1 Chron. 15:13).
David consulted his junior and senior leaders, he consulted the priests and Levites, and he takes a plebiscite and is assured of the popular support of the people–but David did not consult the Lord. As a result Uzzah dies and incredible national mobilization, planning, celebration, and extravagance comes to nothing–in fact, it abruptly ends. God does not give a flip about disappointing the celebrations of man–even when it is a party man throws for God. God’s parties must be celebrated in God’s ways–otherwise He doesn’t come.
Sandwiched between the two attempts to bring the ark home (the one ending in failure and the one ending in joy) is a breakthrough victory over the Philistines. The remarkable thing about David is his alacrity in learning. Immediately after not consulting the Lord on a domestic decision he is faced with a national emergency. He consults the Lord on what to do and a great victory is won (1 Chron. 14:11). More remarkable yet is David’s insistence to consult the Lord again and not to assume that God’s methods are formulaic and can be prayerlessly repeated. God councils an indirect attack connected to the sound of marching in mulberry trees.
Man is incapable of thinking like God. Our natural reasoning minds are so limited when contrasted to God’s wisdom. Prayer (the constant consulting of God) is the only means to protect us from our own faulty assumptions. Turning to God for counsel (His orders, His way) is just as important on the heels of victory as it is in times of duress. Phillip Henry (father of renowned Bible commentary author Matthew Henry) states it well. Two of his children were deathly sick and he was wrestling in prayer for their healing. He wrote:
If the Lord will be pleased to grant me my request this time concerning my children I will not say as the beggars at our door used to do, “I’ll never ask anything of him again.” But on the contrary, He shall hear oftener from me than ever; and I will love God the better, and love prayer the better, as long as I live.
God loves to be consulted (prayed to) over and over again. As soon as we stop consulting God, we start making deadly mistakes. God’s insistence on prayer is for our own good. He knows the harm we inflict on ourselves when we stop consulting Him. To gather all the wisdom of godly friends and neglect the opinion of God is a catastrophic consensus of doom. Only one opinion really matters and we must solicit the divine will over and over again–lest we die.