When All Else Fails, Read the Instructions

            A friend shared his recent experience with UPS, who he called with a simple question. “I ordered something online to be delivered to my home. What will the driver do if I’m not there?”

            The squeak of the agent’s chair as he leaned back traveled across the phone line. Without hesitating to solicit more details, he drawled out the standard answer, “Driver leaves it on the porch, or keeps it on the truck and leaves you a note.”

            “Hmmm,” my friend mused. “So let me get this straight. Your driver is going to leave a 14-foot kayak on my porch entry or drive around all day with it strapped to the top of his truck?”

            Thumpf.  The agent jerked to attention, planting all four chair legs back onto the floor. “Whoa, buddy. Hold on while I check with someone about that.”

            King David made the same mistake. He desired to return the ark to Jerusalem. His men placed the ark on an ox cart, like the Philistines did when they captured it. The oxen stumbled. Uzzah grabbed the ark to steady it from overturning. Angered by Uzzah touching the ark, God struck him dead.

            At that moment, I imagine King David jerked to attention with a resounding “Whoa,” just like the UPS agent. What went wrong? He forgot to check the instructions.

            King David’s mistake was not his idea of returning the ark to Jerusalem, but rather his method of going about it. Had he prayed or searched the scrolls left by Moses, King David would have discovered God’s instructions for transporting the ark…insert poles through golden side rings and rest it on shoulders of priests…not on an ox cart and not touched by the average person. Both symbolized irreverent disregard for the Lord’s specific directions.

            I shudder to think of times I, too, experienced God’s peace to act on an idea, then lunged forward to “get ‘er done.” I’m ashamed to admit when I failed to consider that, since it was God’s plan, He might have a preference for the best way to proceed.

            Sometimes my plan failed. Other times it worked. Either way, I could have achieved more and done so faster if I first inquired and yielded to God’s directions. It’s like my husband says after I bungle attempts to plow right in and use a new gadget, “Gloria, when all else fails, read the instructions.”

            If I first to go to God for instructions about any plan He inspires, then how can I fail?

“It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it [the ark] up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him how to do it in the prescribed way” (1 Chronicles 15:13, NIV.

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About Gloria Ashby

I'm a writer, speaker and teacher. I live with my husband in the DFW area, and close to our daughter and her family.
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