“And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep” –2 Samuel 6:13
I realize that you might be asking yourself “what does the title of this piece (Efficiency) have to do with the verse above and sacrificing oxen and sheep after 6 paces?” It’s all explained in 2 Samuel 6 but to summarize; David wanted to move the Ark of God from where it was in Judah to Jerusalem about 13 miles away. The problem was, David set about this task all wrong. David wanted to move the Ark man’s way and not God’s way. He set the Ark on a brand new cart, and set up a parade with a whole bunch of stringed instruments. He had a strong man driving the cart and the man’s brother out in front waving and greeting the people. Things were going along fine until the cart hit a bump and the oxen pulling it stumbled, the strong man reached back with his hands to steady the Ark so it would not fall. At this the anger of the Lord was kindled against the strong man the God smote him for his error, and the strong man died right there. (2 Samuel 6:7). At this point David realized that what he was doing wasn’t acceptable to God and this scared him. So being the man that he was David took the Ark to a man’s home that was along the parade route and said “keep this here” (loose translation.) The Ark stayed in this man’s home for about 3 months and during that time God greatly blessed this man and his entire household. After hearing of God’s blessing to this man David searched the scriptures for the proper way to carry the Ark of God. He found it in Exodus 25:14 where it says that the Ark should be carried by two poles made of acacia wood and covered in gold. So David returned with the proper poles and even had 4 priests carry the Ark on their shoulders. Then after 6 paces an Alter was built and the proper sacrifices were given (some people even say that the sacrifices were every 6 steps) with David dancing his heart out.
Talk about a lot of extra work. Transporting the Ark the way David tried to do before would have been a lot quicker and a lot more efficient. It was fancier, flashier, and a lot quicker. I mean David would have had the Ark in Jerusalem the very same day that he started. The problem is; God’s ways are not man’s ways. The world is into efficiency but God is into effectiveness. Using a cart (or the latest technology) is very efficient and quick while carrying something on your back is very humbling and effective. Stopping every six steps to build an Alter signifies that we as men need to have our mindset altered, we need to be humbled. Even the instruments that were played were all played with the hand which showed that we as mankind try to do things on our own without the help of God. When they moved the Ark for the second time they did it in a very simple and humble way. And they praised God with their breath and spirit by singing and blowing rams horns. And for us Christians the Holy Spirit resides within us in our spirits.
Efficiency is doing things right but Effectiveness is doing the right thing. What’s doing the right thing? Doing the right thing means I have to lay down my life, my dreams, and my agenda and say “Lord it’s not about me and what I want to do or what I think is cool, it’s about You.” That means I am going to lay aside my fleshly tendencies, study His Word and offer my life to Him. How often? For me, that means about every 6 steps or all the time throughout the day. –E.C.
(Inspired by Jon Courson’s commentary on 2 Samuel 6)