I Chronicles 13:1-14 appears to offer an exemplary lesson in leadership. Sensing what God wants him to do, King David consults with commanders, opens up the conversation to the whole assembly, casts vision, and gains consensus. Soon, all move forward in agreement that the Ark of the Covenant is to be returned to its rightful place in Jerusalem. Imagine, then, how stirring and inspirational it must have been to see the Ark of the Covenant paraded on a new, oxen-powered cart, fueled by the unabashed celebration of Israel.
While this gives the impression of being a wildly successful venture, we soon stumble upon (pardon the pun) one of the actual leadership lessons in this story: dramatic enthusiasm without obedience prepares you for correction. You see, though zealous, they were oblivious to “how” that “what” was supposed to be accomplished. Sadly, this resulted in devastating relational carnage: a man lost his brother, a family was thrown into grief, and the heart of a king was angered.
While we don’t know what happened in David’s heart over the next three months as the Ark sat in Obed-Edom, based on what we read in chapter 15, we can surmise that David’s anger melted into prayerful inquiry and study. In this second attempt to accomplish the “what,” David moves the Ark with unmistakable determination to adhere to God's "how" by carrying it "according to the word of the Lord," as described in the book of Numbers.
In this we find the second half of this leadership lesson: embracing correction prepares you for blessing. In David’s case, it is relational blessing. Chapter 16:1-3 tells us that after the Ark was set in place and the offerings were made, David blessed the people and "distributed to every person in Israel – man and woman alike – to each a loaf of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins." What a difference!
In our faith journey it easy to be content just knowing "what" we are to do. In our self-confidence, we can easily finish God’s sentences with a subtle, “I’ll take it from here, thank You.” But the reality is, just knowing the “what” of God’s will is not enough. I believe God invites us to linger in conversation with Him to learn the “great and unsearchable things we do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).
Perhaps the "what" in your life is a tough decision that the Lord has clearly led you (or your church) to make. Wouldn’t you want to press in to discern "how" God wants you to walk out that very decision? I am confident that if you do, God will not only provide instruction, but I believe He will also expose folly, reveal snares, and give wisdom to defuse land mines as you walk out that decision. The Spirit of Truth will lead and guide you (John 16:13).
Do you know “what” God wants you to do? Press in for the “how,” knowing that God will direct your steps (Psalm 37:23 NLT). Rest in the assurance of His promise, “I will instruct you and teach you about the direction you should go. I’ll advise you and keep my eye on you” (Psalm 32:8 CEB). Watch and see what God will do!