1 Chronicles 13:1-14 (Part 3) – Hasty Plans Are Often Failed Plans

Posted: March 24, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 13:1-14 (Part 3 of 6)

David Attempts to Move the Ark

Yesterday, we talked about David’s fatal flaw in this passage was the fact that He did not seek God’s will through prayer before going through his decision-making process. It flawed the whole process from the beginning, regardless of what he did right following that. We must seek God’s desire for our actions first no matter what. We must go to God in prayer before making any decision – even before consulting trusted friends or your direct reports if you are a leader. That’s the starting point – always. However, given that egregious error, the process that followed was an example of David’s leadership qualities. He consulted with his direct reports and allowed them to weigh in on the decision and in doing so, got buy in for the decision. It also reflects David’s savvy in choosing his leaders.

One of the things that I did in December as we were heading into the new year as a church was to have individual meetings with each ministry area leader or ministry area leadership team. These meetings were held to develop the ministry goals for each area of ministry of the church for 2020. In each of those meetings I asked them what their dreams were for their ministry area. Then, we looked at those dreams and determine what, if any, parts of those dreams could be, practically, implemented within the coming 12 months of 2020. The thing that I learned from the process was that they had not been asked to dream before. So, the whole process was new to them. Maybe, they really had not been asked to think such things before. Maybe, they had never been asked to think beyond “oh one day I hope we can…” and actually take that hope and make it a reality. The results have been mixed so far but that was to be expected. Changing the culture of leadership to one of goal-making and moving the entire army forward is one that will take a while.

I learned some things in the process. First, I need to start the process sooner when we begin planning for 2021. I need to start it in October instead of December. I need to have my “dream the dream” meetings in October so that my leaders have time to personally process their dreams and so that they do not default to whatever my dreams might be. My dreams are already in 2022 or 2023 so I can’t let that affect their dream processing for the immediate next year. They need time to develop dreams that they are willing to own and not just say yes to what maybe my oversized dreams. They need to have time to process that. Second, I need to make sure that they have time to come back a second time with me in December to finalize the dreams that they are willing to buy into. Third, I must ensure that they have formal dream meetings with their own team members in November so that they can have time to flesh out the dreams that their entire team is willing to buy off on and these November meeting need to occur without me present so that they can talk freely among themselves about what needs to happen in the coming year in their ministry area. Fourth, size down the dreams for each individual year instead of trying to accomplish a whole bunch of things in one year. We need to have like one main goal for each ministry area each year. Each ministry committee then within itself may have multiple sub-goals to meet that one overall ministry goal but that’s on them. I just need to have agreement with each ministry area leader on that one goal they are willing to be accountable to.

Without time for the process as laid out above, the dreams were not fleshed out well enough and there was not time for complete buy-in. Thus, a hard leadership lesson has been learned. Buy-in takes time. Dreaming takes time. Leadership development takes time. So, I need to give it time if I want real buy-in.

With that idea of seeking buy-in for ministry decisions, let’s explore that aspect of this scene in 1 Chronicles 13:1-14 after we read it now:

3 David consulted with all his officials, including the generals and captains of his army.[a] 2 Then he addressed the entire assembly of Israel as follows: “If you approve and if it is the will of the Lord our God, let us send messages to all the Israelites throughout the land, including the priests and Levites in their towns and pasturelands. Let us invite them to come and join us. 3 It is time to bring back the Ark of our God, for we neglected it during the reign of Saul.”

4 The whole assembly agreed to this, for the people could see it was the right thing to do. 5 So David summoned all Israel, from the Shihor Brook of Egypt in the south all the way to the town of Lebo-hamath in the north, to join in bringing the Ark of God from Kiriath-jearim. 6 Then David and all Israel went to Baalah of Judah (also called Kiriath-jearim) to bring back the Ark of God, which bears the name[b] of the Lord who is enthroned between the cherubim. 7 They placed the Ark of God on a new cart and brought it from Abinadab’s house. Uzzah and Ahio were guiding the cart. 8 David and all Israel were celebrating before God with all their might, singing songs and playing all kinds of musical instruments—lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals, and trumpets.

9 But when they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon,[c] the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the Ark. 10 Then the Lord’s anger was aroused against Uzzah, and he struck him dead because he had laid his hand on the Ark. So Uzzah died there in the presence of God.

11 David was angry because the Lord’s anger had burst out against Uzzah. He named that place Perez-uzzah (which means “to burst out against Uzzah”), as it is still called today.

12 David was now afraid of God, and he asked, “How can I ever bring the Ark of God back into my care?” 13 So David did not move the Ark into the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-edom of Gath. 14 The Ark of God remained there in Obed-edom’s house for three months, and the Lord blessed the household of Obed-edom and everything he owned.

In this passage, we see that David took time to confer with all his direct reports, the various leaders within his army. As king, he had ultimate authority and could have given orders on his own, but he chose to involve others in leadership. Perhaps, that is why there was unanimous support for his decision. When we are in charge, it is tempting to make unilateral decisions. However, effective leaders listen carefully to other’s opinions and they encourage others to participate in making decisions.

In this particular case, the decision process was far too short and his leaders really didn’t have time to process what they were committing to. As well, they did not have time to instruct their own men beneath them as to what was to be done. Uzzah paid for the rash decision making process with his life. In my own ministry, I was too hasty and too late getting the goal setting process started. It has already resulted in some goals not gaining the buy-in necessary to make them happen in 2020. The hastiness of the dream process was a mistake that will be corrected when it comes time for dreaming the dreams for 2021. David recalibrated his dream for bringing the Ark to Jerusalem. He actually took time the second time around to allow for deeper thought by everyone about how to achieve the dreams. I will learn from David when it comes to 2021. Allow the time for sensible, achievable dreams to be found and agreed upon.

Amen and Amen.

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