Does It Really Matter?
By Dan Qurollo
We live in a pragmatic society in which individuals believe that the end justifies the means. Those holding to this philosophy regard the means as irrelevant as long as it produces something that is perceived to be good. Therefore, stealing may be justified in certain settings as may lying and many other sins the Bible condemns. This faulty philosophy stems from the idea that truth is relative instead of absolute. By regarding the truth as relative, individuals are free to create their own standard by which to live. The standard for one may be different from the standard of another, but both may be right, even if both are contradictory. Logica says that two contradictory ideas cannot both be right, though they might both be wrong. Does the end justify the means? The Bible clearly teaches and illustrates that such a philosophy is wrong and must be avoided.
During the reign of Saul, the ark of the covenant was foolishly taken into battle as though it were a good luck charm. Israel was defeated, and the ark was captured by the Philistines. After God judged them, they determined to send it back to the nation of Israel. But it was David who determined that it needed to be returned to its rightful place in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 13). That which he desired to do was a good thing. In fact, we would most likely commend him for taking this initiative.
David consulted with 30,000 chosen men, and they determined to bring the ark back to Jerusalem. To facilitate it, they got a brand new cart – after all, it was the ark of the covenant. They took great care as they began making their way back to Jerusalem in what must have an impressive processional. There was great celebration as the ark was being returned to Jerusalem.
The festive tone suddenly changed when they entered the threshing floor owned by Nachon. There, the oxen stumbled slightly, causing the cart to shake. To steady the ark, Uzza touched the ark of the covenant, and God immediately struck him dead. The Bible teaches that David was displeased with what God had done (2 Samuel 6:8). To David, God acted unjustly. Rather than continuing the journey, they took it to a man’s house named Obededom where it remained for three months.
The problem was not in the fact that David desired to return the ark to its rightful place in Jerusalem. The problem was in the method he chose to transport the ark. God said it was to be carried by the Levites. Although David placed it on a new cart, that mode of transportation was not what God had instructed. When they went to get the ark from Obededom three months later, David had a much different perspective. David gathered the Levites and acknowledged that they “sought him [God] not after the due order” (1 Chronicles 15:13).
Does the end justify the means? David ignored the means of transporting the ark, and it cost the life of Uzzah. Whenever you are tempted to consider a particular method, learn from the example of David and consult God through the Word of God and prayer. Be assured, God will never lead you in a manner that contradicts His Word.