In the sad aftermath of David's sin there are a number of tragic circumstances that came up:
- His daughter, Tamar, was raped by her half-brother, Amnon
- Amnon was killed by his half-brother, Absalom
- Absalom tries to form a coup to take his father's throne
The last tragic circumstance forced David to flee from Jerusalem for protection, and as he left, the priests nabbed the Ark of the Covenant. Why would they do such a thing? Because they believed that by keeping the Ark with them they were guaranteeing David's military victory against his son. Essentially, they were trying to control God and to force him into being on their side. Thankfully David was wise enough to realize that this was a faulty plan. David understood that God places leaders in authority and that He alone has the ability to remove them (something I've mentioned on here before). That's why David sent the Ark back. Having the Ark didn't guarantee David's victory any more than carrying a lucky rabbit's foot keeps the President of the United States alive. God will do whatever He desires, and David recognized that truth. Carrying the Ark wouldn't change God's mind, but returning the Ark was an act of submission on David's part. David was relinquishing his authority to God – a wise move since all authority comes from God in the first place. I believe that God honored David's choice because it was an honest confession of humility on David's part. Ironically, God rewards the humble and makes humble the proud. Another great lesson from David.