Then let us bring again the ark of our God to us, for we did not seek it in the days of Saul.
1 Chronicles 13:3
And so began David's personal passion to lead Israel with the kind of deep worship that he had for God in his own heart. He wanted to bring the ark of God (really the entire tabernacle) to Jerusalem and there to build a permanent temple dedicated to the worship of the Lord. He wanted to set the example of commitment to the covenant that the nation needed to follow to see success and experience God's blessing.
Saul's reign had not been characterized by this. It wasn't that Saul was an active idolater. It was just that he was not earnest in his worship of the Lord. He was not really a spiritual leader. And that was shown in his unwillingness to wait on the Lord. It was shown in his readiness to consult a spiritist rather than a prophet when seeking divine guidance. It was shown in his quick decision to disobey God's direct command to destroy everything Amalekite. He did not love the Lord enough to surrender his opinions and desires to Him. It was always "Saul's god, Saul's way". And David meant to change that for the kingdom. His example would be submissive and worshipful.
Seeking to have the ark near the throne would convey to the nation how serious David was about seeking and trusting God. This move was deliberate repentance and really was a good thing. The tabernacle and its furnishings were meant to be portable. There was no command to keep it in any one place. Having God's center of worship in the same city as Israel's center of government would be exactly the right thing to do. It let the Israelites know that God was their king's king.
David's desire to keep the worship of God the central focus speaks a challenge to us today. So many things will shove the real worship of the Lord to the periphery of our experience. May we take David's desire to our own hearts and never see worship as anything other than the center of our lives! And if necessary, let's take it back and place our focus squarely there.