1 Chronicles 13:1-10- David consulted with the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with every leader. And David said to all the assembly of Israel, “If it seems good to you and from the Lord our God… … let us bring again the ark of God to us, for we did not seek it in the days of Saul. All the assembly agreed to do so, for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people… … And David and all Israel went up… to bring up from there the ark of God… And they carried the ark of God on a new cart, from the house of Abinadab, and Uzzah and Ahio were driving the cart. And David and all Israel were celebrating before God with all their might… And when they came to the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzzah put out his hand to take hold of the ark, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah…
I’ve been a believer in Jesus Christ for 21 years now. I was only 7 years old when I felt a tug on my heart while my pastor was preaching. I remember walking down the aisle, kneeling my little self down at the altar, and crying when my pastor began talking to me.
“Kristi, do you want Jesus to live in your heart?”
“What would you like to tell Him?”
“Umm… that I’m sorry for being bad… and I want Him to help me be good… … … and I love Him!”
My pastor smiled, said a sweet prayer with me, and hugged me before I walked back to my seat… my life changed forever.
As much as I wholeheartedly love my Savior, I hate to admit there have been times I’ve simply grown accustomed to Him. Walking with Him just became “part of my life.” Saying I was a Christian- a follower of Christ- became a mere label I stuck on myself. While I definitely want His presence to be a natural part of my life, I never want to lose the wonder and awe that comes when encountering Him for the first time. When I don’t consistently commune with and worship Him… When I fail to recognize Who He is… I can take advantage of His grace and fail to give Him the reverence (and obedience) that He undoubtedly deserves.
That’s what happened here with Uzzah, I believe. See, God had given Moses strict instructions on how to handle the building and transportation of the ark. (The ark symbolized the presence of God.) Exodus 25 lays out exactly how God wanted it constructed. Numbers 4:15 plainly states that “no one should touch the holy things…” Numbers 7 shows us who God intended carry the ark and how they should do so.
We learn in 2 Samuel 6:3 that Uzzah had been around the ark daily for a while. “And they carried the ark of God on a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. And Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart, with the ark of God…”
The ark of God was kept in Uzzah’s home for some length of time. Could it be that he had become accustomed to it? Could the ark have become so familiar to him that he had forgotten the Holiness and Authority it represented?
What he did seemed so innocent… good, actually. The oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out to make sure the ark didn’t fall off the cart. He was just trying to help God, right? But, who was he? How was he going to assist the Almighty God? God didn’t need his help; He wanted his obedience. (“no one should touch the holy things…”) The ark of God was never supposed to be put on a cart in the first place. Remember Numbers 7? (…the sons of Koath… were charged with the service of the holy things which were to be carried on the shoulder…) We must be careful not to overstep. God is indeed gracious and full of mercy, but He is just, righteous, and sovereign, and He demands respect. He doesn’t make suggestions for us… He gives us instruction. When we choose to go our own way, do our own thing… we make a mess.
When we grow too comfortable with the things of God, we tend to lose trust in His promises and faith in His abilities, before we even realize it. This, too, could have been where Uzzah was. He acted too quickly in his flesh. When the oxen stumbled, he jumped in to secure the ark before he could even gather his thoughts. It’s human instinct to react to something the instant we think it could possibly fall or break. But, if his spirit had been tuned into the wisdom of God, he would’ve understood that God would have taken care of the situation and not contradict His command.
We have to humble ourselves daily. Every morning we need to remind ourselves Who God is. When we do this, we’ll understand He gives commands for a reason, and at no time are we given authority to overstep Him… even if it seems to be a good thing. (Proverbs 14:12)
Prayer: God, I humble myself today when I recall Your majesty and sovereignty. You are Almighty God and deserve reverence, respect, and my obedience. Draw me closer to You today. I love You. Amen.