What's the Big Deal?
2 Samuel 6:3-11 (NRSV)-
3 They carried the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart 4 with the ark of God; and Ahio went in front of the ark. 5 David and all the house of Israel were dancing before the Lord with all their might, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals.
6 When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen shook it. 7 The anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God struck him there because he reached out his hand to the ark; and he died there beside the ark of God. 8 David was angry because the Lord had burst forth with an outburst upon Uzzah; so that place is called Perez-uzzah, to this day. 9 David was afraid of the Lord that day; he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come into my care?” 10 So David was unwilling to take the ark of the Lord into his care in the city of David; instead David took it to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. 11 The ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months; and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household.
For the Israelites, the Ark of the Covenant was significant to their covenant with God and was a symbol of God’s presence and glory.
Given the Ark’s symbolism and significance, David wanted to bring it into Jerusalem. So, he made a plan, gathered 30,000 chosen men of Israel, and set out to retrieve the Ark. They put it on a new cart and began to “carry” it to Jerusalem.
As the chosen men of Israel carried the Ark, all the house of Israel were dancing before the Lord with all their might. Unfortunately, as David responded to Israel by leading the celebratory parade, he and Uzzah forgot God’s specific rules and regulations for the treatment of the Ark. So, what is the big deal?
In Exodus 25 and 37, God provided Moses very specific regulations on how the Ark was to be carried. And, throughout the Torah, there was a very specific rule that no unclean human hand could touch the Ark. So, as the Ark was carried on a cart and touched by unclean hands, the rules and regulations were broken. As such, Uzzah and the other men were completely dishonoring this symbol of God’s glory.
Both Uzzah and David made a mistake in their attitude towards the glory and presence of God. Uzzah has no fear of God, and David, in the aftermath of Uzza being struck dead by the anger of the Lord, was angry with and afraid of God.
Despite David’s fear and Uzzah’s irreverence, God has freely invited mankind to come into his Presence. And, through Christ, he has opened up the door for us to experience his glory. However, we must come to God in accordance with his will and on his terms and on his conditions.
Given God’s will, when we consider him, we should do so with a proper fear of him. In doing so, we must respect him, without making him impersonal. And, we must care about his rules and focus on his holiness, without becoming legalistic.
Today, let’s respect God’s presence and glory, understanding the seriousness of his holiness, and not forgetting about his love.
Father God, please teach me to respect your glory and presence. Please guide me to understand the seriousness of your holiness. And, rather than being irreverent or afraid of you, please help me to remember the magnitude of your love. All of this I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!