Justin Tucker, LHBC Worship Pastor
2 Samuel 6:1-7
David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. 2 And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale-judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim. 3 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, 4 with the ark of God, and Ahio went before the ark. 5 And David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. 6 And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God.
All through the Old Testament scriptures we can find countless times that people didn’t follow God’s instructions and how that had very negative effects on them. In this passage we see what can happen when we choose to be disobedient, disregard, and defiance to the Lord.
First, God had given specific instructions about the movement of the Ark of the Covenant. David took men with him to and get the ark, rather than allowing the Levites to bring it to him. That was a mistake. God’s instructions for the movement of the ark was to be carried on the shoulders by Levite priests, specifically from the Kohath family, on poles made for that purpose alone (Exodus 25:12-14). Instead, the Ark was placed on an ox cart to be transported. This is the same way that the Philistines had carried the Ark from town to town after they had seized it in battle. David was disobedient and he failed to follow the instructions that God had laid out for the transportation of His presence, David also chose to implement the same mode of transportation that the enemies of God, the Philistines, had used to carry the presence of God. As followers of Jesus, we can’t rely on the ways of the world to carry God’s presence.
Second, the Ark had stayed for a period of time at Abinadab’s house and his sons, Uzzah and Ahio, may have gotten a little too comfortable with the Ark always being around. There’s an old saying, “familiarity breeds contempt,” that might apply here. Seeing the Ark in his home every day probably became old hat for Uzzah. It would be easy to take for granted and forget what the Ark actually represented if you saw it every day. Do those of us that are married look down at our wedding bands every day and remember the gravity of the covenant that we have with God and our spouse? Or has it just become a common fixture to our everyday life like our keys and phones? I think there are times that we all fail by getting a little too comfortable or too irreverent with the Lord and we disregard His holiness and His authority.
Third, this passage tells us that the oxen stumbled. The cart didn’t flip over and the Ark didn’t go crashing to the ground. The oxen simply stumbled. Uzzah reaches out to steady the Ark and God strikes him dead for touching the Ark. Uzzah’s intentions were probably noble, he most likely just wanted to protect the Ark but his defiance of the instruction that no one was to touch the Ark, cost him his life. God gives us instructions to protect us, not to harm us. When we defy Him instead of following His instructions there are always consequences. In this case, Uzzah died. David was unhappy with the death of Uzzah but it gave him 3 months to do a little Torah study and eventually, he got the Ark to Jerusalem.
The Lord lays out instructions for us to protect us, not to harm us. His plans are perfect. We have to learn to submit our wills and follow His instructions. And because He is a good God and He is the giver of good gifts, we have to remember that He is holy. He is perfect and we can’t ever forget that or take it for granted. He deserves, and has earned, our highest honor.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Heavenly Father, you are so gracious and merciful. Thank You for the promise that our mercies are new each morning. Forgive us for our defiance and disobedience. Forgive us for those times that we think we might know better than You do. Teach us to love Your instruction and to meditate on it daily. Forgive us when we disregard your commandments and when we get too comfortable with and irreverent towards You. You are holy! Let us not forget that.Thank you for loving us when we don’t deserve it. Thank you for saving us through Jesus. It is in Jesus’ name that I pray, amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”