David again brought together all the able young men of Israel — thirty thousand. He and all his men went to Baalah in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark. They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with castanets, harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums, and cymbals. When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God. Then David was angry because the LORD’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah. Davis was afraid of the LORD that day and said, “How can the ark of the LORD ever come to me?” He was not willing to take the ark of the LORD to be with him in the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. The ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the LORD blessed him and his entire household.~2 Samuel 6:1-11
The ark of God was of great importance to Israel. It signified the very presence of God. The ark was in the forefront when the Israelites journeyed from the wilderness into the Promised Land. The ark led them when they were about to cross the Jordan: “See, the ark of the covenant of the LORD of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. . . . And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD — the LORD of all the earth — set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.” Joshua 3:11, 13
The significance of the ark was that it served as the footstool of God’s earthly throne. Knowing that God was the true King of Israel, David was determined to give the ark a place of prominence so he decided to bring the ark to the City of David. The ark was no longer to be neglected as had been the case in the days of King Saul. But David tried to do the right thing in the wrong way and the result was the painful death of a priest. Good intentions alone are sometimes inadequate. Doing the right thing in the right way is important. The word of God should not be violated on the pretext of the “good” intentions behind our actions.
There was a prescribed way to handle the ark: The ark was only to be transported by consecrated Levites who would carry it with poles on their shoulders. David, in his exuberance, failed to follow divine instructions and God killed Uzzah on the spot when he touched the falling ark. God was sending a message that those who follow him must be reverent and serious in acknowledging His prescribed rules and regulations. We must always be cognizant of God’s holiness and never for a moment take His presence for granted. God is real, powerful, righteous, holy and fearful. Uzzah’s death was painful but avoidable.
Prayer: Father, please help me not to take your holiness for granted, even innocently. Help me to do things in your prescribed way so that I can always reverence you. Amen.