"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 tookhold 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." 2 Samuel 6:5-7
We read that all those with David celebrated with him with all their might. They were proud to be a part of this parade and not afraid to publicly show it. The idea of the parade made me think of the gay pride parades here in Winnipeg. When I've seen clips of this parade on the news, the participants are celebrating their lifestyle with all their might and wanting to make a statement. Not only are they participating in the parade, but they are also hoping to make it on TV, or to be interviewed to convince others of their choice in lifestyle. It caused me to question if I would be willing to publicly participate in a parade for Jesus, to make a loud statement on what He has done for me? Would I want to be on the news and recognized for what I believe? Would I want to be interviewed?
Well, David has the desire to move the ark to Jerusalem from Gibeon (from my googling this distance is about 6 1/2 miles). David wanted to have all the details planned out and make any necessary preparations before transporting the ark. A new cart was acquired and two professional ark movers were selected - Ahio and Uzzah.
This move would not have been like any journey through the flat land of Saskatchewan. It would have involved some changes in elevation through the hills, which would have meant some up and down hill maneuvers.
Reading this story reminded me of the time when our children (mostly me) delivered the flyers in our neighbourhood. The time was winter which meant using a toboggan. This also meant all hands on deck. I was pulling the toboggan and the stacks of flyers required their hands to support the flyers from falling off and spreading everywhere. (I know, you're all thinking that it sounds like a lot of fun in -30). The point is, we all had a job, and those jobs needed to be carried out in a certain way.
Similarly to the importance of how we transported the flyers, the ark required a specific procedure in its transportation too. This procedure was definitely not an all hands on deck move. In fact, the ark was to be done by using the poles inserted through the holes on the sides. We see proof of that, as that is when things turn around on David and his peeps.....
For some reason the oxen stumbled (maybe they had potholes there too) and Uzzah did not want the ark to fall off the cart. His automatic reflects caused him to reach out his hand to take hold of the ark to steady it, and by doing so, God struck him dead.
That's one way to put an end to a celebration! All of this was to honor God. Uzziah's motives were good, his actions were not. Why would He strike Uzzah dead right there and then? Well, God gave very clear instruction about the ark of God. Not only specific instructions about how it should be made, but He also indicated who was to carry it, and how it was to be transported from one place to another.
What I took from this passage is that we need to be careful of not just going through the motions, but to listen to God and to do the specific steps that He instructs us to do. By doing all the steps, and not just some of them, we are placing our faith in God and trusting Him on the outcome, not ourselves. We also need to make sure that our actions are in line with our motives. We may have the correct intent, just as Uzziah did, but more importantly to make sure our actions are pleasing to God too.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: 2 Samuel 6:17-19, 1 Chronicles 16:1-42, 2 Samuel 6:20-23, 1 Chronicles 16:43, 2 Samuel 7:1-17, 1 Chronicles 17:1-15, 2 Samuel 7:18-29, 1 Chronicles 17:16-27