With great power comes great responsibility.
2 Samuel 6:6-16
6 When they came to the threshing-floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. 7 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.
8 Then David was angry because the Lord’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah.
9 David was afraid of the Lord that day and said, ‘How can the ark of the Lordever come to me?’ 10 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. 11 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.
12 Now King David was told, ‘The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.’ So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. 13 When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. 14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.
16 As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.
The beginning of this passage is fairly dramatic and initially can seem quite shocking. Uzzah seems to be doing what any rational person would do if they saw that something important was about to fall and break. Why is it then that he is struck dead simply for reaching out to touch and stabilise the ark? The ark that was supposed to bring David and his people great blessings, joy and rest. Did God not want David and his people to experience this? Of course, he did, the problem was that David and his people wanted God to bring them the blessings, joy and rest on their terms instead of the way God had planned for them.
There was great power that came with the ark. It brought those around them blessing and represented God’s presence with them. It also represented the place to find mercy from God. That is, it is a clear symbol of the coming saviour Jesus Christ. So understandably, the ark needed to be treated with great care and reverence. When the ark was first built, God provided very specific instructions as to how to treat the ark. All these instructions were put in place to help others see and understand the greatness of God’s glory and grace. But David’s people did not follow this when they moved the ark, they wanted to do it in a way that pleased them and was convenient for them, so they placed it on a cart pulled by oxen. It was roughly equivalent to telling Jesus how to do his saving work and then trying to help him out in doing it.
In his commentary on this section MacLaren writes “He saw no difference between the ark and any other valuable article. His intention to help was right enough; but there was a profound insensibility to the awful sacredness of the ark, on which even its Levitical bearers were forbidden to lay hands.” After seeing what happens to Uzzah, David gets scared and leaves the ark at the household of Obed-Edom and we see God blessing the household. The ark was an important symbol that they needed and God was showing this. Just as those who believe in the reality of Jesus show the blessing of Jesus in their life to draw others to him. Upon realising the need of the ark David decides to bring it back to his city but this time he followed God’s instructions. God blessed him, just as he blesses all who trust him and seek all hope and joy in Jesus Christ.
Head: Why is David able to experience rest and joy after his second attempt to bring the ark back?
Heart: In what ways are you expecting God to bring you joy?
Hands: What are you doing to spend time with God? Do you set time to dwell in his presence experience rest through him?
Thank you that you provide true joy and rest for me. That amongst such a busy world I can find rest in you. Sorry that I often seek rest in the distractions and false gods of this world. Please help me to be intentional in the time I spend with you. Help me to seek you out over everything else and to rest in you and your presence.
A song to listen to: Only You Can Satisfy
Living Church Creek Road