David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand. 2 He and all his men went to Baalahin 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. 3 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 4 with the ark of God on it,and Ahio was walking in front of it. 5 David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with castanets, harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums and cymbals.
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…
9 David was afraid of the Lord that day and said, “How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?”
Uzzah was struck down for a knee-jerk reaction, instinct. He reached to ‘help out’ and Boom! in an instant, found himself having a heart to heart with God in Paradise.
But I’m with David, I would have been angry — and then so afraid.
… “How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?”
But that’s exactly the point isn’t it? David asks the disheartened question, but never directed it to God.
In all ways – for every jot and tittle of each battle along the way, David had always inquired of the Lord. Always. And David, in all his trials, had gotten that inquiring thing down. pat.
But this was a different life now. Kingship. Victories. David was excited, caught up in the exuberance of the moment, catapulted in the momentum of new status…David hadn’t had much experience in inquiring the Lord aside from a battle. “By golly, I promised this to God and now I’m gonna do it!” So now, he decides to do this momentous undertaking of relocating the ark. The Ark that represented all power and honor. The Ark that the Lord God Almighty was choosing to abide with his almighty presence … And this was done ‘behind’ God’s back, without His permission or guidance… Really?
Seems innocent enough, right?… A gift for God. Something I can do for Him.
But Pride can be sneaky. Subtle. It can come in the back door and look pretty darn good from our viewpoint.
Yet God seeks obedience, not sacrifice, and He had already told David how and by whom the Ark should be moved … (it definitely wasn’t Uzzah.)
Then David summoned the Levites. He said to them, “You are the heads of the Levitical families; you and your fellow Levites are to consecrate yourselves and bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way. (1 Chronicles 15:11-15)
“The prescribed way.”
God – the master designer – has a plan.
Okay, so I get this. God didn’t (and doesn’t) need to be rescued. This Ark wasn’t an ornate jewelry box; it represented the very presence and power of God. To be handled God’s way… with every jot and tittle followed. No. Doubt. About. It. Case closed.
And I get this: God has always – and will continue always – to want us to inquire of him in bad AND good times… Nothing too big. Nothing too small.
But, can I say this? This story makes me SO stinkin’ thankful to the Father for sending Jesus.
Jesus, the One who stumbled on the way to a brutal death, and was touched and helped up, (with no Uzzah body left along Poor Choice Lane.)
Jesus, the One who fulfilled every jot and tittle with every cross of the ‘t’ and dot of the ‘i.’
Jesus, the One who made a way back to the Garden where we are no longer called servants, but friends.
And not only that… God wants to be helped. He wants to be touched.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
When we reach beyond ourselves, we reach out and take hold of Jesus – – the living, walking, breathing, very presence of God himself.
Reachable. Touchable. Holy God.
Father, I want to touch your heart … Thank you, that you made a way that I can.