Daily Archives: May 26, 2011
It was quite an occasion. One of the greatest of occasions. The Ark was coming home! David had recently captured the city of Jerusalem and made it his headquarters and capital city after becoming king of all Israel.
The Ark of the Covenant was located at the city of Kiriath-jearim, a town also known as Baale-judah. This location was none other than the center of Baal worship in the tribal land of Judah. During all the battle and confusion of the Saul-David transition period the Ark had resided on a hill here in the home of Abinadab for twenty years. David had decided he must unify Israel and bring the Ark to Jerusalem. He had never used the Ark in his battles with Saul, but now it was time to bring everything and everyone together. Though David was king, he knew the real King was the Lord God and that He must reign from Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the LORD with all kinds of instruments made of fir wood, and with lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets and cymbals. [2 Samuel 6:5]
It was quite a scene! A great celebration of national unity, a new beginning, and worship of the Lord who made it all happen. But there was a later mishap along the way. Aminadab’s second and third sons, Uzzah and Ahio, were chosen to assist in the passage, and were driving the new cart holding the Ark on the journey. When the procession arrived at the uneven rock surface of a threshing floor, the oxen had nearly tipped the cart over, and Uzzah reflexively reached out to the Ark to steady it, apparently thinking it was part of his responsibility to protect the Ark. As soon as he made contact he died. The record states:
But when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out toward the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen nearly upset it. And the anger of the LORD burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down there for his irreverence; and he died there by the ark of God. [2 Samuel 6:6-7]
Uzzah miscued big time. He was killed for his lack of proper reverence, though most Bible versions called it his error. Well, YEAH. He obviously wasn’t properly prepped, or was and messed up anyway. No one had taken up the Ark in many years, and it is understandable that mistakes were made regarding proper procedures and protocol. Had Uzzah grown too familiar with the Ark since it had resided at his father’s house all those years? Uzzah’s name means “strength,” and he obviously was leaning on his own understanding and human ability during the incident. One can hear the words of the apostle Peter echoing in from the distant future, when the Lord had just told him the Son of Man must go to Jerusalem and die:
Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” [Matthew 16:22]
Tipping oxen or not, it was not the place of Uzzah to take hold of the Ark to protect it, or whatever he thought he was doing. Only the Kohathite branch of the Levites could carry the Ark, upon their shoulders by way of poles through rings on either side, and not on an ox cart. They were the only ones vested by God with the sacredness and reverence for the privilege, and were never to touch it.
But David didn’t see it that way. He immediately grew very angry for what had happened then grew disillusioned, and as he realized he was the actual party at fault he got scared. He had just been worshipping God with the entire Israel woodwind, stringed instrument, and percussion section, happy as a clam and on a spiritual high, and looking forward to the great entry into Jerusalem. The “Breach of Uzzah,” as the place became known, was such that the procession had to stop. The celebration was cut short. The Lord would not be going to the City of the King any time soon.
So David was afraid of the LORD that day; and he said, “How can the ark of the LORD come to me?” [2 Samuel 6:9] 
When the presence of the Lord is on the way to our country, our city, our house, or our very heart, we must pay attention. It would be good to get on our face, show the proper reverence and respect, be thankful and appreciative for the great privilege, and follow the Lord’s protocol. Whatever we do, we must make sure we do nothing to stop or impede the process. He may never pass our way again. [Part 1 of 4]
© 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.