The anger of the Lord burned against Uzza, so He struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark; and he died there before God. (I Chronicles 13:10 NASB).
David had great and noble plans. His intent was to show honor to God by showing respect for His ark, the sign of God’s presence. He purposed to bring the ark back to Israel and make Jerusalem not only a royal but also a holy city. He desired to know God’s will in this matter and conferred with his leaders. He acted not as an autocrat but as an inclusive and wise leader. Joy pervaded the celebratory journey toward Jerusalem as they worshiped the Lord with various types of instruments. Yet in the midst of this happy occasion God struck down Uzza, one of the leaders of the processional.
Israel had been clearly instructed concerning transporting the ark. “No one is to carry the ark of God but the Levites; for the Lord chose them to carry the ark of God and to minister to Him forever” (I Chronicles 15:2 NASB). Only the Levites were permitted to carry the ark, which was suspended on poles, as no human hand was to touch it. David had the ark placed on an oxen drawn cart with Ahio and Uzza driving the cart. The oxen stumbled and Uzza reached out to steady the ark. This act of irreverence cost Uzza his life. Disobedience always produces disaster. The Spirit of God never leads us contrary to the Word of God. Direction from God must always involve a balance of the two. Jesus ministered in spirit and truth. Someone once said that all Word dries you up. All Spirit blows you up. Spirit and the Word grow you up. Israel was in the spirit (small s), the emotion of the moment, but not in the will of God. Feeling good is not enough. The yardstick of God’s Word must always measure our actions.
God’s Work God’s Way
In the time of Eli the Prophet the Philistines captured the ark. They moved the ark by placing it on a cart being pulled by cows. It never works to try and do the work of God in the ways of the world. David learned that day that it is possible to be caught up in worship that seems to lead you heavenward, but at the same time pursue actions that bring hellish results. David in I Chronicles 15: 13b when speaking about his failure in this matter says; We failed to ask God how to move it properly. It’s important to God not only what we do for Him but also, how we do it.
Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” YWAM Publishing