“When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold 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 6:6-7
The Ark of the Covenant is seen many times throughout the Old Testament, and is a sacred chest made by the Israelites according to the design of God. The Ark housed the Ten Commandments, and by all means was holy. The Ark was to be carried by the Levites on their shoulders by wooden poles, and the Levites were strongly advised by God not to ever touch the Ark or else they should die. With this background in mind, we can better understand the Scripture above.
If a man was to approach the Ark, he was entering the presence of God. As God cannot be in the presence of sinners, the sinner who approached the ark, or dared to touch it, would die. For this reason, God was very clear to give strict instructions regarding the Ark. However, in the Scripture above doesn’t it seem as if Uzzah was merely doing his best to protect the ark from falling? Even King David was angry when he struck Uzzah dead. Yet, the Lord was clear about his instructions with the ark. By enforcing such instructions, God ensured his holiness was maintained. When Uzzah reached out, regardless of his intentions, and touched the ark, he disobeyed God. He should have recalled the Lord’s instructions and reached for the poles carrying the ark, as that was their purpose.
There is much to be learned from Uzzah, but most importantly that we should fear the Lord and respect his commands. We should never let our attitudes or own interpretations of God keep us from following his commands.
You are sovereign. You are holy and mighty. God, while we may not physically carry the Ark of the Covenant on our shoulders like the Levites, please help us to always remember the lesson you teach us through Uzzah. Help us to keep your commands, to always honor and respect you.
In Jesus’ Name,