God’s arrows of affliction are sharp and painful so He can get our attention. He won’t let His beloved children get away with sin because He knows it robs us of blessings, opportunities, and even character refinement.
When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and He struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God. Then David was angry because the Lord’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah. David was afraid of God that day and asked, “How can I ever bring the ark of God to me?”
1 Chronicles 13:9-12
The ark was the Ark of the Covenant which contained the Ten Commandments. In the days of Eli, the Ark was captured by the Philistines but the Lord struck the people with a plague of tumours so it was soon sent back to the Israelites. After a brief stop at Beth Shemesh, the Ark was placed with the people of Kirjath Jearim for safe keeping where it remained for about 100 years. The Ark represented the presence of the Lord and when David became king over all Israel, he wanted to unify the people by bringing the Ark to Jerusalem, the new political centre of Israel.
David’s idea was good and his motive was sincere; he consulted with all his leaders and captains because he knew the importance of seeking counsel before attempting to move the Ark. The people agreed with David and supported their king, assuming that God would be pleased to dwell in Jerusalem, where all of Israel would come to worship Him.
However, we see that as they were carrying the Ark on a cart towards Jerusalem, the oxen stumbled and Uzzah reached out to steady the Ark. The anger of the Lord came upon Uzzah and he died instantly. David realised that he had not treated the Ark of the Covenant with the reverence it demanded and even though his intentions were good and he had the support of his people, he had become lax and complacent in his regard to the holiness of God.
The Lord had given strict instructions in the handling of the Ark because it contained His holy presence. “So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel. And the children of the Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders, by its poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord.” 1 Chronicles 15:14-15
Although our plans may be good and even appear to be of His will, we should never allow ourselves to become complacent and act without His guidance. We need to approach Him with the respect that His holiness requires if we do not want to see the oxen stumble and men falling like Uzzah before the wrath of God.
Thank You for today. Help me not to be complacent with my plans but to seek Your guidance for Your will in my life. Give me an understanding of Your holiness so that I may approach You with the respect and awe that You deserve. Amen.
God bless you,
Theo & Manju