2 Samuel 6:1-11; 1 Chronicles 13
Remember from last week, we are early in the reign of David. He has established his throne in Jerusalem, and it is apparent that God has His hand of blessing on David. We have just witnessed two victories over the Philistines, and that was always a cause for joy in Israel. David decided to call for the ark.
Let’s parallel this account to the days of King Saul. Israel was in a major battle with the Philistines and they were just getting drilled by the enemy. The elders of Israel get together and come up with this great idea, to get the ark, and bring it with them into battle. Not only did Israel lose the battle, but they lost the ark. The priest Eli hears the news of the losses and falls off his seat and dies Bad day in the history of Israel. The thing about Israel was that they had considered the Ark a sort of good luck charm, there was no genuine passion for the ark among the people. In the losing of the ark, God teaches that it was not the ark that Israel needed, but the God of the covenant that the Ark symbolized.
Our account in chapter 6 is a completely different situation. Israel was not looking for a victory; they were looking to celebrate one. After all they had a new king that loved God, the nation and the people. They have a new center of authority in Israel, and they had just beaten the Philistines twice. Its times like these that make us say, “Life is good.” So David executes his kingly privilege and says, “bring up the ark.” David showed great passion for the things of God.
Psalms 27:4One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.
Psalms 122:1 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.
Psalms 84:10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
They get the ark from Abinidab’s house and they place it on a new cart. They hitch up a team of oxen to move the cart from Gibeah to Jerusalem. On the way, the oxen shake the cart, and the ark begins to fall. Out of pure reflex, Uzzah reaches out to steady the ark and God smites him and he dies.
The unbeliever or the weak believer may look at this story in the Bible and say something like this: What is God doing here? Where is God’s love in all of this? What kind of God would take a man’s life for trying to keep the ark from falling? And when people cannot have the kind of God they want, they would just as rather do without God. The main problem with their premise is that they have chosen the wrong starting place. Instead of looking at the relative goodness of Uzzah’s heart, they need to start with this: God is holy and righteous. Then you can understand the account. Pastor, do you say that to make the story fit? No, we do that because it is true. God has all the right and reason to carry out any judgment as He sees fit. Our role is to simply accept it and move on. I want to consider Uzzah’s story tonight. Did he have to die? Or was his death in vain?
1. David’s Departure. We need to look at the parallel account of this in order to better understand how all of this came about. David was concerned with what the people wanted. Now before we move on, let me ask a question: Had God recently been ignoring David’s inquiries? David said where should I establish the throne. Hebron. David said should I go u against the enemy? Go up. Will I win? You will. The second time God told him to wait by the mulberry trees. God had been faithfully answering David’s prayers, but now David was seeking the approval of the people. This was a great religious event to move the ark of God, and David surely didn’t want to get cross ways with his subjects. How often do we go in the wrong direction because we want to please the crowd?
They placed the ark of God on a new cart. Can’t you just imagine the conversation? No old cart for the ark, it is the ark of God, and it has to be done first class. Where in the world would David get an idea like this? From the world, or at least from its history. 1 Sam 6:7-10. You cannot trust in the ways of the world without being affected by those ways. The world’s music, dress, idea of what a sermon should be, etc. David trusted in what the Philistines had done in the past, and Uzzah died, and his parade was rained out.
Neither Israel or God’s people get in trouble with God Because they run after other gods. All they need to do to find trouble is to fail to seek the true God. And that was David’s biggest mistake.
2. David’s Displeasure. Verse 7, the anger of the Lord was kindled, and we can look back to verse 3 to see where Uzzah’s failure began. Verse 8. David is more upset at God for touching Uzzah, than he was at Uzzah for touching the ark. That is backwards thinking, but that is often the case when we get mad at God. I know none of you have ever been mad at God, but if you ever had—you just might act like David Did. There was resentment in David’s heart for the breach the sudden punishment that came upon Uzzah. David even went so far as to name the place of the death—Perez-Uzzah. Do you know that every time he came across that place he always be reminded of that?
Certainly there were more wicked men that Uzzah on the face of the earth. Verse 9. David was afraid of God. This wasn’t a good fear because it was a result of his anger. Look at his attitude…how shall the ark come to ME? It was all bout David now, his party ,and his parade, and everything was ruined.
3. David’s Directive. Well preacher, what was David supposed to do in all of this? I am so glad you asked. 1 Chronicles 15.
V1- prepared a place.
V2- but for the Levites
V3-4- children of Aaron
V12- Sanctify yourselves, get your hearts right, we are going to move the ark of God.
V13- Do it right the first time. Do it God’s way the first time.
V14-15- One staves- no deed for a new cart.
V16- the joy returned when the Word was followed.