I’ve always been a little troubled by 2 Samuel 6.
It’s a pretty wild story, really. The Ark of the Covenant – the gold-encased box containing the greatest prophetic artifacts of Israel’s history, and in a very real sense, the presence of God – was being escorted back to Jerusalem after having been held by the enemy for some years. King David worshiped with such reckless abandon that his wife, Michal, considered it scandalous. Israel would once again host God in a government way…and in the middle of all of this, a scene that would give an OSHA inspector fits.
Uzzah, along with Ahio, were driving the oxcart that held the Ark, and along the way, the oxen stumbled. Uzzah, in a sudden reaction, no doubt, reached out to steady the Ark on the cart…and God struck him dead.
As short stories go, it leaves one a little wanting for resolution.
Admit it. It’s never seemed fair to you. He was trying to help. It was his automatic reaction. He was just steadying the cart. Was he struck dead for trying to help…except that nothing is as simple as it seems.
Uzzah didn’t die for trying to help. He died for losing sight of what he was doing. The rules against reaching out at touching the Ark were clear. He would have seen this on his pre-flight checklist. Do not beat oxen. Do not hit curb. Do not reach out and touch the presence of God casually. Uzzah died because his ministry of ushering in the presence of God had become so casual that it was more like driving an oxcart…something he could do without any thought.
I’m troubled by 2 Samuel 6 not because Uzzah was unfairly punished…but because it’s so easy to lose sight of what we’re doing in ministry and act out of our natural reflex.
Whatever we put our hands to do today, may it be what God has ordained for us to do…and if He hasn’t ordained it, may He have mercy on us for the repercussions.
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