The ark, which symbolised the presence of God, was in the process of being moved to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 13). The oxen pulling the cart stumbled and Uzzah, one of David’s men, put his hand on the ark to steady it. As a result of his action he died, and the journey of the ark to Jerusalem was delayed. Why did such a terrible thing happen when Uzzah seemed to act out of instinct and unselfish motives? Why was God displeased?
Firstly, God had clearly said that not one of the holy things had to be touched (Numbers 4:15). However good Uzzah’s action seemed, and whatever his intention, he acted in disobedience. In times of crisis we too can be tempted to act on instinct and do what seems best to save the situation. However, our instinct and even our unselfish motives, may not be God’s way of saving the situation, and will not bring God’s ultimate blessing.
Secondly, did Uzzah think God needed a helping hand and that He could not protect Himself? Did Uzzah believe he had to keep his God from harm? It would have been a tragedy if the ark had fallen from the cart. To lose the ark would signify the loss of the presence of God to the Israelites. However, they forgot the greatness of their God. And so do we! How many times do we try to give God a helping hand to get things done our way? How often do we think that if we don’t feel the presence of God He’s not there? God shares His purposes with us, but He doesn’t need our help. His presence is always with His children. We don’t need to keep asking that we feel it. Rather we need to live day by day in the joy of His presence.
Thirdly, in the moving of the ark, God’s will had not been sought. Looking back on the event David knew the reason for the disaster, “We did not enquire of Him (the Lord our God) about how to do it in the prescribed way” (1 Chronicles 15:13). The ark did arrive safely in Jerusalem, but the second half of the journey was done God’s way. God’s way is always the best. We need to seek it. This pre-supposes the willingness to obey. Obeying God is freedom. It delivers us from the slavery of relying on assumptions, good instincts and good works even in crisis situations.
Prepare me, Lord, today, to seek Your will in my life. Teach me Your ways so that I may walk in Your truth. Give me the grace to obey You and do things Your way. Jesus, be Lord of my life and my will in every situation. You have promised that You will never leave me or forsake me. Your presence is with me and in that knowledge I can be safe and secure. Thank You Lord. Amen.
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