David and Uzza, Part 2
I Chronicles 13:12 David was afraid of God that day, saying, “How can I bring the ark of God to me?”
I Chronicles 15:2 Then David said, “No one may carry the ark of God but the Levites, for the LORD has chosen them to carry the ark of God and to minister before Him forever.”
I Chronicles 15:11-13 And David called for… the priests, and for the Levites: He said to them, “… sanctify yourselves, you and your brethren, that you may bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel to the place I have prepared for it. For because you did not do it the first time, the LORD our God broke out against us, because we did not consult Him about the proper order.”
When David first says, “How can I bring the ark of God to me?”, we have no idea of his mood or temperament. Was this shouted in anger? Or was he whining? Or was he simply confused? What was he thinking of at the time? We aren’t told.
But it was an excellent question, and one that should have been asked earlier.
The beginning of that verse tells us that David was afraid of God that day. David’s fear of the Lord became the beginning of wisdom for him (Proverbs 9:10). Having a healthy fear of the Lord was the proper response to what happened with Uzza, and no matter his attitude, David asked the right question, and was led in the right direction.
We must assume that once his heart was quieted and his anger quelled, David began to ask himself and others what happened. The fear of the Lord led him to realize that he and those driving the cart had completely missed the will of God in how to transport the ark. The ark, as one of the “holy things,” needed to be carried by the right people the right way, and not directly touched under penalty of death. It was all right there in God’s word: Numbers 4:15, 7:9, 18:3 and more.
Not only was the ark supposed to be carried on poles resting on their shoulders, David had placed it in a cart—the exact treatment the unknowing, idol-worshiping Philistines had done when they returned it to Israel. Using a new cart was hardly a proper substitute for doing things God’s way.
We don’t know the process David went through to get to the wisdom of God. But we do know that once he began to bring the ark to Jerusalem again, he was clear-headed and completely obedient to God’s word.
God has His ways of doing things. His will and ways need to be sought. Sometimes, as with Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5), and here with Uzza, God’s quick judgment can be seen as harsh. But David was helping to set up the worship of God in Jerusalem, and Acts 5 describes the beginning of the church. Both were key moments, and calling attention to His ways and His holiness was a mercy in the long run. Both acts of God’s judgment resulted in the fear of God, and both called attention to the importance of obeying His word. What wisdom came of both!
Prayer: Lord, help me to remember that You have ways You want to be worshiped. There are things You love and things You hate. May a healthy fear of You be my constant companion, and may it lead me to greater and greater wisdom.