Uzzah Uzzed – Like it or not, when you were born again, you were born again a priest. We know better, yet we do irreverent things like Uzzah did and wonder why we get uzzed like Uzzah did. David asked, How can the ark of the LORD ever come to me? God wants to come to each of us, but he comes on his terms.
DAVID THE KING
By Delbert Young
Scriptures: Acts 13:22, 1 Chronicles 10:13-14, 13:1-4, 2 Samuel 6:1-2, 5, 6-7, 8, Exodus 25:13-15, 2 Samuel 6:9, Numbers 4:15-20, Revelation 1:5-6, 1 Chronicles 15:14-15, 2 Samuel 6:13-14
Acts 13:22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
The Lord didn’t say, “I have found David to be king,” or I have found David to be a great warrior.” It is “I have found David a man after my own heart.” What does God mean when he says “a man after my own heart”? He means, “I have found David a person who cares about what I care about. When I say, ‘I care about that,’ David says, ‘I care about that, too.'”
Where do you line up along those lines? Is your heart that way for God? We usually begin that way, but then cool down. God becomes commonplace to us and loving him becomes often more of a job than a joy.
In our lesson today, we study David as the new king over both Israel and Judah, ruling in a new place – Jerusalem. However, the affects of Saul’s horrific reign continued to influence the land. His largest influence was the neglect of worship and neglect of the things of God. The people were cold toward God. People were complacent. Saul encouraged that staleness and complacent attitude toward God and that’s a dangerous thing to do.
1 Chronicles 10:13-14 SAUL DIED BECAUSE HE WAS UNFAITHFUL TO THE LORD; he did not keep the word of the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance, and did not inquire of the LORD. So THE LORD PUT HIM TO DEATH and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.
Wow! The reason Saul died was he wasn’t faithful to the Lord and did not inquire of the Lord. Where are you along those lines? Are you faithful to the Lord? Do you pray/inquire?
I was thinking about this concerning Life Gate Church. Few people come to Life Gate and fail to experience a freshness and awakening to the things of God and their worship of God. Sadly though, I watch that freshness and awakening become stale and commonplace to many. We can get so common with the presence of God that we become cold to his presence. If you honestly rated yourself right now on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being hot, how hot for God are you? Saul was cold and that is a dangerous place.
God said David was different from Saul. God said David was a man after God’s heart. David had a heart to “fix” what Saul messed up.
1 Chronicles 13:1-4 David consulted with ALL HIS OFFICIALS, including the generals and captains of his army. Then he addressed the ENTIRE ASSEMBLY of Israel as follows: “If you approve and if it is the will of the LORD our God, let us send messages to ALL THE ISRAELITES throughout the land, including the priests and Levites in their towns and pasturelands. Let us invite them to come and join us. It is time to bring back the ARK OF OUR GOD, for we neglected it during the reign of Saul.” The whole assembly agreed to this, for the people could see it was the right thing to do.
David never did anything small when it came to God. He wanted the presence of God, but he wanted everyone to want the presence of God. He wanted everyone to participate – all his officials, the entire assembly of Israel, all the Israelites, all the priests, LET US INVITE THEM TO COME AND JOIN US.
Let’s make certain we understand a little about the ark of our God? Literally, the ark was a rectangular chest measuring about 3 ½ feet in length and 2 ½ feet in height. It was plated with gold inside and outside. Topping the chest was a golden cover called the mercy seat. Two golden cherubim facing each other with outstretched wings were set in the seat. It contained three precious artifacts: a golden jar of manna from the wilderness, Aaron’s rod that budded, and tablets of stone with the law of God on them. These spoke of and represent God’s provision in the wilderness (golden jar of manna), God’s power and authority through his appointed leaders (Aaron’s rod that budded), and God’s ways/laws (tablets of stone). But, most importantly, the ark spoke of and represented God’s presence. Of all the furniture and artifacts in the Bible, none was more holy and spoke of the presence of God more than the ark of the Lord.
The people of God would take the ark, God’s presence, to battle with them. They always won. That is, except for once. It was a battle with the Philistines. The battle was lost and the ark was taken (1Sa 4:11). Plagues and bad things happened to the Philistines because of the ark, so they sent it back (1Sa 5-6). It eventually landed at the home of Abinadab (1Sa 7:1) the priest.
For years, the ark, the presence of God, gathered dust at Abinadab’s house. Those were the years of Saul’s reign. Not once did Saul ever attempt to bring the presence of God to the people. But, David was different. David wanted the people to experience the presence of God.
2 Samuel 6:1-2 David again brought together out of Israel chosen men, thirty thousand in all. He and all his men set out from Baalah of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God…
We need to envision this happening. Thirty thousand people including David setting out to bring the ark of the God to Jerusalem. The ark had never been to Jerusalem. David arrived at Abinadab’s house with his parade and put the ark of the Lord on a brand new cart. The Lord deserves a new cart. Right? Abinadab’s (the priest) two sons, Uzzah and Ahio, led the way and walked with the new cart.
2 Samuel 6:5 David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals. WHEN…
It was a tickertape parade! 30,000 people! It was a wonderful time – goose bumps, singing, shouting, maybe some Pentecostal/Charismatic stuff going on. David was excited and dancing all over the place. The people were experiencing the presence of God. They were celebrating with all their might before the Lord… WHEN… whensomething happened.
2 Samuel 6:6-7 When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD’S anger burned against Uzzah BECAUSE OF HIS IRREVERENT ACT; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.
Do what? The oxen stumbled and God “UZZED” Uzzah. I’m not making light of what happened, for I don’t know how many people we don’t know about experienced this. What are you saying, Delbert? I’m saying if God took out Saul for his being unfaithful and took out Uzzah for his irreverent act, what makes us think the same thing hasn’t happened to others and could happen to you or me? God is serious about faithfulness no matter if we are or not. God is serious about inquiring of him no matter if we are or not. God is serious about irreverence no matter if we are or not.
Interestingly, as Uzzah lay dead on the ground beside the ark, the Bible says,
2 Samuel 6:8 Then David was angry because the LORD’S wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah.
Amazing! David instigated something that caused the death of someone and David is angry with God about what David caused. Have you ever been angry with God about something you caused? I’ve seen parents angry with God concerning their children when the parents refuse to train up the child in the Lord’s ways. I’ve seen people angry with God about their finances when they refuse to do their finances the Lord’s ways. I’ve seen people angry with God concerning their marriage and we know who is truly to blame there. Name it. If you get angry at God, it’s most likely from something you did or didn’t do.
I told you a little about the physical appearance of the ark, but I didn’t tell you about moving of the ark. God never intended his presence to be stationary. God’s presence is mobile and moves through the earth and moves through your life. For example, God’s presence in your life today should not be at the same place it was years ago.
God gave specific instructions concerning moving the ark.
Exodus 25:13-15 Then make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. Insert the poles into the rings on the sides of the chest to carry it…
Four priests were to lift the ark with the poles. They were never to “man handle” the ark itself. God’s presence and the things of God cannot be man handled. Have you ever seen a preacher or person attempt to “make” the presence of God “happen?” I have. I have seen people attempt to “work up” the congregation into doing some strange things. That’s dangerous, Uzzah.
Also, the ark was to be covered with the veil (Num 4:5). The presence of God is not to be “gawked” at. Never allow yourself to gawk or mock or poke fun at the presence of God or the things of God. Have you ever seen someone make fun of Pentecostal or Charismatic worship? That’s not a good move, Uzzah. Cover the ark.
The ark was to be mobile, but personal and private. God will sit in a barn and gather dust for years before he will allow people to man handle and gawk at him.
2 Samuel 6:9 David was afraid of the LORD that day and said, “HOW CAN THE ARK OF THE LORD EVER COME TO ME?”
That’s better David. Don’t get angry at God. Be afraid of God. Things will go much better for you and then you will figure it out.
How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me? Isn’t that what we all want to know? Preachers all over the world ask, “How can the presence of God come to my church?” A mother asks, “How can the presence of God come to my children?” A man asks, “How can the presence of God come to my business or work place?” A student serious about God asks, “How can the presence of God come to my school?” Uzzah and David, death and dancing, may have some answers for us.
Numbers 4:15-20 “After Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy furnishings and all the holy articles, and when the camp is ready to move, THE KOHATHITES ARE TO COME TO DO THE CARRYING. But they must not touch the holy things OR THEY WILL DIE. THE KOHATHITES ARE TO CARRY those things that are in the Tent of Meeting… BUT THE KOHATHITES MUST NOT GO IN TO LOOK AT THE HOLY THINGS, even for a moment, or they will die.”
No man handling and no gawking! The ark was to be carried only on the shoulders of the Kohathites. The Levites came from 3 sons of Levi (Gen 46:11) one being Kohath. This was the same son of Levi from whom Moses and Aaron came. These were the priests. That’s important to know for Abinadab was a priest and therefore a Kohathite, which means that Uzzah was a Levite, a priest, and a Kohathite. UZZAH KNEW BETTER! Uzzah grew up with the ark. The ark, the holy presence, became humdrum to Uzzah. The sacred became secular. Commands of God became convenience for man. Instead of carrying the ark as instructed by God, Uzzah loaded it on a cart. Instead of not man handling and not gawking, Uzzah did both.
Ok. But did God have to kill Uzzah? Well, in light of mishandling God’s presence and the things of God, a better question might be, “Why does God allow any of us to live?” I mean, don’t we do the same? We attend church anytime WE wish. We take communion if WE want. We give, sacrifice, and serve if WE have any left over and it’s convenient. The holy becomes humdrum. The sacred becomes secular. Commands of God become convenience.
We forget we are priests.
Revelation 1:5-6 …To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be aKINGDOM AND PRIESTS to serve his God and Father – to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
Like it or not, when you were born again, you were born again a priest. WE KNOW BETTER, yet we do what Uzzah did and wonder why we get “UZZED.”
David asked, “How can the ark of the LORD ever come to me?” God wants to come to each of us, but he comes on his own terms. David searched the scriptures to find God’s terms.
1 Chronicles 15:14-15 So the priests and Levites consecrated themselves in order to bring up the ark of the LORD, the God of Israel. And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the LORD.
David went again for the presence, but this time on God’s terms. It worked. Imagine that! The Bible says that every six paces, David offered a sacrifice and did something people think weird. Who knows what David did? He gave offerings and… well, let’s read it.
2 Samuel 6:13-14 When those who were carrying the ark of the LORD had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. David, wearing a linen ephod, DANCED BEFORE THE LORD WITH ALL HIS MIGHT
In light of what happened to Uzzah, wouldn’t you think David would be afraid the Lord would strike him dead? Surely, if attempting to stop the ark from falling and busting was irreverent, dancing had to be irreverent, right? Much of what we are told is irreverent isn’t and much of what we are told is reverent isn’t. A reverent heart and dancing feet can belong to the same person.
On top of the dancing (karar – to dance, i.e. whirl), David did this dance in a linen ephod – a linen undergarment much like a long t-shirt. David! Can you see me up here preaching in only a long t-shirt? I can’t see it! David was one innovative guy who had a heart for God.
It’s amazing when you think about this. David didn’t dance when he was anointed by Samuel. David didn’t dance over and around Goliath’s dead body. He didn’t dance when he routed the Philistines. He didn’t even dance when he was inaugurated king over all of Israel. But, when God came to town, David couldn’t stop dancing. How about you? Have you ever danced before the Lord with all your might? Sadly, most have not! You can. It is not irreverent.
David didn’t care who saw him or what they said. All David cared about was God was in his city. We care way too much about what others think about us when it comes to God. You know what? I don’t care. When God shows up, I dance.
Judy and I went to Oklahoma City to see our son Lance, his wife Jen, and the two grand boys. When we pulled into the driveway, Michael Lance (age 3) and John David (age nearly 2) were in the window looking and waiting for us to pull in. When they saw us, they began screaming with excitement, twirling around, and came running out the door dancing with arms held up to lift them. I grabbed John David and began dancing myself. I was as happy, if not more so, to see them as they were to see us. Makes me wonder what God does when we are that happy when he pulls into our driveway.
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