December 9, 2021
Scripture: And David was angry because the LORD had broken out against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-Uzzah to this day. And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and he said, “How can the ark of the LORD come to me?” And it was told King David, “The LORD has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing. 2 Samuel 6:8-9, 12 ESV
Observation: This is an intriguing story. Uzzah faced immediate and unmitigated punishment resulting in death when he merely sought to keep the ark from following off the wagon. Albeit a seemingly severe consequence, the Lord struck down Uzzah because he disregarded the Mosaic law that permitted only the Levites to service the ark. Nevertheless, Uzzah’s untimely death served to warn David and Israel that they were not to act in a cavalier manner toward that which is holy before God. Still, David felt intense anger over the unfortunate loss of life and his mistaken assumption that God had disapproved of bringing the arc to rest in the royal city. But his anger quickly turned to fear when he pondered Yahweh’s exacting justice. So David wisely sent the ark of God to the house of Obed-edom, a Levite, to care for it. Three months later, when David learned that the Lord had blessed Obed-edom’s household, he sent for the arc and received it into Jerusalem with much rejoicing.
Takeaway: There are a couple of takeaways from this story. First, we are not to presume on the holy nature of our God. Like Uzzah, it is easy to take matters into our own hands without regard to God’s holiness code. Indeed, we must not let our sympathies toward others cause us to compromise God’s laws. We do ourselves and those we love a disservice when we sit in the judgment seat and decide for ourselves what is acceptable in God’s eyes.
Secondly, David illustrates for us how to press through emotions that coincide with grieving. David initially felt intense anger that God had taken Uzzah’s life and had thwarted his plans. But his anger quickly turned to fear from realizing he was in the presence of the Holy One of Israel, who could justifiably execute judgment on all of his people. After three months, when David’s anger and fear had subsided, his disappointment turned to joy when he realized that the Lord had not withdrawn his blessings. Similarly, when we struggle with anger toward God for what we perceive is unfair, we would do well to move quickly toward a healthy fear of the One who created and sustains us. And as we wait on the Lord, we would also fare better to remember that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). From anger to holy fear to trust in God’s goodness, this is our path to restoration.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you that you are a righteous God who will not tolerate sinful disobedience to your holy laws. When your seemingly unfair actions grieve us, would you please help us press through our anger and fear and renew our minds in the certainty of your love and good intentions for us? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling