Spend some time thanking God that despite your sin, you can “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence” (Heb. 4:16).
Read 1 Chronicles 13:1–14
Bringing Back the Ark
13 David conferred with each of his officers, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. 2 He then said to the whole assembly of Israel, “If it seems good to you and if it is the will of the Lord our God, let us send word far and wide to the rest of our people throughout the territories of Israel, and also to the priests and Levites who are with them in their towns and pasturelands, to come and join us. 3 Let us bring the ark of our God back to us, for we did not inquire of[a] it[b] during the reign of Saul.” 4 The whole assembly agreed to do this, because it seemed right to all the people.
5 So David assembled all Israel, from the Shihor River in Egypt to Lebo Hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath Jearim. 6 David and all Israel went to Baalah of Judah (Kiriath Jearim) to bring up from there the ark of God the Lord, who is enthroned between the cherubim—the ark that is called by the Name.
7 They moved the ark of God from Abinadab’s house on a new cart, with Uzzah and Ahio guiding it. 8 David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, timbrels, cymbals and trumpets.
9 When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. 10 The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God.
11 Then David was angry because the Lord’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah.[c]
12 David was afraid of God that day and asked, “How can I ever bring the ark of God to me?” 13 He did not take the ark to be with him in the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. 14 The ark of God remained with the family of Obed-Edom in his house for three months, and the Lord blessed his household and everything he had.
a 1 Chronicles 13:3 Or we neglected
b 1 Chronicles 13:3 Or him
c 1 Chronicles 13:11 Perez Uzzah means outbreak against Uzzah.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHave you ever been afraid or ashamed to be in God’s presence?
Touch high-voltage electric wires and you will be killed instantly. This would be the case for any human: laws of science would simply come into force. If a friend of ours died in the way Uzzah did—carelessly but while trying to be helpful—I expect we would feel similar to David in verses 11 and 12. His mood switches suddenly from celebration to a not very clearly directed anger, and then to a sort of despairing fear.
This illustration does not fully explain God’s dealings with Uzzah. We might wonder if his death is fair. However, perhaps we can begin to grasp that, just as God established laws of physics which we disregard at our peril, so also he decided upon rules of conduct for his people.
This shocking event shows anyone in doubt how firm and uncompromising God’s standard must be. The hard fact is that Uzzah, in touching the Ark, was breaking a rule God had made. He paid for it. Praise God, then, that the lid of the Ark was known as “the mercy seat” (RSV; Heb. 9:1–5). We may hope that, if his heart was right, Uzzah found mercy when he met his maker.
Envisage yourself at the very center of God’s presence. How would it change your actions today if you remembered that you truly are walking in the presence of the holy God?
Thank You, God, that through Jesus we have found mercy.
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