When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, 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. (2 Samuel 6:6-7)
God has been misunderstood by many over the years, and some have even surmised that the same God does not exist between the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Whenever God acts in a way we don’t expect, the opportunity for confusion and misunderstanding is opened. One such incidence took place when Uzzah reached out to steady the Ark of the Covenant to keep it from falling. In so doing, he lost his life. Even David, in the moment, did not fully understand God because the experience with the Ark of the Covenant and Uzzah left him with a new level of fear.
To us, it seems unreasonable that God might strike Uzzah dead for what appears to be a noble effort in keeping the Ark of the Covenant from crashing to the ground. When you properly understand what the Ark represented (God’s presence), it’s not hard to believe that God did what He did. After all, He’s holy, and we’re not. That doesn’t make the situation any easier to understand, but God was teaching an important lesson to His people that He shouldn’t be dealt with carelessly.
God isn’t a god to be manipulated or managed.
When we try to manipulate or manage Him, we are guilty of ignoring His holiness. Unfortunately, Uzzah had to learn that lesson the hard way. Notice that God didn’t spite David even though David didn’t understand the situation and was angry with God for a period of time. Instead, God patiently waited for David to bring the Ark to Jerusalem, and He continued blessing those who respected His holiness (i.e. the house of Obed-edom).
When God acts in a way that you don’t understand, it’s best to step back and look at the situation differently. Our responsibility isn’t to fit God into our box of understanding as much as it is to expand our box of understanding to fit our God.
Lord, there are moments in life when I just don’t understand the circumstances going on around me. I don’t understand why certain things happen and why You allow them. In those moments, please keep me from arrogantly believing that I know what’s right, and give me humility to submit to You.