Yesterday we heard a sermon about God striking Uzzah dead when he reached out and touched the Ark of the Covenant.
David was bringing it back to Jerusalem and had a new cart built and two oxen to pull it. One of the oxen stumbled and Uzzah reached out and steadied the Ark as it wobbled on the cart.
The thing is, that Ark was never intended to be carried by a cart pulled by oxen. That was how the Philistines returned it to Israel, but that was not the way God told Israel to carry it.
The Ark was built with gold rings on the side for some wooden poles to fit into and then be carried. The poles weren’t even supposed to be removed!
So here are these guys, somehow they got it onto this cart without dying, but then once it starts rolling Uzzah touches it and dies. Maybe there were some accidental Levites that loaded it up?
There are so many different things here it’s hard to talk about them all!
For one, their intentions were good. They were sincere about what they were doing. They respected God, they loved God, they wanted to do His will. Somebody just missed the directions God gave back in Exodus.
There is a warning there for us! It doesn’t matter how nice your cart (brand new, commissioned by the king, baby!) or how big your party (David had 30,000 men there to celebrate!), it doesn’t matter how valuable the thing you’re dealing with (The Ark of the Covenant was THE #1 Possession of Israel), it doesn’t matter who told you to do it (David himself gave these guys orders to bring up the Ark), If you do it against God’s directive on how to do it, you’re doing it wrong!
God wanted the emblem and container of His covenant with mankind to be carried by men, not by oxcarts.
Why is that such a big deal?
The Ark of the Covenant is a shadow of things to come. One day, a century later, Jesus would come and BE the covenant between mankind and God. The emblem and container of God’s covenant would be carried by a man to the altar of God in Heaven! THEN the emblem, seal, memorial, token, embodiment of God’s NEW and everlasting covenant would be carried by men in the form of the Holy Spirit!
God doesn’t need a home on an oxcart. God wants to be carried around by you in your daily life! (and yes, I’ll even say that He wants you to take the lid off at the right time and melt some faces off with His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.)
When you are carrying Him, you don’t have to worry about dropping Him off of a cart! You don’t have to worry about sin (yours or other people’s!) You don’t have to gather a party to celebrate Him because a party of celebration will follow in His wake. You don’t have to build a new cart to carry Him (or a new church or have a new car or a new house or a new job) because you realize that the value is all about what is in the covenant, not in the style of the container!
When you carry The Everlasting Covenant, all of life changes. Look it up, read about it, ask God to prove it! He will!