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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

November 4, 2016

David and Uzzah

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

King David planned to bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. The ark had rested some 20 years in the house of an Israelite farmer named Abinadab after the Philistines had returned the ark to Israel. 30,000 men accompanied David to witness the transfer of the ark to Jerusalem and David showed his reverence for God by having a brand new cart made to transport the ark.

The day of the transfer was to be a celebration. When the transfer started, David and his men "played music before the Lord on all kinds of instruments of fir wood, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals" (2 Samuel 6:5). Then the oxen pulling the cart stumbled, and Uzzah grabbed the ark to prevent it from falling off the cart. God killed him on the spot, and "David was afraid of the Lord that day; and he said, How can the ark of the Lord come to me?" (verse 9).

The ark rested for 3 months near the spot where Uzzah was killed and in the meantime David did a little research. He learned that his method for transporting the ark was improper: "No one may carry the ark of God but the Levites, for the Lord has chosen them to carry the ark of God and to minister before Him forever . . . And the children of the Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders, by its poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord" (1 Chronicles 15,2. 15).

David should have known that, because a new king in Israel "shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes" (Deuteronomy 17:18-19).

At the beginning of David's reign God taught him an important lesson: Zeal alone is not enough, true knowledge is also necessary. Uzzah's death shows us that Godly leaders have a responsible for the well-being of those whom they serve, and lack of right knowledge can have deadly consequences.

Uzzah will be resurrected at the White Throne Judgment and have his opportunity to learn about God's plan of salvation. And he will have a reunion with King David at that time. I wonder what David will have to say to him?

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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