A Costly Worship Mistake – Some Choruses, a Pep-talk, and an Offering, part 3 of 20

 There is another guy with a funny name in our Bibles who paid dearly for his “worship mistake”. His name was Uzzah. King David was excited about moving the ark of God (2 Samuel 6:2) to Jerusalem. Sounded like a good idea; it was the embodiment of the presence of God. Thirty-thousand soldiers and the masses lined the way to usher the ark to the holy city—it’s quite the worship celebration, too, music and everything.

Two men, Ahio and Uzzah, were selected to escort the cart carrying the ark. Ahio was in front, Uzzah was in back. Then there’s trouble. “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). What is up with that? The ark was going to fall into the mud. Uzzah was just helping out. Shouldn’t he be commended instead of struck down? Why was his action described as an “irreverent act”?

We don’t need to wonder. In Numbers 4:15, God said “you must not touch the holy things or [you] will die.” I believe it was Jonathan Edwards who astutely pointed out that Uzzah made the mistake of thinking mud was dirtier than he was; Edward’s point that we are quite good at underestimating our un-holiness.

After this incident, everybody takes a three month time-out to figure out what happened. David will figure it out, explaining in 1 Chronicles 15:13: “We did not inquire of Him how to do it in the prescribed way.” God had told them how to move the ark in Exodus 25:12-15. But they didn’t follow His directions. They would the second time. “And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the Word of the Lord” (1 Chronicles 15:15).

There was a “prescribed way” that was “in accordance with the Word of the Lord” and every other way was an “irreverent act”. Apparently, all those tedious worship instructions God gave Moses were important. God regulated how He was to be worshiped in the Old Covenant. Did He stop doing that in the New? If you think so; you better be sure. Can’t we do better than “Some Choruses, a Pep-talk, and an Offering”? Still establishing here why we must.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
October 21, 2010

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