After the Ark of the Covenant was taken by the Philistines and then returned to Israel, it remained in the house of Abinadab for many years. When David became king of Israel, he desired to "bring again the ark of God" to Jerusalem. The Ark had been neglected "in the days of [King] Saul." With great rejoicing and singing, David and 30,000 "chosen men of Israel" (2 Samuel 6:1) accompanied the Ark as it traveled. Our text says they "played before God with all their might!"
Yet, in the next two verses, we read that "the oxen stumbled," Uzzah put out his hand to steady the Ark, God became angry, and Uzzah died. No doubt, the rejoicing and singing immediately stopped. Something was out of order! God is a god of order, and the Ark was where His presence dwelled. It was not to be treated lightly or as something common.
In Numbers 4:14-15 God made it clear the Ark was to be carried on poles on the shoulders of the priests (not in a cart). Not only was God's law disobeyed, but a lack of reverence was shown when (though well-intentioned) Uzzah touched that which was holy (the Ark). Later, David said, "We sought [God] not after the due [proper] order" (1 Chronicles 15:13).
This sobering account serves as a warning to us today. We might come into worship service and sing, play an instrument, and rejoice with "all our might," but if something is out of divine order somewhere in our lives, God will not be pleased. It would be wise to ask God to search us: "Is there anything out of order in my life?" Good intentions are not a substitute for obedience to God's commandments.
Let the sin of Uzzah warn all to take heed of irreverence in dealing with holy things. Let none think a good design will justify a bad action. —Matthew Henry
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