ABC Bible Character Faith Series

From Rejoicing to Mourning. Uzzah’s story

The story of Uzzah, found in 2 Samuel 6 & 1 Chronicles 13, many have found horrifying and have questioned God’s character as to whether He is merciful and loving. What I have found to be true is that God is not afraid of our questions and it is only good that we bring these to Him. Thank God, there are answers in His word.

The Bible reveals God’s character as that of love and mercy. He is also called righteous and just. If we believe what is written, then we believe it to be true. Psalm 85:10 states, “Mercy and truth have met together, righteousness and peace have kissed.” Therefore, truth and mercy as well as righteousness and peace are not mutually exclusive and this is revealed even in Uzzah’s story.

Uzzah was among the two who were guiding the ark while it was being returned to Jerusalem.  “And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled.  And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God”. – 2 Samuel 6:6-7

David was angry and I’m convinced at the time, he must have questioned God’s character. The event was meant to be celebratory with rejoicing but now had turned into one with mourning. Let’s look at why there was judgement passed on Uzzah and what we can learn from him.

The Ark of the Covenant contained the 10 commandments, Aaron’s rod and a golden jar of manna. It signified the presence of God amongst His people and God Himself had given special instructions for its make and transportation. The ark had poles that were placed on the rings attached to its side to facilitate its movement. Only the Priests, Aaron and his sons, were allowed to touch and cover it and a warning had been given to the Kohathites that, they were only to transport it by the poles on their shoulders. They were not to touch the holy things or else they’d die. (Numbers 4:15; Numbers 7:9).  With the above instruction, it is important to note that all the people involved in the sanctuary service were aware of God’s instructions and the covenant. None was ignorant and so for Uzzah’s action, it was neglect and dishonour to God. Here are some lessons I learnt that I’d like to share with you.

When the Philistines had conquered the ark, they brought it back on a cart because they had no clue how it was to be transported. The Lord accepted their efforts which is a reminder that God overlooked their ignorance. Now that is the just God. Good intentions are not pleasing to Him but obedience is. We need to be sincerely obedient to Him and this is when our worship will be acceptable to Him.

We do not know Uzzah’s destiny despite the judgement he received. Similar to Uzzah, many found Moses’ judgement harsh but we know that God buried and resurrected him when the devil wanted his body. His resurrection is confirmed by the fact that he appeared to Jesus at the transfiguration. (Deuteronomy 34:6; Jude 9; Mark 9:4) Our ways are not God’s ways and we can never fully decipher His judgements but we can be sure of His character of Justice, Mercy and Love. We can trust Him and know that He does all for our good. In Moses’ case, even though he did not enter the earthly Canaan, he is in the heavenly one.

Lastly, it is impossible to change God’s law. On our faith journey, we need to understand this. Faith without works (obedience) is dead. Many have claimed that God has done away with the law and it is no longer relevant but that would contradict His character. If God doesn’t change, why would we think His law does? In the case of Adam’s fall, he could’ve just changed His word but because sin indeed leads to eternal death, He was the only one qualified to come and redeem us. He died because the law isn’t changeable. He now lives in us so that through him, we are able to uphold the Law.

I pray that as we think about this, we will be driven by love to obey God in all that we do. Nothing like partial obedience but strict heeding to His requirements. In this, we will keep rejoicing.

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