Why Did Uzzah Have to Die?
by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: II Samuel 6:1-10
I. David had long desired to bring the Ark of God, the very symbol of God’s presence into his capital city.
A. With great fair-fare and many witnesses, the Ark was placed on a cart and led from it’s current site to Jerusalem.
B. But something funny happened on the way to the capital, the oxen stumbled, upsetting the cart, and the ark began to tilt.
1. You might overlook a small, but significant fact: the oxen stumbled on a threshing floor.
2. A threshing floor is an area of hard packed soil, used to separate grain from the chaff by oxen pulling a sled or other heavy object.
3. For a threshing floor to work, it had to be hard and level
4. So at the most level, smooth part of the entire trip, the oxen stumbled!
C. Uzzah, seeing God’s Ark about to fall, reached out to steady it. God killed him for his attempt.
D. The question I would like us to consider this day is “Why did Uzzah have to die?”
1. It is apparent that Uzzah’s intentions were good.
2. The recording of this event is to teach us something - Romans 15:4
3. By learning from the mistakes of others, it is hoped that we will not fall into the same trap - I Corinthians 10:11
4. If we fail to understand why Uzzah had to die, we will fail in our own attempts at serving God.
II. As we examine God’s instructions for the care of His tabernacle and the Ark, we find that David and his people were very careless.
A. God was very specific in how the Ark was to be transported:
1. Poles were to be used to carry the Ark - Exodus 37:5
2. The ark had to be covered so no one could gaze at it - Numbers 4:5-6
3. Only certain families were allowed to carry the ark - Numbers 4:15
B. Not long before, the Philistines captured the Ark because the people thought they could force God to battle for them - I Samuel 4:3, 10-11.
1. While God allowed the Philistines to take the Ark, they soon learned that they held a dangerous thing.
a. Their idol god was destroyed and plagues of tumors and mice broke out wherever the Ark was taken.
b. Philistines decided to put the Ark on a cart and let this terrible God decide where His Ark was to go. - I Samuel 6:7-9, 12
2. It was probably this event that gave the Israelites the idea that the Ark could be transported via a cart. After all, God allowed the Philistines to use a cart to carry the Ark.
C. David and the people knew what God had commanded, but they ignored it.
1. Their intentions were good. David wanted to bring the symbol of God’s presence into his city. The people came out in mass to honor God. Uzzah just wanted to keep the Ark from falling.
2. There are many people who feel that the intentions of their hearts will justify them before God. It doesn’t matter if they observe God’s Law, often they don’t even bother to learn them. They believe that God knows the heart of man and that He will pardon any faults they may have, so long as their intentions are good.
3. However, God teaches something else
a. Man likes to think he is pure - Proverbs 16:2
b. What looks right to man doesn’t necessary mean it is right - Proverbs 16:25
c. Man can always justify his own decisions - Proverbs 21:2
D. David and the people were sincere in their efforts.
1. Have you heard people say, “God is too good to condemn anyone. As long as my intentions are good, everything will work out. It doesn’t matter how you worship God, so long as you are sincere.”
2. God demands obedience
a. Proverbs 21:3 - righteousness and justice is more acceptable than sacrifices
b. I Samuel 15:22 - Obedience is more important to God.
c. Micah 6:6-8 - All the sacrifices in the world cannot make up for being unjust, unmerciful, and prideful.
d. Hosea 6:6 - Mercy and knowledge is more important than offerings
e. Jeremiah 7:21-26 - God thinks obedience was more important.
3. God told the people to offer sacrifices, but they thought the sacrifices were the most important thing. As long as they got that done, it didn’t matter so much what else they did.
a. People do the same thing today. Some religions allow their members to act anyway they please, just as long as they confess their sins and do penance periodically.
b. Unfortunately, so members of the church act in a similar fashion. As long as they come to church on Sunday, it doesn’t matter what else they do.
4. Listen to what God want of these Israelites - Deuteronomy 6:5-9, 17, 24
5. God is to worshiped in spirit and truth - John 4:23-24
a. It takes both the sincerity and the obedience to be acceptable to God.
b. Galatians 1:8 - God’s word cannot be changed
c. Colossians 3:17 - Must be done with the authority of Jesus
d. I Peter 4:11 - Speak as the Bible speaks
III. Uzzah died because he touched the Ark of God, but he wasn’t the only one punished. David, in front of 30,000 people, saw the anger of God. David’s carelessness led to a man needlessly dying.
A. Yet David learned - I Chronicles 15:1-2, 12-15
B. Notice David’s admission: “We did not consult God about the proper order.”
1. They did it in a manner that seemed right to them, but they did not check to see if God approved.
2. David was mad that God killed Uzzah, but he learned that he had only himself to blame.
IV. We cannot approach the worship of God haphazardly.
A. Our sloppiness could cause the destruction of others.
B. Our laziness could keep someone out of heaven.
C. Ignorance of the law is no excuse before God, we are still subject to His will.
D. Learn to serve God in the ways that He has taught us.