But when they same to Chidon’s threshing place, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out and took hold of the chest to stop it from falling. The Lord God was very angry at Uzzah for doing this, and he killed Uzzah right there beside the chest. 1 Chronicles 13:1-4, see also 1 Chronicles 15:13
David’s intention was pure – even noble: the tangible symbol of his “faith” must be brought to the center – Jerusalem. Imagine the jubilation, the throng of people singing and dancing as they carried it. Imagine the celebration. Then imagine a violent, even crazy death in the middle of their joyous parade.
Uzzah died, saving the sacred chest from falling. David was shocked and was angry. He instantly blamed God for such a senseless accident. But he did not stop at that. He had a soul searching, asking the question most of us ask in many instances of unexpected turnarounds. “Why Lord?”
“Why Lord? He was only trying to prevent the chest from falling?”
“Why Lord, when we only intend to bring back the sacred chest which had been neglected for so long?”
“Why Lord – and in the midst of Jubilee? You could have waited until we’re done…”
More questions followed, “Should I really be the one to carry the chest back?Was that something I could have chosen not to do? What went wrong?”
Only God’s grace would be able to answer these difficult questions. When Job asked his questions after a series of afflictions, God pointed to him all the marvels of the universe, and concluded, “…Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty?…Will you condemn me that you may be justified?” (Job Chapter 38 -40)
Looking at the Uzzah’s incident itself, we may conclude based on logic that in the first place, it wasn’t his task to carry the chest – the job had been assigned long ago to the Levites. (1 Chronicles 15:13). The Levites would know how to carry the chest: on poles that rested on their shoulders (1 Chronicles 15:14; 26) and God gave them strength to carry it all the way. David must have thought that Uzzah’s death was unfair, but later he recognized that he and not God was largely to blame. Maybe, God was really angry, not at his intention but at his strategy. God has often told David that He never really lived in temples – God is beyond temples “His throne is above the winged treasures on the lid of the chest” (13:16).
God has full control of the events of our lives. There is a time for every thing for every season under the sun. Often, in our love for control of both time and resources, we take for granted those which have already been provided. Many times, in order for a task to be done quickly, even those who are not called or gifted to do it are forced out of their wits to perform and meet urgent deadlines. Often, the result is disaster, frustration and plenty of finger pointing.
When we are clear about God’s will, still enforcing our own is sheer foolishness, or plain and simple arrogance.