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1. How had God prescribed that the ark be moved (see Exodus 25:14)? And by whom (see 1 Chronicles 15:11 – 15; Numbers 4:15)?
2. How is Uzzah’s act “irreverent” (verses 6 and 7; see also 1 Samuel 6:19)? What does such burning anger reveal about God’s holiness? About Jesus, our High Priest?
3. Upon being given this deadly ark, how do you think Obed-Edom felt? Where else (in your opinion) could David have placed it?
4. What objects of worship or means of grace do you “uphold” as sacred? How, then, do you “uphold” them? When, have you slipped (like Uzzah) and acted irreverently in this regard? How does Christ the Mediator intercede for you when you fall?
People who read of Uzzah’s death often wonder why he died for trying to keep God’s ark from tipping over. The reason given in 1 Chronicles is a little clearer than 2 Samuel. David explained that the Lord had been angry at them for moving the ark in a way disobedient to God’s law.
Numbers 4 and Exodus 37 specify that the Levites were to carry it with poles. Uzzah and his brother (non-Levites) were carrying it on an oxcart – the same manner the Philistines had used (1 Samuel 6). Uzzah’s death resulted from prolonged (though possibly well-intentioned) disobedience to God’s direction. God had told them how to honor the ark (a sign of His presence). Their sloppiness revealed a lack of concern for God’s honor.