Saturday after the Eighth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 2 Samuel 6:1-19 (NKJV)
1 Again David gathered all the choice men of Israel, thirty thousand. 2 And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, whose name is called by the Name, the LORD of Hosts, who dwells between the cherubim. 3 So they set the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart. 4 And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill, accompanying the ark of God; and Ahio went before the ark. 5 Then David and all the house of Israel played music before the LORD on all kinds of instruments of fir wood, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals. 6 And when they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7 Then the anger of the LORD was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God.
8 And David became angry because of the LORD’s outbreak against Uzzah; and he called the name of the place Perez Uzzah to this day. 9 David was afraid of the LORD that day; and he said, “How can the ark of the LORD come to me?” 10 So David would not move the ark of the LORD with him into the City of David; but David took it aside into the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. 11 The ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite three months. And the LORD blessed Obed-Edom and all his household.
12 Now it was told King David, saying, “The LORD has blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with gladness. 13 And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep. 14 Then David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet.
16 Now as the ark of the LORD came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart. 17 So they brought the ark of the LORD, and set it in its place in the midst of the tabernacle that David had erected for it. Then David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. 18 And when David had finished offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts. 19 Then he distributed among all the people, among the whole multitude of Israel, both the women and the men, to everyone a loaf of bread, a piece of meat, and a cake of raisins. So all the people departed, everyone to his house.
It might seem harsh that Uzzah was struck dead by the Lord for his error of touching the ark. However, we must remember that God has established the order of things. Actions have consequences. For example, God created electricity to act in a particular way. If we hope to live long on the earth and avoid being electrocuted, we would do well to obey our parents’ warnings about power outlets. But if we ignore them and intentionally, or even accidentally, stick a fork in the outlet, electricity will act according to its created nature.
God would have us understand that His holy things are not to be trifled with or underestimated. However, the fact that He does not instantly strike people dead for such carelessness now is not a sign of His ignorance. We receive more patient forbearance out of His divine will. But that does not mean His holy things are any less important, or less powerful.
For example, St. Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 11 that the Body and Blood of our Lord is not to be taken in an unworthy manner or else it will bring guilt and judgment on the one who does. In ways, we are fortunate that the Lord does not strike dead those who ignore this warning. They are given time and opportunity to repent and learn true faithfulness. But that also means the work of the Church is very serious. People can be dying from sin even while they live and breathe.
May our Lord continue to work through us to show all nations the power of Christ’s grace and forgiveness, so they may be saved from the death that disobedience would bring. Amen.