1 Chronicles Chapter 13

At this point in the books of Chronicles, David was anointed as the King of Israel and the people of Israel recognized that he was the next leader of Israel chosen by God. David led in righteousness and felt the need for the ark to be moved to the tabernacle where it belonged. In the beginning of his reign, the ark was located in a place called Kirjath-jearim. It had come to be there, because the Philistines had stolen it when they defeated the Israelites in the time that Eli judged Israel (see 1 Samuel 4). Word of loosing the ark was so awful, that it had brought the death of Eli. The Philistines removed the ark to one of their temples, where it brought trouble on them. They decided to move it to Gath, where again, it brought destruction to the Philistines. They moved it then to Ekron, where the people begged for it to be sent back to the Israelites (see 1 Samuel 5). After about seven months of it being in the hands of the Philistines, they took it by cart to the border of Beth-shemesh in the land of the Israelites (see 1 Samuel 6). The Israelite men in Beth-shemesh were tempted to look into the ark, and had been cursed by the Lord, so they asked the men of Kirjath-jearim to retrieve the ark from them. The ark was finally moved to Kirjath-jearim until this time in David’s reign (see 1 Samuel 7). It had remained there for about 20 years.

1 And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader.
2 And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good unto you, and that it be of the Lord our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren every where, that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites which are in their cities and suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us:
3 And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we inquired not at it in the days of Saul.
4 And all the congregation said that they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.
5 So David gathered all Israel together, from Shihor of Egypt even unto the entering of Hemath, to bring the ark of God from Kirjath-jearim.
6 And David went up, and all Israel, to Baalah, that is, to Kirjath-jearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up thence the ark of God the Lord, that dwelleth between the cherubims, whose name is called on it.
7 And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drave the cart.
8 And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets.

David called for the men of Israel to be gathered together and for the ark of the covenant to be brought from Kirjath-jearim (a city not too far from Jerusalem by today’s standards, about 7 1/2 miles). The congregation of Israel agreed that they should do this, so they gathered together and prepared to move the ark. David went to Kirjath-jearim and had it brought out by a cart driven by Uzza (Uzzah) and Ahio. The musicians played and sang for the Lord as they went.

Reading that David gathered the Israelites together to ask for their consent to move the ark to the tabernacle, is an example of his efforts to lead as the Lord wanted instead of by his own design. It is the way of the Lord, for there to be common consent among his people. If the voice of the people were to choose wickedness, the Lord would not force them otherwise. The voice of the people had chosen to be led by a king rather then judges as was prescribed by the Lord, and then the Lord allowed for a king to be their leader. When the voice of the people choose to sustain the Lord’s chosen leader and then follow that leaders inspired course, they will be blessed. This is true in these modern days as well as it was in ancient times.

9 And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled.
10 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God.
11 And David was displeased, because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzza: wherefore that place is called Perez-uzza to this day.
12 And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God home to me?
13 So David brought not the ark home to himself to the city of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.
14 And the ark of God remained with the family of Obed-edom in his house three months. And the Lord blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that he had.

In the area of Chidon, the oxen stumbled and Uzza tried to steady the ark. Uzza was smitten by the Lord and died (see also 2 Samuel 6:6-7). This was against strict commandment to the men of the priesthood, that no one (unauthorized by God) was to touch anything holy from the tabernacle, or they would die (see Numbers 4:15). David was concerned for how they could move the ark if this could happen to his men, so he decided to leave the ark there, at the house of Obed-edom, who was a Gittite or a levite of Gath-rimmon. The ark was left there for three months, and brought the blessings of the Lord to the house and family of Obed-edom. (see also 2 Samuel 6)

This story seems like such a strong act of God against one who thought he was doing something good, but it is more important to see that the Lord keeps His word with strictness. They had been given the commandment long before, and as men of the priesthood they knew these things. The promise had been death and the Lord had to keep that word or men would doubt the power and actions of God. The Lord would have protected the ark as needed and it was to be kept completely holy, but sometimes men use their own wisdom and act upon it instead of trusting completely in the Lord. I am sure we all do this at times, and there are always consequences of some type. The ways of men are not the ways of God, but if we can learn to place complete trust in Him, our ways can become more like His and we will see amazing blessings in our lives.

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