Watch Your Enthusiasm

All of us at one time or another get very excited; we rush into something without much thought. Most of the time it is not such a big deal. However, there are times when enthusiasm is not such a great idea. One of these times occurred in 2 Samuel 6:7 where we read these words: “The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.” Now, I am sure you are wondering the “why” of it.

God had given detailed instructions on the handling of the Ark of God. They were to be followed exactly. You can read all about it in the book of Exodus. The Levites were selected to be the ones to carry the ark of God, they were never to touch it and it was to be carried by the poles. (Numbers 4:5-15) Touching the ark was a capital offense under Hebrew law. (Numbers 4:15)
“And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the work of the Lord.” (1Chronicles 15:15)

So, what was it that made God so angry that he killed Uzzah as soon as he touched it. I think several things. God was angry at David for getting too overzealous in his desire to move the ark to another place. David placed the ark on a cart according to the Philistines example rather than God’s commands. Uzzah was sincere in his desire to protect the ark. When the oxen stumbled ( 2 Samuel 6:6) he reached out to steady it. That doesn’t seem like such a bad thing to do, but according to what God had instructed it turned out to have irreparable consequences. It was sin and the consequences of his sin was death! Also, it is thought that Uzzah was not a Levite.

David’s desire to bring Israel back into relationship with God was not wrong in and of itself, but when he disregarded the law on how to handle the ark, he sinned. Our enthusiasm always must be accompanied by obedience to God’s laws. Uzzah paid with his life, there was no second chance for him. The next time David tried to bring the ark to Jerusalem, he was very careful to handle it correctly. (1 Chronicles15:1-5)

After Uzzah died, David was angry with himself. He decided to put the ark in temporary storage while he waited to see if the Lord would allow him to bring it to Jerusalem. David needed time to consider the right way to transport the ark.

We all need to be careful when dealing with the things of God. We cannot let our enthusiasm run away with us without first consulting with the Lord on the matter. We seem to constantly forget that God is Holy. We water down the holiness of God when we put God on our level. When we think that God thinks and acts as we do. Our sense of right and wrong is nowhere near that of our Lord. He is holy…the only holiness and righteousness we have are because of the shed blood of Jesus that has been applied to a believers life.

Get excited, get enthusiastic about something…just put prayer ahead of it and see where God leads. When your plans have God’s blessings, things will go well. David did eventually get the ark where he wanted it, he just did it the right way. (2 Samuel 6:12-19)

In everything we do we need to inquire of the Lord. Too often we pray after the fact and when we are dealing with the consequences of our actions. Yes, God is good and he is faithful to forgive us when we sin, but should we really be living and doing presuming upon the grace of God or should we do our best to live an obedient life?