By: Steve Leland
As I go through life, it seems that more import is often given to people’s intentions than their actions. As I was pondering that, a story came to mind. Uzza was a fella back in King David’s day that earned himself a place in history for doing what was right…doing what was right, but getting smitten down by Yah for doing it.
To make a long story a bit shorter, the Ark of the Covenant had done some unauthorized traveling, causing the statue of Dagon (a main Philistine god) to fall and break its neck, scaring the living daylights out of his worshipers when they found the pieces. This made the Ark, the possession of which had been an incredible victory against the Israelites, suddenly persona non grata amongst the Philistines. They got it back into Israeli territory, but it hadn’t been returned to the place of honor in the Holy of Holies where it belonged.
David, being now the king, proceeded to put it back where it belonged. With extreme honor, they placed it upon a brand-new cart to transport it home. The problem with that is that Yah had intended for it to be only carried by priests. There were rings built into the corners that long poles were put through so that the priests could carry it without ever touching it. David somehow passed over that part and assumed that putting it on a cart was just hunky-dory. I am sure that he meant zero disrespect for Yah, but that didn’t matter. His assumption caused a man to be struck down by his Creator for doing the right thing.
One interesting thing about Uzza is that his name means strength. I imagine him being a burly young man in the prime of his life. He and his brother were chosen to drive the cart carrying the Ark. We normally think of drivers as sitting in the conveyance and steering it, but in this case, they may have been walking, one of them on each side. They did have responsibility for the Ark, and when it jiggled on those unsprung wooden wheels going down an unpaved road, it started to slide. What could he do? He reached out to steady it and lost his life.
Uzza’s intentions couldn’t have been more perfect. He did absolutely nothing wrong. David had made the mistake. He probably knew the technically correct method of transport, but assumed that it would be okay to do it this way. As long as he did it with honor and he had good intentions, right? But it cost a man his life; a man who may not even have known that the Ark was not intended to travel that way. I can imagine Yah saying; “Hey, man, sorry about that. Nothing personal, but I had to drop you. My boy David just wasn’t taking my instructions seriously enough. You’re cool with me, though. Ya done good.” So, yeah. Intentions matter, but actions matter more.
By: Steve Leland