The capricious nature of the death of Uzzah in chapter thirteen gives all of us pause, but before getting into that event, we need to keep in mind another point: as great as David is, he is, none the less, human. Being a ruler is not easy and just because you have the blessing of God, you shouldn’t think every decision and project will go without trial.
Why not? If God is in it, why shouldn’t everything go smoothly and well? Isn’t that a sign that God is in it?
Difficulties arise for a variety of reasons. In Chapter thirteen, they arise because of errors in human judgment. But all these difficulties – even bumps in righteous causes – give us a chance to be calm, rest in the Lord, and trust Him. We may have to work through the difficulties, but God’s presence assures us we can succeed.
Back to Uzzah. The chapter is very plain. David confers with everyone about bringing the ark to Jerusalem; everyone but God. Additionally, David is ignorant of God’s rules about moving the ark – inexcusable for a man who is supposed to write a copy of the law for his own use (Deuteronomy 17:18). His presumption – action without prayer – and his ignorance, got him into trouble and cost Uzzah his life. And incidently, Uzzah was a Levite. He particularly should have known the rules. How dare they transport the ark of God the same way you might transport a pagan idol! And so, Uzzah paid the ultimate price for his sin. There was nothing capricious about Uzzah’s death. God is serious about His rules. He expects you to know them. He expects you to obey them. Only in these ways can we give God the honor He richly deserves.