Back to Posts
Feb 21, 2015

90 Day Challenge – Day 52

Sarah Christmyer

Just Getting Started? Read what you’ve missed and check out Bible reading resources

Bible Time Period: Royal Kingdom

You established a kingdom on your servant David and promised him an eternal throne: Establish your kingdom in our midst.

Reflection

2 Samuel 7 is the key chapter for this period.  Here God establishes a covenant with King David that expands upon His second promise to Abraham, the promise of royal kingdom and dynasty.  That promise reaches a preliminary fulfillment in the earthly kingdom of Israel, a kingdom that pre-figures the eternal kingdom of God.

A dynasty is marked by a succession of kings in the same family.  It is sometimes known as a “house,” as in England’s House of Windsor.  That is the sense in which God tells David that He will make David a “house.”

Today’s Reading

2 Samuel 5-8

Today’s Question

Recall the incidents in the first half of chapter 6 regarding the Ark of the Covenant.  What do they teach about the Lord’s presence and rule?

Join the discussion below!

Has Ascension's free media strengthened your faith?
You can now offer ongoing support for this content with a recurring gift.
Support Ascension

Get your favorite Ascension content sent right to your email!

  • This is a difficult passage for me to understand. Who wouldn’t attempt to protect the ark of the Lord if you believe it is about to fall? God killed Uzzah for this irreverent act.

    • Hello Michael, you have just raised a very difficult question of the day by which man would ever fathom the mind of God. The more we try to bring God down to our worldly way of thinking or reasoning, the further away He will seem to us.

      An excerpt from the works of CEO, S. Michael Houdmann.
      Firstly, God had given Moses and Aaron specific instructions about the Tent of Meeting and the movement of the Ark of the Covenant. Numbers 4:15, forbids touching the holy thing which will result to death. Secondly, the ark had stayed for a period of time at Abinadab’s house (2 Samuel 6:3), where his sons, Uzzah and Ahio, may well have become accustomed to its presence. Our saying, “familiarity breeds contempt,” that could apply in this case. Uzzah, having been around the ark in his own home, could very likely forget the holiness that it represented.
      Third, the account tells us the oxen stumbled. The cart didn’t fall and neither did the Ark, just as the boat carrying Jesus and the disciples rocked fiercely in the storm, though it wasn’t necessarily in danger of sinking (Matthew 8:24-27). And yet, just as with the disciples who failed to put their faith in their Master, Uzzah, for a moment, felt it was his responsibility to save the integrity of God, and that our almighty God somehow needed Uzzah’s assistance, as presumed.

      Houdmann commented further that, something of God’s presence in the Ark of the Covenant seems to be lost in the church today. In the time of Moses, the people knew the awesomeness of God’s absolute holiness. They had witnessed great miracles when the ark was with them. They respected that God’s ways and thoughts are much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9).

  • God had set down rules many, many years ago on how to carry the ark and especially who should have that distinction. In Numbers, Chapter 4 God explains in detail how to attend to the ark and how to transport the ark. I think the people in David’s era were elated that they had a cart to carry the ark to the city of David, but they had forgotten God’s rules.
    God surely made his presence known to David and the people when Uzzah perished. Although there was bewilderment and fear in David’s heart because of what happened to Uzzah, David took the ark to Obededom, a Levite and it stayed at Obededom’s domicile for three months. This pleased the Lord because David was following the rules set forth by God through Moses and Aaron.
    What I have learned through this reading is that God is Always present in our lives and He has given us a set of rules to live by. It is up to us to abide by those rules in order to be with Him for eternal life. How often have I decided upon my fate without thinking about God’s rules! When I don’t obey His rules, His presence seems to fade like a sunset. I need that “sun” in my life constantly! I know He will never ignore me, but I need to respect His rules and follow them unabashed, like a child trying to catch a runaway balloon on a windy day.

  • God ever-present. The Ark was his dwelling place. One must observe holiness and reverence to God. Remember Moses and the burning bush and how reverent Moses was? God the Almighty!, Omnipotence! ie Power, Authority Supremacy. He is in Control and wants us to follow his commands. Uzzah just for a moment lacked faith. He thought the Ark of the Covenant was going to fall, so he steadied it.This also reminds me of how Jesus reprimanded Peter for lacking faith in the
    storm because he thought the boat was going to sink.

    God had given Moses and Aaron specific instructions on the movement of the Ark of the Covenant and how it should be carried. ‘Once Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy things and all their accessories at the breaking of camp, the Kohathites will come and carr them but without touching any of the holy things on pain of death’ Num 4:15. Abinadad is a Levite – so we assume the traditions have been passed on to his sons.

    Uzzah and his brother had the Ark around the house for 3 months – it could be that they just got too accustomed to having it around without giving it the right reverence it deserved. (Just like today in church many don’t treat the church as a holy place). The penalty dealt was no harsher than what we saw dealt out to Moses when he refused to command the rock and struck it instead. He never entered the Promised Land. The lesson for me today is to remember God is ever-present among us and he loving, merciful and forgiving and demands of us obedience, respect and holiness, so as not to face
    his holy wrath.

  • Good morning all. I have a million meetings today so I will be brief. What powerful words and thoughts came to mind with these readings. I was struck by the treatment of Uzzah but then remembered that God does not act this way out of his heart but rather because of disobedience to his word. I like jacquelines point about treating the church as a holy place without it just being part of a routine that loses its power and just becomes commonplace. Quite the contrary- we need to always, especially when we enter the sacred church grounds, remember not only the love God has for us but also the rules and demands for obedience he sets forth to keep this relationship holy and loving. I think to my own life and how I may, at times, act impulsively like Uzzah out of familiarity, comfort, or lack of judgement, failing to heed to the faith rules laid out before me. Today and always I will strive to always take pause and think before I act, not only about the consequences, but from the root of where my actions are derived, ensuring they are rooted in the faith and love our God offers us, if only we listen and obey.

  • Thanks to those who have commented this morning. At first, God’s treatment of Uzzah was one of those “hard passages” for me. With your insight I now have not only an understanding but an appreciation that I lacked before. Day by day I’m awed at how we help each other!

    • Hello Ann, I am feeling so thankful for this bible study journey. It is bringing my life to a whole different level of appreciation for God. I am understanding it much clearer than when reading daily passages to myself. I thank you and the others for such rich insight. It’s a day to day walk for me too. God be with you. Carla

  • Th Lord’s presence in the Ark of the covenance is sacred. Although Uzzah stretched his hand out to protect the Ark he was not given permission. Therefore the only consequence for doing so is death. After that was made clear to David he was ready to continue have the Ark of the covenant taken to his home.

  • I love all the posts this morning; they provide good food for thought and clarify much that at first reading is mystifying. What has given me pause in the reading today, and has been alluded to by Jose,

    • In the mass, notice clergies kiss the table. Specifically, we bow at the Altar, but where, specifically? At the Eucharistic Table. so also with the Lectors and altar servers and Eucharistic Ministers. Though the presence of the Lord were with the Priests, the congregation, at the Lectionary, and the Eucharist, and even they say as everywhere.

  • Thank you everyone for the enlightening insights into the Uzzah incident. From the reading, I was sad to note that David was angry because the Lord’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah. It seems that instead of being upset about Uzzah’s death or the fact that God had been offended. The next reaction was fear but David did not try to approach God, instead he gave into his fear and left the Ark at the house of Obed-edom. I wonder whether God blessed the house of Obed-edom as a way of calling David away from his anger and fear? When reunited with the Ark, David pays homage to God, reconciles himself to God and is joyous. As other have mentioned this ties in with the Sacrament of Reconciliation when we move from fear to respond to God’s desire for reconciliation by repenting through to rejoicing. And it is a reminder that although God is loving, merciful and slow to anger, we should not take that for granted because God has revealed that He will and does discipline, when it is for the good of His people.

  • o Pax et Bonum!

    Hola! This is my 2nd post. I notice a paralleled 2nd Samuel 6:11 (The [ark] of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite for [three months], and the LORD blessed Obed-edom and all his household.) and Luke 1:56 “…Mary abode with her about [three] months…” Mary is the new ark carrying with her the Son of God (JESUS), staying with her cousin for THREE months, what a blessing to Elizabeth and Zachary. Our beloved, Blessed Savior Jesus, when He was nailed to the tree of life, He commanded the apostle John: “…Behold thy mother. And from that hour the disciple [took ‘her’ to his own] (John 19:26).” Jesus commands every believer to take the new ark (His Mother) to their home and honor His mother Mary with the reverence and the respect she deserve, giving her FIAT and giving birth to the ONLY Savior/Redeemer of the whole human race (Acts 4:12).

    Mary pray for us.

    God bless!

    • Thanks for picking up the parallels with Obed-edom and Elizabeth Mary’s cousin. I have great devotion to our Blessed Mother. Through Mary to Jesus.

  • Lord’s anger at Uzzah shows that we need to be pure in our hearts to be close to him and be aware of God’s presence all the time in our lives

  • “And yet behold, the hand of the one who is to betray me is with me on the table; for the Son of Man indeed goes as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed.” And they began to debate among themselves who among them would do such a deed Luke 22:21-23

    “Who would do such a thing?” is often said by Christians too. Judas sitting at the table with the Lord and the other Eleven had a few days earlier betrayed Jesus for planning to turn him over to the authorities for money. Judas still had time to say he was sorry. Why did he not? Who knows for sure but maybe he lost his nerve or did not know how to say it, or whom to say it too. So he lived the lie that killed him. Perhaps, I’ve had things inside me I did not know how or whom to tell. The sacrament of reconciliation began as a kind provision to enable sinners to tell the truth and find peace. That is still what it is.

    • This is a profound insight in connecting this reading to what we need through reconciliation to approach God in humility and awe, as well as confidence that God is also Abba/Daddy to us. Otherwise, we would feel the fear that David experienced after the LORD struck down Uzzah. When David saw that the LORD was blessing Obededom’s house, David wanted to have the Lord’s blessing on his house, retrieved the Ark, then danced with joy to have God’s presence in their midst once again. This is the joy we can experience after reconciliation as well.

  • Saturday after Ash Wednesday
    The pelican is associated with Lent as a symbol of Jesus’ giving of his life for the world’s redemption. When food, according to legend, can not be found for her young, a mother pelican will pierce her own chest to provide nourishing blood to feed them. Pelican is always a symbol of charity. Diocese of Peterson, N.J., the pelican is featured on its Caritas Award given annually ‘in recognition of outstanding service and love for humanity.’ Caritas International is a Catholic organization which helps the poor around the world. Founded in Germany in 1897, Caritas has been called the Church’s official voice when it comes to its teachings in the area of charitable work.

  • I reread what I said about this reading a year ago. I will not add anymore.
    Although God’s rules were meant to be followed, I had a real hard time reading this chapter again. I am understanding the rule set forth by God, but from an emotional standpoint, it is a hard subject for me to embrace. Maybe it could be that I “bend” God’s rules a bit (making excuses for my imperfect behavior perhaps) and reading this story makes me a bit uncomfortable because it mirrors some my past experiences.
    This is a point of interest that needs further honest examination on my part. Thank you Sarah for bringing this personal imperfection that I really haven’t thought of and wouldn’t have thought of if I didn’t read this passage again.

  • I have an internal struggle with this particular chapter in 2 Samuel; I understand that the Lord’s laws are the laws and should not be disobeyed (the Lord had stated earlier that whoever touched the Ark would die); however, it seems the oxen pulling the Ark of the Covenant stumbled and Uzzah reached to steady the Ark least if fall. This appeared to me to be a innocent gesture to care for the Ark not a act of disobedience. I was saddened when Uzzah was smote by the Lord.

    As it relates to David in this chapter, this is the first time we have seen David turn from his pure love of the Lord – he became angry with the Lord after Uzzah’s death and won’t allow the Ark in his city. David has questioned the Lord and shown his displeasure – only after he had calmed (it took three weeks) and regained his perspective of the proper resting place for the Ark. Is this a discovery of a chink in David’s armor?

    • I agree about David’s sin of anger toward God being a chink in his armor. Soon after in the story line, he covets Bathsheba. And we all know the rest of the story! Sin can and often is a downhill slope.

    • I too have a hard time with Uzzah death. Was he to let it fall, what would the thinking been then? I feel guilty that I question what God did however I still do not understand it. Another addition to my have “faith” list.
      David, like so many others in the bible give me hope. David had many chinks in his armor however God loved him greatly.

    • Let’s remember that King David was human and that is the way WE react many times. Susan, do not be surprised in coming chapters when David “turns from his pure love of the Lord” to ANOTHER love.

    • When I look at this, I recall that we read earlier that the Ark was only to be carried on poles on the shoulders of human beings, and only by the Levites. What was the Ark even doing in an ox cart in the first place? The stumbling of oxen should never have been part of the situation. The people had fallen far from God’s commands regarding treatment of God’s dwelling place with them. Perhaps the fact that God only struck down Uzzah–the one who actually touched the Ark–shows how great His mercy is; consider that he could have struck them all dead!

      Also, in Uzzah’s “good deed” of steadying the Ark, he presumed that God needed his help. Perhaps this condescending treatment of the all powerful God was part of the problem. I think their careless acts of ignoring God’s laws and treating God’s holy dwelling as a common item demanded that God respond strongly in order to get their attention.

      If I threaten to take away my teen’s laptop if she is up on Facebook after lights-out and I fail to follow through, my threat becomes meaningless and I lose authority in my child’s eyes. If God did not follow through with His promise that anyone who touched the Ark would die, what would that have done to God’s credibility among His chosen people?

  • I think this was indeed a teaching moment of the Lord. The arch itself is a symbol of Our Lady and the Arch held the presence of the Lord. Giving God the proper respect and honor was he was teaching. U

  • So many times God has warned the people of Israel to have faith and trust and never question or take for granted what is expected from God. The fact that Uzzah even with a quick reflex action tried to catch the Ark from falling, and “putting his hand on the Ark of God, and took hold of it,” (Ch 6:6-7) made it appear that this act alone cancelled God’s promise that all will be well. Looking back on so many decisions I have made in my life, thinking they were for the best, now make me think the reason they were wrong decisions was because I removed my patience and trust with God. As a matter of fact, the traumatic conclusions of those decisions brought on a mini-death to me each time. David learned and understood God’s message when he saw the house of Obed-edom was blessed because of the presence of the Ark of God. This lesson today, taught me to keep close to my heart and soul “the everlasting presence of God.”

  • I love old artwork and found this to represent todays discussion. How powerful! Lest we never forget to obey God at all times.

  • The Ark is a foreshadowing of our beloved mother Mary inside the Ark are Mana,Ten commandments and the Rod of Aron which buded.Our Mother Mary has inside of her Jesus the word of GOD-The Ten Commandments,Mana the bread from heaven and Aron’s Rod that is Jesus the high Priest.This is why we need to Give honer to Jesus Mother.Also why God chose Joseph because He was just man Mat1;19.Not touching the Ark

  • God did not need humans to protect the ark for Him, a lesson which the Israelites should have learned the last time the ark was transported (see 1 Sam 5:1–5; 6:19–21). When tragedy strikes David’s joyous celebration (when Uzzah foolishly touches the ark and dies), it is realized that those who handle the ark break proper protocol resulting in (his) untimely death. This was a capital offense; though his intentions were pure—he did not want the ark to fall—he violated two clear directives from the Law: the ark was to be carried on poles and was never to be touched. reminds me of the phrase “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. You MUST listen to the Lord at all times! Numbers 4:15 clearly states that the penalty for touching the ark is death.

  • While moving the Ark of God, Uzzah reached out to steady it. At first I thought Uzzah was doing a good thing by keeping it from falling. But the fact that the Lord became angry and struck him dead on the spot, after some thought told me that Uzzah wasn’t being respectful and reverent to God. I think about all I do trying to be a disciple of God. To others around me my actions may seem to be good, and God can and does use them for good, but are the motives of my heart pure? Am I truly doing this for God, or am I doing it more for me so others might see me and think I’m holy? Who’s receiving the glory…God or me?
    David was disturbed that God punished Uzzah, but David couldn’t see into Uzzah’s heart, just as others cannot judge my actions as good or bad because they can’t see my heart, my motives…only God can.
    David feared God that day; he gained a new sense of reverence for God. I think David must have looked into his own heart and feared that he might not please the Lord. By placing the Ark away from himself and instead with Obededom and his family, I believe he was distancing himself somewhat from God out of confusion and fear.
    David saw that Obededom and his whole house were blessed by God while the Ark was in their presence. I wonder if David realized he no longer wanted any distance from God, that he wanted the blessings God had to offer him, so David moved the Ark closer to himself. I compare this to myself when I sin. I may not yet see some of my sins and sometimes question whether I truly want to see them because it would necessitate a change in my life. It can take me observing how God blesses others who routinely work on overcoming their sins by receiving and making use of the sacraments (especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation) and by their good examples. I want what they seem to have…God’s blessings and grace. Seeing their blessed and grace-filled lives can lead me to pray to the Holy Spirit to illuminate my own sins. When I pray for my sins to be revealed, receive the sacraments often and do my best to repent (change my life), I am essentially moving (the Ark of) God closer to my presence…my heart and soul.

  • God angered when His Ark was being transferred by the oxen Uzzah did wrong in reaching in and touching something so sacred. Back in the earlier books within the Old Testament it was made known that only certain rights of who handles the ark is to be followed. David became so frightened after God struck Uzzah that he left the ark right where it was at until hearing from The Lord ( signs) that it can be moved further only after blessing the house of Obed-Edomite. God is in control and we must believe, trust, and live by his rules not ours.

  • >