1 Chronicles 13
There is a powerful lesson for modern believers in the death of Uzzah.
Believers today often equate sincerity with godliness. We mistakenly believe that if we believe something strongly enough and devoutly enough, that is sufficient. The world tells us that whatever you might believe, if you are sincere in that belief and faithful to that belief, it is enough.
God’s Word tells us it is not.
David was sincere in wanting to worship God. He was sincere in desiring to honor God by bringing the ark to Jerusalem. As he and all the Israelites celebrated and danced before the Lord, making music with various instruments, they did so without considering God’s instructions regarding the ark.
Just as God has prescribed for us rules for living, He had prescribed rules for handling the ark, and David, Uzzah, and the other Israelites were not following His instructions.
God had designed the ark to be carried with gold-overlayed poles through the gold-overlayed rings on the shoulders of a particular branch of the Levitical priests. When the ark crossed the Jordan River, it was on the shoulders of priests. When the Israelites marched around Jericho until the walls crumbled, the ark was on the Levites’ shoulders. When the ark preceded them into battle, it was on the shoulders of the priests.
But when David wanted to bring the ark to Jerusalem, they loaded in on a cart pulled by oxen. Unsurprisingly, when the oxen encountered an area of rough terrain, they stumbled and threatened to dump the ark onto the ground.
Uzzah responded out of instinct, reaching to steady the ark, but his instinct displayed no reverence for the ark as the place where God’s Spirit was to dwell between the cherubim. He reached up just as he might have to steady a load of barley.
Our sincerity does not free us to worship God in any manner we choose. It doesn’t give us the freedom to live our lives as we choose, without regard for God’s standards. We can sincerely believe and be truly, devoutly, and sincerely wrong.
God did not say, “Whosoever believes in whatever they believe in with great sincerity shall be saved.” Instead, Jesus told His disciples in John 10:9, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.”