God’s Saving Word: Praise and Thanksgiving
1 Chronicles 13:1-14: The Covenant Box had been in Kiriath Jearim for about twenty years (see 1 Samuel 7:2). David makes arrangements to bring the Covenant Box to Jerusalem. Uzzah, one of the men chosen to guide the cart on which the Covenant Box is placed, touches the Box to prevent it from falling and is struck dead. Out of fear, David decides to leave the Covenant Box at the home of Obed Edom in the city of Gath.
The Covenant Box Is Moved from Kiriath Jearim
13 King David consulted with all the officers in command of units of a thousand men and units of a hundred men. 2 Then he announced to all the people of Israel, “If you give your approval and if it is the will of the Lord our God, let us send messengers to the rest of our people and to the priests and Levites in their towns, and tell them to assemble here with us. 3 Then we will go and get God’s Covenant Box, which was ignored while Saul was king.” 4 The people were pleased with the suggestion and agreed to it.
5 So David assembled the people of Israel from all over the country, from the Egyptian border in the south to Hamath Pass in the north, in order to bring the Covenant Box from Kiriath Jearim to Jerusalem. 6 David and the people went to the city of Baalah, that is, to Kiriath Jearim, in the territory of Judah, to get the Covenant Box of God, which bears the name of the Lord enthroned above the winged creatures. 7 At Abinadab’s house they brought out the Covenant Box and put it on a new cart. Uzzah and Ahio guided the cart, 8 while David and all the people danced with all their might to honor God. They sang and played musical instruments—harps, drums, cymbals, and trumpets.
9 As they came to the threshing place of Chidon, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out and took hold of the Covenant Box. 10 At once the Lord became angry with Uzzah and killed him for touching the Box. He died there in God’s presence, 11 and so that place has been called Perez Uzzah[a] ever since. David was furious because the Lord had punished Uzzah in anger.
12 Then David was afraid of God and said, “How can I take the Covenant Box with me now?” 13 So David did not take it with him to Jerusalem. Instead, he left it at the house of a man named Obed Edom, a native of the city of Gath. 14 It stayed there three months, and the Lord blessed Obed Edom’s family and everything that belonged to him.
Today’s Key Verse: 1 Chronicles 13:8a
David and all the people danced with all their might to honor God.
The Covenant Box was holy, and only the Levite priests were allowed to move it. They had to carry the Box on poles on their shoulders, and the poles were inserted in rings along the sides of the Box. Thus, Uzzah’s touching the Covenant Box was considered a grave transgression. Although Uzzah’s intentions were probably good, he was not a Levite and should not have touched the Box. Was David at fault for not arranging for Levite priests to guide the cart? Why or why not? What is your reaction to God’s punishment of Uzzah?
Sovereign God, your name is holy and I revere your sacred name. May all I do and say this day give glory and honor to you. Amen.
1 Chronicles 15:1-24: King David prepares to bring the Covenant Box to Jerusalem.