Summary: We must never presume upon the grace and mercy of God. He will not hold us guiltless if we presume upon Him.
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Pastor James May
2 Samuel 6:1-7, "Again, David gathered together all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims. And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart. And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark. And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals. And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God."
2 Samuel 6:9-12, "And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and said, How shall the ark of the LORD come to me? So David would not remove the ark of the LORD unto him into the city of David: but David carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite. And the ark of the LORD continued in the house of Obededom the Gittite three months: and the LORD blessed Obededom, and all his household."
This familiar story contains one of the greatest warnings that God has given in His Word against presuming to become too familiar with the sacred things of God.
The Philistine Army had conquered Israel under the command of King Saul and taken away the Ark of the Covenant as a spoil of war. It was as though the light had gone out in Israel for the Ark of the Covenant was the physical connection with the very presence of God in the midst of the people.
King Saul had failed miserably as the King of Israel and had been slain on the field of battle by one of his own men. Fearing that a worse fate would befall him if he were to fall into the hands of the Philistines, Saul had requested that one of his own soldiers would kill him. Saul had already been greatly wounded and could not escape. He had brought judgment upon himself because he had relied upon the word of the Witch of Endor more than the Word of God. The Philistine Army didn’t know what to do with the Ark of the Covenant but they recognized that it carried with it a power greater than they could handle.
According to 1 Samuel chapter 7, the Ark was placed in the Temple of Dagon, the Philistine god next to a statue of Dagon. For several days, the priests of the Philistine temple would walk in to find that their statue to Dagon had fallen on its face before the Ark of the Covenant. When they walked in the third day and found the head and hands of Dagon cut off, they finally figured out that this Ark was no ordinary golden box and had a lengthy discussion over what to do with it. The people of the city of Ashdod were smitten with “emerods” or severe cases of hemorrhoids and they wanted the Ark out of the city so they sent it away.
They brought it to the city of Gath and again, God struck the inhabitants of that city with “emerods” so that many of them died. Then they sent the Ark to the city of Eckron, but before it entered the city, the people of that city convinced the Philistines to send the Ark of the Covenant back to Israel with an offering of peace to rid themselves of the plague.