In First Chronicles thirteen, we first have a leadership lesson. David gathers his leaders and consults with them about his idea. He gets them on board; this is something for everyone to get involved in. He asks them if it seems good to them, if they believed it was from the Lord. They all agree.
They are going to bring up the Ark of the Covenant. God, of course, can’t be held in a box. God is described here as sitting enthroned above the cherubim. But, the Ark is where His mercy seat is, what represented His presence among them. It was a holy thing, set apart. It was never supposed to be on a cart.
Why did none of the priests, none of the Levites tell David how the Ark was supposed to be transported? I suppose David didn’t inquire or he would have done it differently.
The ark was to be transported by very long poles, keeping everyone at a distance from the Ark. It’s not a little thing to come into God’s presence.
Uzzah thinks he’s doing a good thing trying to protect the Ark when he reaches out to stabilize it. He dies for it. It was dishonoring to think God needed protecting, but it was also a violation of God’s holiness. He must be set apart.
That was the power of the cross. It made us able to enter into God’s presence. We are told repeatedly we can enter boldly, with confidence.
We were given bold confidence because it’s supposed to take bold confidence to enter God’s presence. We’re to have the fear of the Lord. This is the God who must strike dead anyone who comes unbidden into His presence.
We see also in the story the blessing of God’s presence. Having His presence with us automatically produces blessing in our lives. But we need to not let the knowledge of the blessing of His presence cause us to forget the fearsomeness of His presence, His utter holiness, the amazing gift of access to God.
Our response to God’s presence should be one of rejoicing, yes, but also of humble gratitude.