"When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God. Then David was angry because the Lord’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah. David was afraid of the Lord that day and said, “How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?” 2 Sam. 6:6-9, NIV
We have been made children of God through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. He has opened the door for us into the Father's presence. We can rejoice and celebrate in our new relationship…a relationship that we were designed for. This is a glorious reality for all who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
But sometimes we lose a holy fear and respect for the holiness of God. We become careless or flippant. We take sin casually. We think we can do anything without consequences because we are children of God. A natural family does not run like that…and God's family certainly does not. The holiness of God must be respected.
In 2 Samuel we see Uzzah dying for impulsively and even unintentionally violating the holiness of God. The Ark of God was being transported to Jerusalem with great rejoicing and celebration. But they had been careless. God had instructed the Ark to be carried by priests…they had put in in the back of an ox cart - copying the heathen. When the oxen stumbled it looked like the Ark might slip out. Uzzah tried to steady it. He touched the Ark. He died. No one touches the glory and holiness of God. No one.
While we are children of God, we cannot be careless of His holiness. We should respect it even more, yet often we would pay more attention and honor in a courtroom or in the presence of a government official than we do in the presence of the King of kings including in His physical buildings - churches. For example, would we let our children run around in a courtroom? Would we be whispering or playing games on our phones if we were in the presence of the Queen of England? How much greater is our God?
Now some will say: "That's all Old Testament judgment stuff. It's not like that in the New Testament." Really? Remember Ananias and Sapphria [Acts 5]? What about Paul in 2 Cor. 11 mentioning that some Christians were sick and others had died because they did not respect the Communion Table? God does not change. He is just as holy now as He was in the Old Testament. We do not want to lose the closeness of intimate family relationship with God, but, at the same time, we need to have a healthy fear and respect for Who He is.
Notice David's reaction. First he was angry. He thought God was unjust. Uzzah had just been trying to help. But we cannot do evil in order to do good. We cannot disobey even if our intentions are right. Disobedience is as rebellion and witchcraft, no exceptions.
Then David was afraid. He saw that as much as he was in love with God, he could not take advantage of that relationship. He could not abuse God because he was family. Uzzah's death was partly his fault. He had not followed the proper procedure in transporting the Ark. He had assumed [and presumed] that God would honor his intentions even if he was careless in the details. He had thought that praise, worship, excitement and joy could replace obedience. He was wrong.
We need a balance. We DO need to see God as our loving heavenly Father, which He is to all genuine Christians. However, we also need a healthy fear and respect for Who He is. We need to see that He does not excuse disobedience and "sloppy" living.