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The Danger of Good Intentions

"God is holy, and we must fear and obey him."

As the shepherd of God’s people, King David is committed to charting a new direction in Israel. His desire, in contrast to Saul’s (1 Chron. 13:3), is for Israel to depend on the Lord and be faithful to him. David longs for the presence of God to be among his people. That’s the setting of 2 Samuel 6. David is transporting the ark of the covenant, the symbol of God’s presence (Exod. 25:22), to Jerusalem (6:1-5). At one point along the way Huzzah reached out to stabilize the ark when the oxen carrying it stumbled. As a result, “the Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and God struck him dead on the spot for his irreverence, and he died there next to the ark of God” (6:7). What might seem like an overreaction by God on the surface was actually a direct violation of his commands for transporting the ark given in passages like Numbers 4 (see esp. v. 15). There is a sobering reminder in this text that Rodney brought to our attention: God is holy, and we must fear and obey him. Good intentions are not enough. This passage highlights the tragic consequences of not following God’s prescribed methods of worship. The law was both a gift and a burden to Israel, a burden they could not ultimately bear. In Galatians 3, Paul explains that it is impossible for anyone to keep the law perfectly and earn a right standing with God. The only way to be made right with God is through faith in Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life and took the punishment for our sins on the cross. The law is too much, but Jesus is enough to set us free and give us life. When the ark of the Covenant eventually made its way to Jerusalem (6:12-19), it was cause for great celebration. Not everyone was happy, however. David’s wife Michael despises him for dancing before the Lord. She questions his intentions and criticizes him for exposing himself before the slave girls of his subjects like a vulgar person would. It appears that Michael as “Saul’s daughter” (6:20) is replicating her father’s mistakes and rejecting God and what he is promising and doing through David. One day Jesus would come as “the son of David” (Matt. 1:1)—the fulfillment of God’s promise to David in chapter 7. Through his broken body and shed blood he would defeat sin and death. Turn to him for salvation. And if you are trusting in him, confess your disobedience (even if well-intentioned), and live under his grace and by his power today. Reflection

  • Reflect on the incident involving Uzzah and the consequences of his irreverence towards the ark. How does this event remind us of God's holiness and the importance of fearing and obeying Him? (2 Samuel 6:7; Numbers 4:15) How can we apply this understanding of God's holiness in our worship and daily lives?

  • Think about practical steps you can take to ensure that your good intentions are aligned with obedience to God. How can you seek wisdom from His Word, pray for discernment, and seek accountability in your decision-making process? (Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 3:5-6) How can you actively pursue obedience in all areas of your life?

  • Consider the implications of David's example for our church community. How can we collectively examine our intentions and actions to ensure they align with God's commands? How can we foster an environment where we can lovingly challenge and support one another to walk in obedience?

  • Explore the significance of the celebration when the ark of the covenant arrives in Jerusalem. Why do you think David's wife, Michal, despised his actions and criticized him? (2 Samuel 6:20) How can we learn from Michal's response and avoid rejecting God's work in our lives and the lives of others?


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