On Friday night, I finally understood the story of Uzzah in 2 Samuel 6.
But it took getting burnt.
You know the story of Uzzah? He and his brother were guiding an oxcart with the ark of the covenant on it from where it didn’t belong to where it did belong.
The oxen stumbled, Uzzah reached out to steady the ark, and the Lord killed him for touching it.
I read that story to my boys at bedtime a couple of weeks ago, and they weren’t too sure that the Lord had done justly! Wasn’t Uzzah’s heart in the right place?
On Friday night, my boys and I emptied the ash out of our woodburning furnace outside in a light drizzly snow. I had almost 3 aluminum trash cans full of ash that needed to be dug out to make room for more wood in the firebox.
(Can you see where this story is going?)
My normal approach is to fill a trash can with hot ashes with a spade, lift the can into my wheelbarrow and then run it behind my shed to dump the ashes.
The first load worked like usual, but the oxen (me) stumbled on the second load and the trashcan began to tip in exactly the wrong place.
So, I reached out to steady it.
There was a hole in my glove on the left palm. Guess where I now have a 1st degree burn?
My immediate thought was , “I shouldn’t have been playing with fire.” (After “Ouch!!!!”)
My mind also went right to Uzzah.
The Lord had been perfectly clear about how the ark was to be transported, and Uzzah and company (led by King David) knew better. They were already playing with fire when Uzzah reached out to touch that holy object.
No wonder he got burnt–he was playing with fire.
Just because the Lord is amazingly gracious and richly merciful does not give us license to live however we please. God is holy, holy, holy, and His followers would be wise to remember it all of the time.
I hope I’ve had that lesson burnt into me.