And David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord , with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God. And David was angry because the Lord had broken out against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzzah to this day. And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” So David was not willing to take the ark of the Lord into the city of David. But David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. And the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household. And it was told King David, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing.
2 Samuel 6:5-12 ESV
After the incident with Uzzah, where he had assumed his hand was cleaner before the ark of the Lord than the Earth that it may have fallen upon, David felt fear around the idea of letting the ark reside even in the same city as him. This text doesn’t say how Obed-edom became the temporary host of the ark, whether it was at David’s command, or he volunteered, but either way, the Lord blessed his whole household for three months while his presence was there. It wasn’t until seeing the blessing on Obed-edom’s house that David rejoiced with so great a rejoicing that had not been recorded in Scripture until that point, and invited the presence of God into his own city. These were the events that led to David’s writing of Psalm 30, which shows David’s refreshed fear and joy.
If David had not encountered the negative effects of the glory of God, his response to the blessing would’ve been lesser. It is better for my joy, not worse, to consider and behold all of who God is. The beauty and the terror. There’s not a dead body on Earth who died outside of his will. There’s not a soul in heaven or hell that he has not judged. These terrifying truths enhance the glory of God sending his only Son to receive that judgment for us. This is not something I need to forget about God. It gives me the righteous pause, like David, before presumptuously grabbing on to his grace like a sale item in the grocery store. Then it unleashes joy that formerly could not have existed without witnessing his wrath.
Lord, this is a frightening truth to linger on. I’ve seen people, and I’ve known people who have died and probably faced wrath and not grace. But God did not leave this world without hope. He came and took that very wrath on a bloody cross for everyone who believes in Jesus. This blessing that was not expected, not a given, is more valuable to me because you’ve demonstrated that I’m unworthy of the great love you have for me. My joy ultimately increases for the power you display, whether it’s your outstanding power in judgment or your outstanding power in mercy.
This post is part of my Weekly REAP series. I’m posting these from my personal journal to share what God is teaching me, and to give some practical examples of the REAP method. I didn’t write any of these with publishing in mind, so forgive me if they don’t always wax eloquent. Here is some more information on the REAP study method.