And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God. And David was displeased, because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzza: wherefore that place is called Perezuzza to this day. And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God home to me? - I Chronicles 13:9-12
David had a good plan, and the people were all for it. They wanted to bring the ark of God back to its rightful place, and excitement filled them at this prospect. But when they went forth to carry out their plan, they ignored God's specific instructions for how the ark should be dealt with and transported. There was a protocol. There were rules of respect. But in his haste and excitement, David decided to do things his way--the easier way. After all, God's way involved carrying the ark with staves, which meant it had to be transported on foot. David's plan involved a cart, a much faster means of transportation.
But God didn't approve of David's plan, and when Uzza innocently reached out to steady the ark on the shaky cart, God killed him. I realize it seems harsh, but from God's viewpoint, it was just. David didn't agree. Notice his anger towards God and then his little temper tantrum. "Well, now how I am supposed to get the ark back? I want it! Why won't God let me have it?"
The truly sad part is that David knew the answer to his question all along. How was he supposed to bring the ark back? The way God had instructed from the beginning. David should have known that, and I believe he did. But David acted in the same way we often do. He was so excited to do the right thing that he went about it in the wrong way, and in his case, it cost a man his life.
David acted in his own strength and his own understanding. Instead of doing what he knew to be right, he did what was easy. He probably figured, "What difference does it make?" What difference, David? Why don't you ask Uzza? Oh wait, you can't. He's dead!
God doesn't like being ignored. He doesn't give us commandments so that we can simply turn around and do whatever we want. He has given us specific instructions on how to live our lives, and He expects us to obey. No, it won't always make sense. In fact, most times, it won't. And no, it won't be easy. But doing a right thing in a wrong way is no better than not doing the right thing at all. Why must we complicate things? We have our orders. Why is it so hard to do what the old hymn states and "trust and obey"?
Doing the right thing is good. Doing the right thing in the right way is better. Let's make an effort to please God today by following His directions without fail. When David finally did, there was rejoicing. The same is awaiting us.