THE JIST – Outbursts

David becomes king over Israel, having ruled Judah earlier. He solidifies his kingdom by taking Jerusalem, held until now by the Jebusites. He defeats the Philistines twice when they come up against him.

After his first victory over them, David declares, “The Lord has burst out against my enemies like water bursts out.” With that metaphor in mind, he calls the battlefield Baal-Perazim, which means “The Lord of the outbursts” (2Sm 5:20). Apparently, the defeat of the Philistines was so sudden and drastic that they abandoned their idols on the field (v. 21).

But soon David learns that the Lord of the Outbursts can break out against his own people when they presume upon his good graces. When he decides to bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem, he loads it onto a new cart to carry it (2Sm 6:3). The law had specified that the Levites were to carry it on poles and that it was not to be touched. Either this law was considered unimportant or David and his people were ignorant of it.

Whatever the case, when the oxen pulling the cart stumbled, Uzzah “reached out and grabbed hold of the ark of God” (v. 6). His intention was to steady the ark,so it wouldn’t fall. But God was angered by the action, for it represented a profaning of one of the most sacred things in Israel. So “he killed him on the spot for his negligence. He died right there beside the ark of God” (v. 7).

What Uzzah considered zeal and concern for God’s ark was actually negligence, because neither he nor anyone else that day bothered to consult the Lord about how to transport the ark.

The Lord’s action was so sudden (“on the spot”) and drastic that David was angered by it and called the place Perez-Uzzah (v. 8). The name means “the outburst [against] Uzzah.”

The same God who burst out against the enemies of Israel like water bursts out from a spring did not hesitate to burst out against a son of Abinadab in Judah. Just because Uzzah was an Israelite did not give him immunity from obeying the commandments of God. On the contrary, he should have know better and was thus held responsible for his action.

DETAILS – Where and When

Shortly before his betrayal, Jesus attempts to explain to his followers that he must go away. They cannot come now. In the ensuing dialog, there are questions. Why not now? Where are you going? How can we know the way? How can we see the Father?

Jesus explains. And with the explanation, he urges them to trust him (Jn 14:2). Even when explanations lack or we don’t understand them, trust is still the key.

Because we know that Jesus’ goal is to glorify the Father and give us the means whereby we may do the same.

Christians must not presume that God will overlook disobedience or ignorance, when he was spoken his will to them. Negligence of knowing his word or disregard of his commandments will bring judgment from the Lord of the Outbursts.

Lord, the psalmist’s prayer is also mine: “Open my eyes so I can truly see the marvelous things in your law!” I know that Jesus is my light. In Him, Amen.

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

What do you think?