If you have time, read 1 Chronicles 13.
It’s one of those painful stories in the Bible when God seems harsh. A man died because he touched the ark of God while moving it back to Jerusalem.
His name was Uzzah.
He was David’s friend, and when he died, David got mad at God.
The Bible says that David became afraid of God.
This encourages me. David, “the man after God’s own heart” experienced the same emotions I did when I lost someone I loved.
Fear of God.
I remember not being able to pray or listen to worship music. God seemed aloof, unattainable, and friendship with Him no longer appeared true. It was the worst and most uncomfortable three months of my life.
After his friend Uzzah died, David stopped trying to move the ark of the God back to Jerusalem. He dropped it off at someone else’s house. “The ark of God remained with the family of Obed-Edom in his house for three months, and the Lord blessed his household and everything he had” (1 Chron. 13:14).
Just like me.
But during those three months, despite David’s grief and confusion, God never left him. The ark of God, also known as the Ark of the Covenant, represented God’s presence. But David did not bring the symbol of God’s presence back with him.
Despite this hiccup in their relationship, God’s plans prevailed. The Bible tells us, “And David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel and that his kingdom had been highly exalted for the sake of the people of Israel” (1 Chron. 14:2).
So David began to make Jerusalem his home. He built a house and grew a family. And fought more battles for God even though the ark of God, the symbol of His presence wasn’t with David.
This is the good part–the part that stirs my heart. Despite David’s anger at God when Uzzah died, and his fear of God, it wasn’t long before God and David were fighting battles together again. In chapter 14 the Philistines raided the valley; so David asked God for advice.
God instructed him, “Do not go straight up, but circle around them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move into battle, because that will mean God has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.”
And that’s what happened.
After that victory, David went home and prepared a place for the ark of God. He then told his men that they would bring the ark back, but they would do it as God instructed Moses.
The ark was brought home with much celebration and joy. David danced. And in the next chapter we read his psalm of thanks and praise to God.
David sang, “Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always” (1Chron. 16:11).
Notice the word “LORD” is all capitals. It’s written like this because it’s translated from the word “YHWH” which is the holiest name for God. It’s His covenant name. A name so ancient and reverenced, the Jews did not pronounce it.
With great wisdom David proclaims to look toward YWHW and His strength. David sought God’s advice and power in the battle against the Philistines.
“Seek his face always.”
The word “face” comes from a Hebrew word that can mean “presence”. Perhaps it is easier for us to think of seeking His presence rather than his face.
And then David says to seek God’s presence “always” or tamiyd. This Hebrew word means: continually, perpetually, daily (both morning and evening), always, at all times, without interruption, regularly. (Key Word)
Did David learn a great lesson about God when Uzzah died? Yes. He learned two important things that will benefit us too.
1. God is Holy, and we must ask Him how He wants us to do His work everyday.
2. God will never leave us or forsake us, even when we’ve messed up or try to distance ourselves from Him.
Has there been a time in your life when you were mad at God? How long was it before you realized He was still with you?
Maybe you’re hurting and angry with God now, if so, please know you aren’t alone. Many of us have experienced such pain and grief . . . even the man after God’s own heart. May I pray for you?
“YHWH thank you for being the covenant God who promises to never leave us or forsake us even when we are angry with you and feel distant from your presence. Thank you that you desire to partner with us on this earth to fight our battles. Help us take time to seek your presence daily and always ask for your wisdom, your plan. Lord, I pray for those who are grieving today. I pray this word gives them hope and one day soon they will dance. In Jesus, amen.”
With His purpose,
My brother died in a hiking accident almost two weeks ago. He was looking for help for three other members of my family who all ended up med-evac’d after help was called for.
I’m going through a 1 Chronicles 13 season.
Ryan, I am so sorry. I will be praying for you. Don’t stop talking to God. Keep wrestling with Him about this tragedy. He loves you. He loves your brother and family. And you may not be able to feel Him, but He is with you. Praying you find a sign of hope today. -Andy
[…] do we pray if it doesn’t make a difference?!” I yelled to the sky. (Just keeping it real.) It’s okay to be upset with God and ask questions. Didn’t Mary of Bethany throw herself down at Jesus’s feet and ask why He […]
Dear Andy, I was touched today when I read your aurdical. I’ve been made at God of and on now for close to two years now. My beautiful son Joshua, killed himself
in front of me May 8th, 2019. How could a loving God bring such a loving child into this world to have him kill his self at the 24yrs. Josh’s life had many sad trials to induer, to many to explain now. But I struggle with God sending this beautiful soul to hell, when he created him knowing the end of his life. I’m 67 now and have served God sence the age of 14 when he
wonderfully saved me from drug addiction. Now I’m old and carry this pain each day. I just struggle with not seeing my heavenly Father
as a cruel Father. 45min. before my son shot himself he said Mom I’ve found God. I don’t understand, sometimes I feel like we’re all pones in a script of God’s making. God bless! Marlee Graham.
Dear Marlee, I’m so sorry for your loss. I will be praying for you! I pray that one day the Lord will comfort and heal your heart. Pray to trust that he is good no matter what. Thank you for sharing!
Marlee… my heart goes out to you.
You are not alone. I don’t have answers but one day, we will not ask “why?”
[…] we pray if it doesn’t make a difference?!” I yelled to the sky. (Just keeping it real.) It’s okay to be mad at God and ask questions. Didn’t Mary of Bethany throw herself down at Jesus’s feet and ask […]
Thank you so very much for this !
I too was angry at God for taking away something I loved very much and something that loved me back with pure and true love for the first time in my life
I was distraught for months !
It’s been a year an a half,
I know God is always with me , but I felt guilty for being angry at Him
So thank you for this !
God Bless You !
Dear Tracey, God loves you so much. So glad this helped. Thanks for stopping by.