I woke up this morning thinking about the concept of 'estrangement' and I began reading the Gospels and a conversation we had at coffee a few weeks ago came to mind. It brought me to 2 Samuel the sixth chapter.
"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
Uzzah got killed because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. David tried to carry the Ark (representing the presence of God) back to Israel incorrectly on a new cart using oxen. The oxen stumbled and Uzzah put out his hand to steady the Ark and got killed.
This tragedy was David's fault. God told Israel how to carry the Ark but David was emotional and got carried away in the moment of zeal.
David was estranged from God for three months.
The correct way to carry the Ark was with two poles. The priests carried the Ark then set it down in the next place.
This brings a couple of things to mind. God wanted human feet touching the ground not wheels. He wanted the presence of God 'suspended in the air' and carried by many people. If one stumbled in would not matter because the others would assume the weight of it for that brief moment.
Secondly, God struck Uzzah down for touching the Ark but He didn't harm David for abandoning the Ark. God just blessed the house of Obed-edom until David noticed the blessing and it dissolved David's fear. David looked in the scripture and found the correct way to bear the presence of God and brought it home again.
I can relate strongly to this account today. That is just how things are in this season of my life.
"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. And when those who bore the ark of the LORD had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal. And David danced before the LORD with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the horn." - 2 Samuel 6:12-15 ESV
I see David in two states in this chapter. I see a David who turns his back respectfully on God and moves on not knowing how to proceed and I see dancing David. I have been both men but this morning I look at the house of Obed-edom and I ponder the blessing that dwells there. That is my blessing. The scriptures must guide my enthusiasm. It can't be all zeal. My zeal can dry up in a moment. I must look to God's ways.
"Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him." - Isaiah 30:18 ESV