“For because you did not do it the first time, the LORD our God broke out against us, because we did not consult Him about the proper order.”
King David’s instructions to the Levites here came in the context of a sad incident in Israel’s history. The story of the death of Uzza is one of the most troubling in the Bible. Even David, a man after God’s own heart, was angry and confused and afraid of God because of God’s wrath against Uzza.
What did Uzza do? He was following the Ark of the Covenant, which David was having transported to Jerusalem on an ox cart. When the oxen stumbled, Uzza touched the sacred Ark of God, trying to steady it (1 Chronicles 13:7-11).
In 1 Chronicles 15:13 we see the end of the story. David had studied God’s Word and now realized that he had been careless and had disobeyed God’s commands about how the Ark of the Covenant was to be transported. God clearly commanded that it was to be carried by the Levites by poles so they would not touch it (Numbers 4:15). It was not to be carried on an ox cart. As a representation of the very throne of God, it was too holy for people to touch.
So this time David did it right. He told the Levites to carry the Ark exactly as God had commanded through Moses. The Ark of the Covenant was then brought to Jerusalem with great rejoicing (1 Chronicles 15:25).
Read more about this incident in “The Death of Uzza: Was God Unfair?” For more about the need to study God’s Word carefully, see the section on “The Practical and Priceless Benefits of Bible Study.”