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STEADYING THE ARK

From the March 1950 issue of The Christian Science Journal


It is related in the thirteenth chapter of I Chronicles that King David at one time during his reign made preparations for the ark to be brought from Kirjathjearim to Jerusalem. The accustomed method of carrying the ark was to have it borne by certain priests of the Levites. But on this occasion it was carried in a new cart drawn by oxen. The oxen, however, in crossing the threshing floor of Chidon, stumbled, and Uzza, who was driving the cart with Ahio, put out his hand to steady the ark. We read (I Chron. 13:10), "And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark."

Interfering with or treating irreverently what is held to be sacred or secure has sometimes been designated by the phrase "attempting to steady the ark." And this has also come to mean assuming a false sense of responsibility.

"But," someone may say, "we must take the human footsteps necessary to correct error." This is perhaps what Uzza thought when he put out his hand to save the ark from falling. David had set aside the authorized method of transporting the ark when he had it moved by means of a cart and oxen. If the Levites had been carrying the ark supported by poles on their shoulders, there would have been little possibility of its falling. Uzza, as many of the rest of us have done on occasion, found himself seemingly obliged to assume a responsibility which should never have been his. It requires courage and clear sightedness to protect ourselves from becoming involved in such a situation. But if we refuse to accept responsibility for another's error of judgment or action and have the wisdom to cling steadfastly to our God ordained and God-directed sense of the highest right, we bring blessing to all.

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