The Only Logical Response to God’s Presence

Let’s say there was a person in possession of something of the utmost value, perhaps a personalized autographed photo of the greatest actor of our generation—Nic Cage, of course. Despite being cautioned to put the autograph in a protective sleeve, the owner ignores this advice and allows others to admire it in its vulnerable state. (It makes me sick even writing that out.) At first glance, this may not seem like a huge issue. But over time, the oils from fingerprints would leave smudges and dirt behind, marring the once pristine image and degrading its worth.

A similar thing happened in the Bible, except the stakes were much, much higher—life or death. In 2 Samuel 6, Uzzah is part of the group moving the Ark of the Covenant from one place to another. God had given specific instructions not to touch the ark and a way to transport it that would make touching it an impossibility (Exodus 25).

As with most humans, Uzzah and his crew thought they had a better way. Instead of using rods to lift the ark, they used a cart with oxen. It worked for the Philistines; why not for Israel? And when the oxen stumbled on their journey, the ark tipped. Naturally, Uzzah reached out to stabilize it, but in doing so, he went against what God had commanded.

God struck him down. Why? Because Uzzah was ignorant of his own sinfulness. He operated according to the misconception that his hand was cleaner than the ground that the ark would touch. R.C. Sproul once said, “​​The dirt had never rebelled against the authority of God; only sinful man had done that. It wasn’t the dirt on the ground that would defile the ark; it was the touch of man that would.”

When Uzzah was in the presence of God he tried to protect its worth, not revere it.

In contrast, a few verses later, there’s redemption. God gives David a message that his intention is to bless, rekindling David’s faith as he relocates the ark once again, but in a way that honors God. Afterward, David worships—the only logical response to being in God’s presence.


Verse 14 reads, “And David danced before the LORD with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod” (ESV). After all, what else do you do before a God who has saved your life like this? The story continues with David and the house of Israel shouting and sounding the horn in a way that seemed foolish to those looking on.

David says, “It was before the LORD, who chose me above your father, and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the LORD—and I will make merry before the LORD. I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes. But by the female servants of whom you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor” (vv. 21–22).

Similarly, Jesus once had a woman who came in to him while he was eating and began to weep and wash his feet with her hair. A lot of religious bystanders objected that this was inappropriate, undignified even. Jesus’ response: “Those who are forgiven much, love much” (Luke 7:47).

This is the essence of worship—putting the worthiness of God on display. When you worship, you declare the object of your worship’s worth to others.

If you’re walking into church late, coffee cup in hand, mumbling the words of whatever song is being sung, and scrolling on your phone, what is your worship (if you can call it that) telling others about the value of God to you?

What does your worship communicate to others? Do they see your joy in God, and how valuable he is to you?