From 1 Chronicles 15-17
1 Chr 15.1-29; David; The Ark Brought to Jerusalem
1 Chr 16.1-7; David; The Ark Placed in a Tent
1 Chr 16.8-36; David; David’s Song of Thanks
1 Chr 16.37-43; David; Worship Before the Ark
1 Chr 17.1-15; David; The LORD’s Covenant with David
1 Chr 17.16-27; David; David’s Prayer
Passage and Comments
Once David's reign had been established he attempted to bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. But he did not consider the appropriate way to do it. While on the journey the oxen carrying the ark stumbled and the ark slipped. A man named Uzzah was helping the cart along. He put out his hand to steady it. He was not permitted to touch the ark, only priests were (Num 4.15). But, he presumed he could. When he touched the ark the LORD put him to death.
David was afraid, so he left the ark at the house of Obed-edom the Gittite and the LORD blessed the household. The following passage describes David's second attempt to bring the ark to Jerusalem.
15 David built houses for himself in the city of David. And he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. 2 Then David said that no one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, for the LORD had chosen them to carry the ark of the LORD and to minister to him forever. (1 Chr 15.1-2)
This time David was more prepared. He makes sure the right people carry the ark of God in the specified manner. He did presume that anyone could carry it. The LORD has specified the correct manner, all other ways would result in death.
3 And David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the LORD to its place, which he had prepared for it. 4 And David gathered together the sons of Aaron and the Levites: 5 of the sons of Kohath, Uriel the chief, with 120 of his brothers; 6 of the sons of Merari, Asaiah the chief, with 220 of his brothers; 7 of the sons of Gershom, Joel the chief, with 130 of his brothers; 8 of the sons of Elizaphan, Shemaiah the chief, with 200 of his brothers; 9 of the sons of Hebron, Eliel the chief, with 80 of his brothers; 10 of the sons of Uzziel, Amminadab the chief, with 112 of his brothers. (1 Chr 15.3-10)
David, much more prepared this time assembles a large entourage for the ark.
11 Then David summoned the priests Zadok and Abiathar, and the Levites Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab, 12 and said to them, “You are the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites. Consecrate yourselves, you and your brothers, so that you may bring up the ark of the LORD, the God of Israel, to the place that I have prepared for it. 13 Because you did not carry it the first time, the LORD our God broke out against us, because we did not seek him according to the rule.” (1 Chr 15.11-13)
David follows the rule Moses passed on for transporting the ark. Note these people did not carry the ark in the first attempt. David makes sure the levites carrying the ark are consecrated for the task. Ritually clean, dressed appropriately and set apart.
14 So the priests and the Levites consecrated themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD, the God of Israel. 15 And the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the LORD. (1 Chr 15.14-15)
All in all, the rules specified to carry the ark of God are;
Levites must carry it,
The Levites must be consecrated, and
They must carry it with the appropriate poles.
They couldn't simply use any manner they wanted to transport it. The LORD had given them instructions and they had to obey them. Or die.
Story of Israel
Throughout the Old Testament Israel continued to try and worship in less than desirable means. Many if not all of these instances were met with the LORD's anger.
After their exodus from Egypt they bowed down to a golden calf (Ex 32). They constantly made idols to worship God by. When Jeroboam split from Rehoboam he made calfs for Israel to worship lest his people return to Israel. They put male cult prostitutes in the temple. Many kings installed asherah poles around Israel for their worship. The list goes on.
They seemed to think the LORD was not serious when he specified one way above all others as the appropriate way to approach him. And in various aspects of worship one correct way to deal with him.
The example above is one example where they learned from the LORD he was serious. That he should be respected and glorified.
Story of Jesus
Jesus made some serious claims about himself that prevent people from thinking there is any other way from approaching the Father, except through him.
14 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (Jn 14.1-6)
His statement is couched in assurance. After he dies and is raised to life he will prepare a place for those who believe in him. Thomas asks how will they know the way to the place Jesus will prepare for them. Jesus replies he is the way. There is no other way.
The LORD specified a rule by which the levites were to carry the ark about. He was serious and Uzzah died when they neglected his instruction and presumed upon their own way.
Keep abiding in Jesus, he is the only way to the father and the place he is preparing for us.