Posted: January 6, 2016 in When the Wolf Howls
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Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 23

Absalom was seven years old when it happened. That day he had one of the best views, being the king’s son. While David and all the people of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, the cart which carried the Ark, came to the threshing floor of Nacon.

The threshing floor was located near a village, at a point where the winds would be helpful to blow away the husks and leave the heavier grain for making into flour. The bottom of the threshing-floor was the natural rock of the area. During harvest the wheat was tied up into bundles called sheaves. They were scattered onto the threshing-floor about a foot deep all the way around. Then the oxen were driven round and round until the grain was loosened.

The word used for “threshing” was the same word as “ordeal” or “tribulation”. It had the idea of being compressed or crushed.

After the grain was loosened, it would be tossed into the air with wooden shovels. The grain was heavier than the rubbish so it didn’t blow away. The straw was saved and used as fodder for the animals.

This threshing floor was a fairly rocky area. It was no wonder that the cart lost it’s balance. Never-the-less it seemed at that moment that the unbelievable was happening. The precious Ark of God started to fall off the cart in the sight of everyone. Uzzah was walking behind. It all happened so fast and Uzzah knew that he had to do something, but somehow in that split second, time seemed to slow down and as he reached up towards the Ark, he remembered the words of Zadok, the priest. They came to him on wings that fluttered impressions of the original conversation.

“The Ark of the Covenant is God’s throne, a place of judgement. If you were to touch the Ark without the blood of a sacrifice what would God be judging?” Zadok had looked at Uzzah and had obviously expected him to answer this question.

Uzzah looked down and said quietly, “My sin, I suppose.” He had felt uncomfortable when Zadok asked these kinds of questions, but he knew the answers off by heart.

“And what would a righteous and just God have to say about your sin?”

Uzzah again had answered respectfully. “If God is a righteous and just God, He would say that I am guilty.”

“Yes! You have understood well. Now, what penalty would God demand for your sin?”

“DEATH?” said Ahio, interrupting to show that he knew the answers too. His face twisted with a sinister look of glee as he looked at Uzzah, and suddenly Uzzah had shivered. He didn’t know why. A strange foreboding had seemed to come upon him.

Zadok continued, “Yes. Death. That’s why we bring sacrifices to the Tabernacle. A sacrifice is the only way that you can be pronounced ‘not guilty’.”

Now as Uzzah’s hand almost touched the Ark that same strange fear and foreboding came upon him again. He almost pulled his hand away. Was he being superstitious? He remembered how he had stood in the room where the Ark was kept in his house. He refused to be superstitious about the Ark, never-the-less, although he had wanted to open the lid of the box, he had been too afraid to touch it.

Now he could see the alarm in people’s faces as they watched the Ark balance precariously, and he made his decision. He reached out and touched the Ark, and in that place of winnowing and tribulation, God struck him. The shock snapped the life from Uzzah! It left him like a empty husk from the wheat that blew in the wind as it was winnowed. His lifeless body was knocked to the ground as if it were to be discarded. The recoil steadied the cart with a jolt to firmer ground and the Ark did not fall.

Absalom saw his cousin Uzzah struck down. It had looked like a blow from a lightning bolt had pounded into Uzzah’s broken body. He tried to run to Uzzah, but David held him tightly. He was confused as the crowd drew back in astonishment. Some women were screaming as the realisation of Zadok’s words dawned upon Absalom. His voice had became grave and his words all of a sudden seemed to be like fire burning with intense heat being branded upon his mind.

“Now listen to me.” Zadok had said, “Each one of you deserves to die because of your sin. God is a holy God. All of us need atonement. On the day of Atonement, blood from the sacrifice will be sprinkled over the top of the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant and instead of seeing your sin, God will see that the sentence of death has been paid. If you come to the Ark without the blood of a sacrifice then you will end up as the sacrifice, yourself!”

Absalom looked up at his father. David stood with his mouth open and eyes wide in total disbelief. A seed of resentment began to grow in Absalom as he gazed across at his father. Zadok told you not to carry the Ark on a cart. You should have had the Ark carried by priests, not by a cart and cows! he thought. He was sure if he had done as Zadok had requested, then Uzzah would not have been struck down by what appeared to be God’s own sword.


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