David asks this question after Uzzah touches the ark (2 Samuel 6:6-9 and 1 Chronicles 13:9-12). The answer, however, is different in both accounts. Chronicles emphasizes David’s appointment of Levites to carry the ark into the city of David as Moses commanded (1 Chronicles 15:1-15). Samuel emphasizes David’s sacrifices of oxen and fattened animals after every six steps (2 Samuel 6:13).

This difference in solution actually communicates a difference in message. By stating that the answer was appointing the Levites, Chronicles shows that Uzzah’s error was actually about the people’s disobedience of carrying the ark on a cart (cf. Exodus 25:12-14; Numbers 4:1-20). By stating that the answer was sacrificing oxen and fattened animals, Samuel shows that Uzzah’s error was actually about the people’s unholiness before God.

So how could the ark of God come to David? It could only come through obedience to the law of Moses (1 Chronicles) and through consecration (2 Samuel). Praise the Lord that Jesus, our Great High Priest, has accomplished both on our behalf so that we could come boldly before the throne (Heb. 4:14-16)!