Just a couple of weeks ago when I saw several of my friends going back and forth verbally with each other, I thought that maybe they had not read about the killing of Uzzah. One of my friends had touched something he should not have touched.

Many times we lean to our own understanding and leave God out. No matter how right we may be able to reason a step in our mind, if we do not take ourselves out of the equation and replace self with God more time than not we are going to be wrong. Bible readers can bear witness to the example that I will share and those who are not can take the time to read up on the verses from 1 Chronicles 13-14.

David was instructed to bring the coveted Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem where it belonged. The Israelites had lost it in a battle that they were not authorized by God to fight. They got beaten to a pulp and the Ark was taken away from them as well. God gave David instructions about how to get it and return it to the City. When they got it, David instructed his men to build a cart and allow the oxen to draw it, followed by Uzzah and other priestly men.

They traveled a great distance and finally came to a rough place in the road and the oxen stumbled, which caused the cart to tilt and the Ark began to slide off. Uzzah was close by and reached out to catch the Ark to keep it from falling to the ground. Instantly God struck Uzzah dead, and he died right where he stood.

David just stood there looking at what had happened to Uzzah; a good man whom he loved. Anger grew in him immediately. His anger was directly aimed at God. He told the men that he was going to leave it there; they were going to return home without the Ark. Blinded by anger he and the men returned to Jerusalem.

David was known as a man after God’s own heart so, after a while, he got word that Obed-Edom’s house — where the Ark was being kept — was being blessed mightily. David was told that his house would be blessed to the same degree if the Ark were returned. David’s anger toward God had softened. David decided to ask God why did he kill Uzzah when he was doing such a good thing as protecting the Ark.

God told David that there are some things an individual should keep his hand or mouth off. He said, first of all I told you to have the men carry the Ark, but you had them put it on a cart drawn by oxen. You tried to take a short cut to get it done you thought easier. Now this time, when you go to bring the Ark back home, do it my way not your way.

The anger toward God left David’s heart, because he realized that he had allowed self to step in and guide him as he gave the men instructions. He realized that he was doing it David’s way. He promised God that he would not allow selfish ambition to be the driving force on his next trip.

We must all realize that sometimes the easiest, quickest, way is not always God’s way. Many times, the picture is bigger than our finite mind can grasp at the moment. Our best can some time infuriate God and thwart his bigger plan. God never needs our help.

Those of us in my generation are not instructed to lead out on this mission. Maybe we can offer advice or try to give wise counsel if consulted. This new generation is designed for such a time as this. When they cry “The British are coming! The British are coming! Give me liberty or give me death,” they mean it.

What those of us from a different generation and a different mind-set must realize is, our thinking is not in tune with the new generation. God has given them a new assignment, and it must be carried out the way they have been instructed by the Father.

Many of us have played our part in this god-awful situation facing us in this world. This cloud of racial inequality is bigger than each of us individually. Major surgery is necessary. The steps that could have been taken years ago will no longer work. They are outdated and appear to be placating and compromising. The same problems are still present and deeply seated in the hearts of those who cannot see people who are different as equal.

One young lady said to the young people, I applaud you for your courage. Stand strong and seek God’s wisdom and guidance as you take steps to chip away at the deeply embedded racial crust that is engulfing this community. So many Black and Whites are still denying that racism exists because, for them, that denial keeps them in their comfort zone.

Most of us have accepted the crumbs or the scoop of chicken dressing for so long that we think that is the norm. To deny what is prevalent and has crusted over creates a false peace with deep undercurrents. Most of us have had wounds that appear to be healed but are still very sore and need more medicine to heal.

The young man who thought that he could solve the problem with a hug and a handshake wasn’t rebellious or defiant. He was thinking only of the Ark falling to the ground. He was thinking of the earth contaminating the Ark, while God saw that Uzzah contaminated the Ark by touching it. And that cost him his life.

Black people, let me say one thing that I pray you will keep in your heart: This fight has nothing to do with friendship or the lack thereof.

Willie Mae Samuel is a playwright and a director in Rome. She is the founder and director of the African American Connection of the Performing Arts Inc. and a 2020 Heart of the Community Award of Honor recipient.

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