Have you ever wondered?
Why did God strike Uzzah dead for touching the Ark of the Covenant?
The story of Uzzah and the Ark of the Covenant is found in 2 Samuel 6:1-7 and 1 Chronicles 13:9-12. As the ark was being transported, the oxen pulling the cart stumbled, and a man named Uzzah took hold of the ark. God’s anger burned against Uzzah and He struck him down and he died. Uzzah’s punishment does appear to be extreme for what we might consider to be a good deed. However, there are the reasons why God took such severe action. First, God had given Moses and Aaron specific instructions about the Tent of Meeting and the movement of the Ark of the Covenant (Num. 4:15). No matter how innocently it was done, touching the ark was in direct violation of God’s law and was to result in death. This was a means of preserving the sense of God’s holiness and the fear of drawing near to Him without appropriate preparation. Second, the ark had stayed for a period of time at Abinadab’s house (2 Sam.6:3), where his sons, Uzzah and Ahio, may well have become accustomed to its presence. There’s an old saying, “familiarity breeds contempt,” that could apply in this case. Uzzah, having been around the ark in his own home, could very likely forget the holiness that it represented. There are times when we, too, fail to recognize the holiness of God, becoming too familiar with Him with an irreverent attitude. Third, the account tells us the oxen stumbled. The cart didn’t fall and neither did the Ark, just as the boat carrying Jesus and the disciples rocked fiercely in the storm, though it wasn’t necessarily in danger of sinking (Matthew 8:24-27). And yet, just as with the disciples who failed to put their faith in their Master, Uzzah, for a moment, felt it was his responsibility to save the integrity of God, and that our almighty God somehow needed Uzzah’s assistance. Something of God’s presence in the Ark of the Covenant seems to be lost in the church today. In the time of Moses, the people knew the awesomeness of God’s absolute holiness. They had witnessed great miracles when the ark was with them. They respected that God’s ways and thoughts are much higher than ours (Is.55:8-9). In truth, the more we try to bring God down to our worldly way of thinking or reasoning, the further away He will seem to us. Those who would draw near to God and have Him draw near to them are those who approach Him in reverence and holy fear. Uzzah forgot that lesson, and the consequences were tragic.