Uzzah’s Fatal Touch

I would have stopped the Ark of the Covenant from falling on the ground.

And I would have perished for it.

There are times I think of ​​Uzzah in Scripture and consider the severity of something that seemed so innocent. 1 Chronicles 13:9-10 reads, “And when they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzzah put out his hand to take hold of the ark, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark, and he died there before God.” 

If you really think about it, stopping the ark from falling would be a normal act, just a quick response that might not even be thought about. By nature, we stop things from falling all the time. Even things that are common, like a cheap vase, we are inclined to stop from falling just by design of our reflexes. I can assure you that if the $2 item I got in the Target bin was about to fall, I would definitely put my hands out to prevent it. It would be a normal and common thing to do. I wouldn’t even think about it. 

And that is the problem with Uzzah….it’s also the problem we face when we think about God.

There was nothing common about what Uzzah touched. There was nothing normal about what he did.

Not because of the act, rather it was because of the One the act was against.

I have come to see that we overwhelmingly don’t consider God the way that we should. We have lost sight of His holiness and seem to be removed from His attributes…even in the church.

As human beings, there is no real place for us to comprehend God…not fully. He is far beyond our ability to understand Him. So instead we make these idols everywhere of palatable gods that we can measure, know and contain…Or better yet, control.

But if a mere touch, a relatively good deed, caused the death of someone before God…what does that say about our sin and fallen condition before Him? What does that say about His power and greatness? His holiness?

I know that if anywhere in Scripture, this verse should make us all tremble. Even as believers, we are never called to forget who God is compared to us. We should never presume upon His mercy and grace…what a dangerous thing to do. I imagine Uzzah presumed He could touch the ark to steady it. He found out very quickly, the danger of doing so.

As believers we presume that we can live however we want to. But we can’t.

Because our God is a consuming fire. 

And He calls us to be holy because He is holy!

R.C. Sproul does a great job with this part in biblical history with his book, The Holiness of God. It really helped me understand how such a simple act necessitated death. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to even try to understand God’s holiness.

As for me, I often forget about the tremendous evil of my sin. Sadly, my sin can become common enough that it dulls its reality in my conscience. I presume upon the Lord’s grace. That’s why I am so thankful for God’s grace. It is a balm to my soul and speaks hope to my heart.

Have you ever been there before? Maybe you are there now!?

Here is what I know- and this is true for every person living and breathing- because of the severity of our sin, we need a Savior. The Gospel proclaims that Jesus saves man through His perfect life, actual death and resurrection from the grave. He is the answer for how someone like me, a modern day Uzzah, can draw near to a Holy and perfect God. 

In Jesus, mankind finds both hope and forgiveness. While we may also find freedom from traumas, brokenness, addictions, pain and suffering, that’s not why Jesus came. He did not die on the cross to give us our best life now, He died to reconcile us to God. He came so that you and I can go home. 

Since the holiness of God demands justice for sin, Christ entered in to satisfy our debt.

What does Uzzah teach us about the Lord? It proclaims the incredible beauty of God’s love for mankind in the cross and the utter sacrifice His life was for ours. I hope the reality of Uzzah and the knowledge of the cross brings you to worship God. I know it has done so for me.


  1. Diane Knittle

    I’m proud to be related to such a deep spiritual thinker

    1. Lora

      Thank you Aunt Di 🙂

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