A Death Sentence for This?

In many ways, Scripture makes the point that sin is serious. One way it does this is the striking story of a man named Uzza.

In many ways, Scripture makes the point that sin is serious. One way it does this is the striking story of a man named Uzza. Uzza was a pious man who lived in the time of David in the Old Testament. One day he was helping move the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. It was being carried on a cart pulled by oxen.

Here’s the rest of the story as it is told by Scripture:

“When they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God.”

1 Chronicles 13:9-10

Whoa. He died just because he touched the ark?

He was just trying to keep it from falling!  Why would God punish him for this?

Years earlier, God had given them explicit instructions on how to transport the ark. It wasn’t supposed to be placed on a cart. Rather it was to be carried by specially designated people carrying poles. So even though Uzza had good intentions, he violated one of God’s commands. And God struck him dead.

If anything illustrates how deadly breaking any of God’s commandments is, it’s this story.

It is sobering because we all break God’s commandments—and break them on a regular basis. For example, he commands us to love our enemies. Not just some. All of them and all the time. Love them and not just not hate them. Who has done that perfectly?

Or, who has even loved their own family members perfectly? Not once treating them unlovingly. Not once responding sharply to them. Not once having a bad thought about them.

I could go on for quite a long time. But I think you get the point. Nobody can keep all of God’s commandments all the time. And, as the story of Uzza shows, God doesn’t look upon any sin lightly.

That’s why we so desperately need Jesus. He alone can save us from God’s anger over sin. Friends, trust in Jesus and be saved.


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