The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God. (2 Samuel 6:7)
“Don’t ever ask God for justice—you might get it.”R. C. Sproul
As David’s men were bringing the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem on a cart, one of the oxen leading the cart stumbled, and the ark began to fall. An unfortunate soul named Uzzah stretched out his hand to secure the ark—the sacred box that manifested the presence of God—and God struck him dead on the spot.
I’ve always felt bad for Uzzah. The poor guy was just trying to keep the ark from crashing to the ground. His misguided act was the product of good intentions. But it didn’t matter. Uzzah fell to the ground dead right beside the ark he was trying to save. And maybe that’s the point: We can have the best of intentions, be on our best behavior, pile up lots of good works—and still be unable to approach God.
A while back, I got a reminder that it is only through Christ that any of us can stand. A friend of mine pastors a church in inner city Atlanta. He showed me around and introduced me to some folks. I couldn’t help but notice how rough some of the men and women looked. My pastor friend told me many of the people in his congregation had broken pasts—as drug dealers, thieves, alcoholics, and sex workers. Quite a few had spent time in prison.
This inner city church is a living picture of the miracle that is the gospel. Like Uzzah, our best intentions will never be enough to gain us access to the Father. But in Christ, our worst crimes don’t disqualify us either. That’s what makes the good news so good.
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