God strikes down Uzzah for touching the ark, seemingly just to keep it from falling. This might seem an excessive punishment for seeking to protect the ark, but we must understand that Uzzah is breaking at least two commandments related to its proper care. First, Israel should have been carrying the ark with the poles that were part of the entire apparatus (Exodus 25:14-15) instead of pulling it behind the oxen (1 Chronicles 15:15 attests that David and Israel learn this lesson). Secondly the ark, when in the tabernacle, was not be seen except by the high priest once a year, and when moved, it was to be protected by three-layers of cloth (see Exodus 26:33, Numbers 4:5-6). Even looking upon the ark as Uzzah and others did was foolish enough, let alone directly touching it.
Formerly, God uniquely manifested His holy presence on earth via the ark. Uzzah is trusted with guiding the ark (1 Chronicles 13:7), and he of all people should have known exactly how to transport God’s earthly dwelling place. Charged with proper care of such a wonderful gift, Uzzah’s neglect makes him culpable.
In like fashion, we as believers are now God’s chosen vessels on the earth. May we have appropriate reverence for the trust we have in our own bodies as those crucified and risen with Christ. We do so when walk in a holiness that reflects the Holy Spirit in us.