Sunday, July 30, 2017

July 30

2 Chronicles 26:1-28:27; Romans 13:1-14; Psalm 23:1-6; Proverbs 20:11

Since King Uzziah had such success while he was seeking the LORD, why would he ever turn away or stop seeking the LORD?

While he was under the instruction of the noble priest Zechariah, his kingdom was expanding. He triumphed against the Philistines at Gath, Jabneh and Ashdod. God helped him against the Arabs and the Meunites, and the Ammonites brought him tribute. He was famous for his military success as far away as Egypt. He constructed towers for the defense of Jerusalem and built up the infrastructure of the country. In addition, he had a large and well-trained army mustered and ready at his command (2 Chr. 26:6-15).

Huge success.

But all this was not enough for Uzziah—he wanted what he was denied by birth—the right to burn incense before the Lord. This right was restricted by God to the Levites. No one else was allowed to enter the sanctuary. The courageous Levite priests of the LORD confronted King Uzziah and refused him entrance into the sanctuary. God validated their brave decision by inflicting leprosy on Uzziah. The advent of leprosy got Uzziah’s attention and he was glad to leave the sanctuary and the ceremonies there to the Levites.

The haunting words that end Uzziah’s successful reign are recorded in 2 Chronicles 26:16: “After Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall.”

His pride led to his downfall.

Wow, that’s stunning.

We see in politics today prideful people who announce that they are the solution to X, Y or Z. It behooves them to remember that pride leads to a downfall. And it’s not just the rich and powerful who become prideful; I can be prideful, too, and think that my own merit or talent has earned me favor or given me distinction. Or worse yet, I can think that my birth or achievements somehow make me better than other people.

Paul adds this instruction in Romans 13:14,  “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” If I am clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ and his humility, I cannot spend my time thinking that I am better or above others. I can choose not to gratify my sinful nature by bragging about myself. I can clothe myself in the humble attire of Jesus Christ.

“Thank you, Lord, that you are able to humble those who walk in pride. Pride is offensive to you because it puts the praise on us and not on You. May each of us humble ourselves before You today, I pray.”

- Nell Sunukjian

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