Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Epitaph to Pride

So Uzziah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the field of the grave which belonged to the kings, for they said, "He is a leper." And Jotham his son became king in his place. (2 Chronicles 26:23)

Fifty-two years Uzziah had served as a king.  Most all of those years he had been a good man and a great leader, but as he continued to prosper, his pride began to grow to the point that it stole his power.  He was inappropriately enraged and God struck him down and he was remembered only as a leper.  You see that's the final thing about pride, when your heart's full of it and you’re struck down, people will remember you only for that pride and what it brought about, not for the good accomplished in your life prior to that.

They wouldn't even bury him in the royal burial field...Why? Because he was a man who died of leprosy.  They buried him near the burial places of the kings, but they wouldn't contaminate the royal cemetery with a leper.  His pride caused his anger which brought about his disobedience and serious consequences.

What are the lessons from Uzziah's life beyond what we have already discerned from the scriptures?

1.    Realize that no genuine success is possible apart from the Lord God.
God prospered Uzziah; God helped him.  If you're enjoying success it's more than likely a blessing from God, don't ever forget that.  

2.   There are few tests like the test of success.
This might surprise some of you, but there are more people who can handle life at the bottom than there are who can handle it at the top.  You see the pinnacle is a very tenuous place to be.  If you get there, if God blesses you with success in your life beyond your imagination, let me encourage you to walk humbly, walk quietly, and walk gratefully in the presence of God.

3.    The God that blesses is also the God who can undo those blessings.
The same God that gave Uzziah riches and health was the one who looked at him in the temple and stuck him with leprosy.  Don't ever spit in the face of God.  Don't ever let pride swell in your heart to the point you think, you're the one who calls the shots.  God has never tolerated that and He won't now.

In our sliding scale of sin, pride is certainly not one of those we would declare one of the worst.  Certainly the sins of murder, adultery, stealing or some other listed in the Ten Commandments would be worse.  Yet, God has shown us throughout His Word that the sin which is core to all others is the sin of pride.  Jesus taught from the Mount of the Beatitudes the necessity of humility when He said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

Do you not find it interesting that the primary expression of ungodly pride is anger?  James spoke to this when he said, Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. … This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.  (James 1:17&20)

The lessons of Uzziah are worthy of learning in times when all of going very well.  As we are blessed, we need to be blessing God.

Scripture to Claim:
An angry man stirs up strife, and a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression. A man's pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.  (Proverbs 29:22-23)

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