I always like to start out on the right foot. Literally, every morning I wake up on the right side of the bed. I use my right foot first. I wish I could say that I was just kidding, but I am not. As a result of the way my room is set up, I have to do those things! Haha! Although I wake up on the right side of the bed and begin my day on the right foot - that does not always dictate that I do the right things or have a good day. Today we read about King Uzziah (aka Azariah) and how he allowed power to get to his head. Pride and sin led to his downfall and he was unfaithful to the Lord. (2 Kings 15:5) Uzziah was told not to burn incense alongside the priests; he became angry and kept letting the incense burn. As a result, Uzziah was afflicted with leprosy and banned to solitude until the day he died.
I do not know about you, but often times when I read these passages about the downfalls of others, I find myself feeling grieved. We read how their stories begin at a climax; a high point. We are told that king Uzziah became powerful; so he was not powerful to begin with. He stepped into power and he allowed it to get to his head and his heart. King Uzziah started out on the right foot.
I always want to make it a point to think the best about people; I want to give others the benefit of the doubt. In the same way, I like to think that King Uzziah had good intentions at one point. The bible even tells us:
(2 Chronicles 26:4-5) He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.
But as we have learned before, good intentions do not really mean a lot if the actions do not follow through. As Uzziah sought God he was given success, then something changed:
(2 Chronicles 26:16-18) But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the Lord followed him in. They confronted King Uzziah and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the Lord God.”
The part that gripped me in this reading was that AFTER Uzziah was given POWER he allowed his PRIDE to get in the way! I am certain, and can verify with scripture, that Uzziah honored the Lord at one point. There was a time in Uzziah’s life where he placed God first! Yet, the moment he was given power he forgot who had placed him there. Uzziah started out on the right foot, but ended up doing the wrong things.
Uzziah forgot about the BEFORE and gave in to the AFTER.
My prayer for us, God’s people, is that we would not forget where we have come from. May we never forget about the BEFORE and give in to the AFTER. I do not want to spend eternity in confinement, without hope, and alone without my Savior! I do not want to get to a place where I believe I have arrived. Apart from our Lord, we cannot be powerful and mighty on our own. (John 15:5) We may try to achieve life on our own but it will only lead us astray from the destiny God has so purposefully placed before us!
May we fervently choose this day to always remember what God has done, may we choose to remember that we have been placed where we are for a reason and that it has been God alone who supplies the power to become effective!