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. – 2Chr. 26:16 NIV
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Today’s devotion is the second part of the devotion with the same title. King Uzziah, probably clouded by the success he had achieved all round and the applause he would have been receiving had decided to play the role of a priest by burning incense on the Altar of incense in the temple. Azariah the priest, together with eighty other priests whom the Bible describes as bold confronted King Uzziah to let him know that in his attempt to burn incense on the Altar of Incense in the temple, he was crossing spiritual boundaries as that schedule remained the sole responsibility of not just any Levite, but specifically the descendants of Aaron, and thus advised him to leave the sanctuary as he will not be honoured by the Lord. Instead of taking to this advise and adjusting accordingly, he chose to get angry at their rebuke – 2Chr. 26:17-18. The Bible noted that while he was still raging at his being corrected by the Priests with regards to this intention of his, his forehead became covered with leprosy and at that point had to be quickly hurried out of the temple just as he too at this stage was willing to quickly leave. He had been made unclean by the Lord, a state he remained in until his death – 2Chr. 26:19-21. He spent the rest of his life time in a separate house alone and banned from entering the temple.
Aside from pride, some activities feature prominently around the one that has badly managed success some of which are as follows;
- Truth and honesty is far from such an individual. Because such a person likes to be praised at all times, they are only comfortable around those who will say positive things about them whether true or false, but because it is simply impossible for anyone to always be right and never wrong, those who will remain around such will be those who have decide to turn a blind eye at the errors of such a person.
- Such see them selves as bigger than correction. Because they love to hear positives about themselves all the time, they are very intolerant of correction as it is viewed as attempts to reduce their personality. Such even when the error is obvious complain about the manner in which the correction was made as if there is ever going to be a way that a correction can ever go down well with an egocentric person.
- Such desire to arrogate all powers to themselves. Because of their intense desire to be seen as the source of all good things, they strive to be the head in every situation and the large ego makes them want to have the one and only say in all situations as any opposing views is seen as an attempt to rubbish them.
- Such are usually surrounded by cowards and liars. The scripture today identifies the priests who approached King Uzziah when he was planning to carry out his act as bold. That is because there would have been other priests then who will dare not and probably would have been discouraging them from taking such a step. The power usually wielded by such a person would be so enormous that most people will be scared to even approach him/her as they are already intimidated. Anyone who confronts such will definitely need to be bold.
All these points aggregate to ensure the destruction of the proud one as they are always in attendance around the one who cannot manage successfully manage success.
Christians need to be careful of how they handle success when it finally arrives. Most times, God-given success has the tendency to get the one who is in such position swollen headed and may not realise when he or she begins to cross the boundary with the Lord, with most onlookers unwilling to caution such. This is because God-given success makes the one who has being so blessed, become outstanding. The success is usually such that in most cases are landmark achievements, the type that everyone will see and acknowledge and it will indeed take beyond normal ability to control oneself, not just because of the impressive nature of the achievement but the continuous praise and applause of the people around. The latter, if not well handled is what eventually makes the individual begin to see him/her self as super human.
Sometimes, it becomes worsened by the action of flatterers who begin to project such beyond his/her known ability and in some cases, it may even be the excessive desire of the individual for recognition that will be the foundation of the pride and fall. In such situations, the individual develops an insatiable appetite for applause and where not received, there is feeling of disrespect and disregard with anger taking over.
In a bid to continue to have applause, attempts are made to break new grounds without the realisation that the action that led to the applause being received was not achieved through human efforts or desire but by the supernatural support of the Almighty God. It is in the attempt at breaking these new grounds mostly that boundaries are crossed.
Many there are today, Christians inclusive who have crossed these lines and have been so afflicted with spiritual leprosy. The consequence of this is their spiritual isolation and ban from entering the temple. Being a spiritual act, all they experience is the physical effect of such spiritual act but they are not able to quickly piece things together to realise that their experience is due to their spiritual absence in the temple even when they are there physically. Spiritual beings keep a distance from them and all their prayers are never heard because of the effect of the leprosy that has led to their isolation. The result is the experience of frustration with their prayer lives.
Such are advised to quickly do a re-think and re-trace their steps because unlike King Uzziah that died with leprosy, lonely and isolated, they do not have to carry that spiritual leprosy for the rest of their lives. The intervention of Moses ensured that Miriam did not have to die a leper, as she was healed of a her leprosy after a period of time – Num. 12:1-15. The Christian today has an advocate that is in a better position to intervene, than Moses and that is Jesus Christ. Confessing your errors to God and pleading with God through him for restoration remains an assured route back to restoring the vibrancy of the spiritual lives of such people. Jesus Christ is ever ready to take up such cases with his father if only we acknowledge him as Lord. Call on him today as tomorrow may be too late. However, for the one that is seeking for success from the Lord or as already attained successful heights it is important to include in daily prayers to the Lord, a request for the spirit of humility. It is very necessary because of the unique status that success from the Lord bestows on those who have been so favoured and its obvious effect on the people around such a person. They cannot but want to appreciate what they are witnessing but it is left to the one that God has granted success to see no one else but the same God in that success and transfer all those praises completely to Him. May God add the spirit of humility to our God-given success so that we will be in a position to successfully manage same in Jesus name. Amen.