A Worse Fate than “No”

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 2 Chronicles 25-27; John 16

Uzziah was 16 years old when he became king, and he ruled for fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecoliah; she was from Jerusalem. He did what was right in the Lord’s eyes, just as his father Amaziah had done…

16 But as soon as he became powerful, he grew so arrogant that he acted corruptly. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God by entering the Lord’s sanctuary to burn incense upon the incense altar. 17 The priest Azariah, accompanied by eighty other of the Lord’s courageous priests, went in after him 18 and confronted King Uzziah.

“You have no right, Uzziah,” he said, “to burn incense to the Lord! That privilege belongs to the priests, Aaron’s descendants, who have been ordained to burn incense. Get out of this holy place because you have been unfaithful! The Lord God won’t honor you for this.”

19 Then Uzziah, who already had a censer in his hand ready to burn the incense, became angry. While he was fuming at the priests, skin disease[j] erupted on his forehead in the presence of the priests before the incense altar in the Lord’s temple. 20 When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests turned and saw the skin disease on his forehead, they rushed him out of there. Uzziah also was anxious to leave because the Lord had afflicted him. 21 King Uzziah had skin disease until the day he died. He lived in a separate house,[k] diseased in his skin, because he was barred from the Lord’s temple. His son Jotham supervised the palace administration and governed the people of the land. (2 Chronicles, 26:3-5, 16-21, Common English Bible).

It is safe to say, Uzziah started off as a good guy. “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.” And, God blessed him for it. God gave him victories over his enemies but with each victory came more power. With each tribute paid to Uzziah, he became more arrogant. Eventually, he reached a point where he thought he could do anything he wanted to do.

That is when trouble almost always starts for us. The second we think we don’t need God and can go it on our own, it won’t be long before failure and worse is at our feet. If you will remember, back when we were reading the last half of Exodus and the Book of Leviticus, the Levites, the descendants of Aaron were given specific instructions about the handling of the tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant. There were specific areas of the tabernacle where only the priests were allowed to go. Because he was king, Uzziah thought he was above all that. When we start thinking we are above the instructions of God we are really in trouble.

When Uzziah became angry with the priests for their efforts to stop him, a skin disease (skin diseases were just about the most feared of all diseases in the Biblical era) broke out. He lived out the rest of his life fighting these diseases, isolated and exiled in a house by himself, away from family, friends, his people, and it would appear, away from God.

It would seem, there are worse fates than hearing God say “No.”

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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