Power and Pride

Bible Reading: Amos 7:10-17; 2 Kings 14:28-29; 15:8-18; 2 Chronicles 26:16-21

"He [Uzziah] did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.... 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" (2C 26:4-5). "His fame spread everywhere, and he became very powerful because of the help he received from God" (2C 26:15 TEV).

"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" (2C 26:16). (Only the priests were allowed to burn incense before God.) Uzziah was followed into the temple by eighty "courageous priests" who confronted him regarding his disregard for God's law. "While he was raging at the priests" for their accusations, God struck him with leprosy. He was quickly escorted from the temple and remained leprous and isolated "until the day he died."

God blessed King Uzziah during most of his 52-year reign because he sought the Lord. Yet, the power, fame and success he was blessed with filled him with pride, which led to his downfall. It seems like an all-too-common scenario. As long as Uzziah had a trusted advisor who taught him in the ways of the Lord, he obeyed and honored God. But after Zechariah died, Uzziah arrogantly elevated himself above God's law. Then, just as God had raised him to success, God humbled him in his downfall.

"Pride will destroy a person; a proud attitude leads to ruin" (Proverbs 16:18 NCV). "Arrogance will bring your downfall, but if you are humble, you will be respected" (Proverbs 29:23 TEV). "Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom" (Proverbs 11:2 NLT). "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6).

Lord, help me to guard against pride in my own life, and humbly recognize my successes as gifts from you. May I daily seek and find you in the pages of your word, that I might do what is right in your eyes. May you always be the object of my adoration and affection. If my head is lifted up, let it be lifted to you, to exalt and honor you. Keep people in my life who will help me understand and follow your ways. If I ever begin to be more impressed with myself than with you, send me eighty courageous friends (well... I hope it doesn't take THAT many! How about sending just one or two close friends?!) who will lovingly confront me with their concern.