Summary: A look at the ways that God's blessings can lead us away from Him. Uzziah provides a clear example of the problem.
WHEN GOOD THINGS GO BAD: Sometimes God’s blessings lead people away from God.
- This is not just something we see here. In the Mosaic Law, as God tells Israel that their obedience will lead to Him blessing, He then explicitly warns them that there is a great danger that the blessings will lead their hearts away from Him.
- We might ask, “Then why does God give blessings?”
- First, because it’s in His Father heart to want to be loving and generous toward us.
- Second, there are potential negatives with any path He chooses. If He instead chose not to give at all, that could open the possibility of feelings of resentment and abandonment that He wasn’t answering in any tangible way. In each path, no matter which He chooses, there is the possibility of something good or something bad coming from it.
A PERFECT EXAMPLE:
1. GOD BLESSES HIS SERVANT WHO IS DOING RIGHT.
- It is in the heart of God to bless and prosper those whom He loves.
2. THE BLESSINGS CAUSE UZZIAH TO FORGET HIS PLACE.
- The important thing here is not that Uzziah was burning incense. There’s nothing intrinsically evil in burning incense. The sin was that burning incense in the temple was part of the priests’ job (v. 18), as outlined in the Mosaic Law. Uzziah was stepping beyond his authority; he forgot His proper place. This was important because this was not to be a nation where all the authority rested in one person. Uzziah needed to understand that His authority was not without limit.
- We do similar things.
- We forget how much of what has come our way in blessings is from beyond us. We begin to think we’re the ones who have made it all. We identify ourselves with the heightened place we’ve been lifted to.
3. GOD OPENS UP A MOMENT OF REPENTANCE.
- Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that it opens up a moment of possible repentance.
- You’ve got to give credit to the brave priests. This is a time when flouting the authority of the king could easily cost your life. Yet they bravely stand up against the wrong that Uzziah is doing.
- Uzziah’s pride, though, does not allow him to acknowledge his error. We can presume that he was likely incensed (pun intended) by their brazen rebuke.
- We have a choice to make in such moments: will we humble ourselves and repent or will we cling to our pride?
- Sadly, often the choice is to not repent.
- Think of the spouse who sits alone knowing that they were wrong in what they said, yet their pride will not allow them to say the words “I was wrong” or “I apologize.”
- Think of the co-worker who continues to argue their point when everyone else in the room has made it clear their idea is a bad one. It’s not that they truly and deeply believe their idea is right – it’s that they’ve publicly planted their flag on this ground and their pride will not allow them to retreat.
4. IF WE FAIL TO REPENT, JUDGMENT FALLS.
- 2 Chronicle 26:19-20.
- If we allow our pride to keep us from repenting, it’s very likely that judgment will fall.
- Now, it may not fall as quickly as it did for Uzziah, where it came almost immediately. Sometimes it’s days later, sometimes weeks. It might be years later. In some cases, it might not be until Final Judgment.
- We can say, though, from our experiences that the judgment on pride usually does fall. Think of how often someone who is full of themselves finds that destroying close relationships, alienating business partners, distancing them from God.
- In this case, as usually happens, the judgment fits the sin.
- Uzziah is trying to take a higher place than he deserves in the temple system. The leprosy is not a random punishment. It’s a direct rebuke to his actions. In the Old Testament temple system, someone with leprosy (and multiple other physical problems) was not allowed to be in the temple. This is God essentially saying, “You think you can do everything in the temple? Here’s your punishment: now you can do nothing in the temple.”
- This could look like:
a. Letting natural consequences fall.
b. Broken relationships.
d. Distance from God.
5. THERE MAY BE A POINT WHERE THE SINS CAN BE FORGIVEN BUT THE CONSEQUENCES CANNOT BE UNDONE.
- Just because a sin can be forgiven doesn’t mean that its consequences can be undone.
- An affair can be forgiven by God, but the marriage may be irredeemable and divorce inevitable.