2 Chronicles 25-27, Psalm 77
Back in my third year of medical school I met one of the other students for the first time. While this student was a second year student he fell behind doing his laboratory work in Microbiology. He came in off hours on a Saturday, and by himself he was making a mess with the various stains for the experiment in the laboratory. An unassuming man came in with a flannel shirt and jeans and politely asked him to be neater and to clean up after himself. This student proceeded to launch out in very foul terms letting this man, who he deemed as worthless in his eyes, as having some nerve critiquing him, someone who was soon to become a doctor. The man quietly nodded and left the room. On Monday morning there was a letter in his school mailbox to meet with the chairman. That man with the flannel shirt and jeans was Dean Craig, the chairman of the department, who he had not previously met. The chairman politely told him because of his attitude and pride he would have to leave school for the remainder of the year and repeat next year. I would love to say that he learned his lesson and was humbled. But in my one rotation with him he continued to elevate himself and talk down to anyone and everyone.
We read the story of 2 "good" kings who over time lifted themselves up in their own eyes, in pride, and suffered the consequences. We read in 2 Chr 25:2 about Amaziah, "And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a loyal heart." He did well, but began to worship the false gods of those he conquered. When the prophet said in 2 Chr 25:15, "...Why have you sought the gods of the people, which could not rescue their own people from your hand?" The king pridefully lashed out at the prophet in the next verse, "...Have we made you the king's counselor? Cease!...". Then the prophet responded and said, "I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not heeded my advice." (v.16). We read of the next king, Uzziah, who also did well in God's eyes. We read in 26:4, "And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord...". He was wonderfully blessed by God as king, but then was elevated in pride. Thinking he was above God's law, knowing he was not a priest and therefore was not allowed to burn incense in the temple, he acted foolishly. We read in 2 Chr 26:16, "But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense." We see the valiant attempts by 80 priests to stop him in v.17-18. But we read in the next verse that he became furious with the priests and leprosy immediately began to break out on his forehead.
The sad story of two good men brought down by their own pride. In Proverbs 16:18, we read, "Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall." We read Paul's exhortation in Philippians 2:3, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself." Paul then goes on to describe in this same chapter in verses 5-12, the incredible example of Jesus, who being God humbled Himself to become human. We come from various backgrounds, have different jobs, have different incomes, but we make a serious mistake when we compare ourselves with others. For we all have the same God, and compared to Him, we are like ants, unworthy yet loved by One so much greater than ourselves. The cure for pride is to get our eyes off ourselves and off of others and onto God, the only One who deserves to be exalted. May we all humble ourselves and place God on the throne of our lives.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: