Monday, June 3, 2019

"In the Year King Uzziah Died..."

Greetings, internet friends and neighbors, and a big hidey-ho to those family members left upright and on the right side of the daisies. And to everybody else: you start by banging the rocks together, then go from there.

Isaiah 6:1 begins "In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord..." The verses continue with the details of his vision, and if you are at all familiar with contemporary Christian music, you'll recognize the verses as the inspiration for multiple songs and choruses.

"The Prophet Isaiah," Marc Chagall

I'm not gonna talk about that.

Instead, I'm gonna talk, a bit, about how you go about seeing the Lord when you have had your guts kicked out.

To do that, I've got to talk a bit about King Uzziah.

He started out GREAT! And he was only 16 when he ascended to the throne. His name means "The LORD is my strength," and that's the way he ruled.

At first.

And for a long time: his rule totaled 52 years.
And he really did great things for Israel. I'm not gonna detail them here, but if you want to go to the primary source, check out the books of I Kings (Chapter 15) and II Chronicles (Chapter 26). It is said that his rule was second only to Jehoshaphat, since the time of Solomon, David's son and the third king.

Somehow, though, despite his military and scientific advances, and his fame and prosperity, it just wasn't enough for him. He decided he was going to do the ONE thing that was forbidden to him: he was going to burn incense on the altar of God.

Nope. BIG nope. The right incense had to be offered in the right way by the right people, or A Very Bad Thing happened, and that was the truth even from the beginning. Aaron, Moses' brother, was the first priest, and his sons with him, and when they offered the wrong incense, THEY wound up being burned.

You think a king would know better!

But, he didn't; and when he tried, even over the objection of the priests, he got struck with leprosy.

And then he lived, in isolation, for 11 more years.

And the people? Devastated, no doubt. Here was this INCREDIBLE, gifted king, one who was so famous that they knew about him way over in Egypt; a guy you could BRAG about! ...and then he is disobedient, and is cursed as a leper. Maybe, the people would have been better off if he had just died on the spot; on the other hand, he probably had a good bit of teaching he needed to pass along to the next king.

So, after having a king rotting away in a room by himself for eleven years, he dies, and his grave is even separated from those of the other kings.

And THAT'S when Isaiah saw the LORD.

How do you manage to see the LORD when you are at your lowest point? WHY are you seeing the LORD when you are that low? And what else can we learn from this passage?

1. How? Well, the how is a little bit simple. You do it the way you always have done it. This WASN'T the first contact Isaiah had with the LORD, for certain! You want to see the Lord when you are in despair? Start looking for Him immediately! Start looking for Him when you are a child; teach your children how to find God. Let it become a regular part of your life. Then, when you are on the floor, and you can't lift a finger, you breathe out, "Lord, help."And my own experience is that He answers.

2. WHY? Why would God choose to reveal Himself at this moment, in this way? Don't know. But, I expect that one reason is because that's when we need the sign. Signs are good things to have, when we are lost.

3. What else can we learn? How about this one: Don't trust in kings. They will ABSOLUTELY let you down. Not just talking about kings, either; talking about ANY leaders. Sooner or later, if you place all of your confidence in a human, you are going to have that confidence betrayed. I feel so sorry for all those who have determined to invest their resources in support of a political figure. Even if they win, they are going to lose. The principle never fails, because the person always does; and, even if that failure is not readily apparent, their time in power will pass, and someone else will be in control.

At this moment, there are people that I care for who are in pain. Just a month ago, my older sister lost her husband. Just a year ago, my younger sister lost hers. And just last week, a woman I respect and admire had her husband pass away unexpectedly. Others are struggling with different issues, but there are a LOT of people out there who are experiencing some of the same things that the prophet did, in the year that King Uzziah died.

My prayer for all of them, and for the rest of us as well: I hope that you see the Lord.

Peace be on your household.

No comments:

Post a Comment