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August 11 I Sunday

Psalms 81-83

Romans 11:19-36

“Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the LORD’s temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead.”   

—2 Chronicles 26:19

 

There once was a boy named Uzziah, who became the King of Judah at the tender age of sixteen. His reign started off well as he sought after God and the whole nation prospered under his leadership. But his rule ended disastrously when his sense of entitlement took over and brought his unfortunate downfall.

Entitlement is when we feel we have a right to something. Uzziah’s “entitlement” to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense on the altar of incense––a duty that was reserved only for the Levitical priests––forever changed his life. Azariah, along with eighty other priests of the Lord who were men of valour, warned Uzziah saying, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honoured by the LORD God” (2 Chronicles 26:18). Not only did Uzziah not heed to their counsel, but he became angry and defensive. “While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the LORD’s temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead” (2 Chronicles 26:19).

Sometimes leprosy is used in Scripture as a picture of sin because it desensitizes its victim. Leprosy is a disease of the nervous system, where the ability to feel first in extremes of the body, decreases until unwittingly one begins to damage oneself because one no longer has the active nerve ends in one’s fingers.

The story of Uzziah is a picture of how entitlement can desensitize our conscience. Uzziah’s consequence left him living in a separate house and excluded from the temple of the Lord. We are told that, “King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died” (2 Chronicles 26:21). Not only was Uzziah’s leprosy a sign of his sin but it also showed his separation from God.

In our walk with the Lord, have we known so much of the blessing of God that we have become conceited, proud and entitled? Or are we allowing ourselves to live in humility before Him with total dependence upon Him? Like leprosy, our sense of entitlement can desensitize our spiritual nervous system. Hence, Paul tells us in the New Testament, “I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man” (Acts 24:16). May we strive to acknowledge that all we have is from the Lord and the only entitlement we receive from Him is being called His child.

Prayer: Dear Lord God, keep my heart away from entitlement in my relationship with You. Help me to walk uprightly and finish my course on earth well in humility. Thank You, Lord.


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