Author: Rev. Matthew Mayes
Text: 2 Chronicles 26.1-20
Pride Comes Before Disgrace
As chaplain at the VA Medical Center at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, I work with men and women who are attempting to come face to face with their addictions. One of their issue which in many cases prevents their recovery and often our success as Christians is pride.
All of us have been taught at one time or another to “take pride in our work” or to be “proud” as Americans. While there is nothing wrong with taking pleasure in our work or self, pride is a very different thing and we need to remember that. Proverbs 11.2 states that when pride comes, then comes disgrace. With humility comes wisdom. Words absolutely contrary to modern America, as well as ancient Judah
In 2 Chronicles 26:1-20 tells us of King Uzziah. King Uzziah began his reign at sixteen years of age. Scripture tells us that Uzziah did was was right in the eyes of the Lord, which means that Uzziah sought God’s will and if we read carefully, we see that God responds by blessing Uzziah with his favor. As long as Uzziah sought out God’s favor God granted Uzziah success and as a result Uzziah became rich, famous, and powerful. He warred successfully against the Philistines and the Arabs, and other enemies that sought to destroy Judah. Under Uzziah’s direction (and God’s leading) Jerusalem was restored and once again became prosperous.
In time pride enters into Uzziah’s life and he becomes proud of “his accomplishments” and his pride led him to sin against God by entering into the sanctuary of the Temple of the Lord. A place reserved by God for priests only. He is so prideful that he actually rages at his priests when they bravely try to correct him (afterall its good to be the king and he could have them all executed). It is only when God afflicts him does he relent. In the end, the once powerful King ended up alone and excluded from the temple.
In my experience pride tends to get in our way if we are successful and not careful, leaving many once faithful people destroyed by the very blessing God has offered us. All too often with success comes a sense of self-confidence and temptation that we know better than God (or don’t need Him). This is why God hates pride. It leads us to allow things in our lives that we know are destructive and would be wrong in the lives of others. It is when we learn humility before God and others that we actually free God to be able to bless us with even greater blessings; especially gratitude!
Is pride residing in your life? What does it mean to be truly humble?
*Inspired by the thoughts of the Pastor of Christ Church in Fort Worth, TX and adapted by me for Lent.