Recently in my bible study I have been reading about the Kings of Israel and Judah. David’s kingdom was split early and there was contention thereafter with not only their common enemies but between themselves as one nation – a very sad state of affairs for a people who had been chosen by God to bear His presence in the sight of the nations!
What struck me though is how often the kings would start off well and due to influences of those close to them or other nations they slipped into ways that forsook their God who had delivered and set them free! They forgot the One who loved them!
I was extremely struck by one King. Uzziah. Uzziah was 16 years old when he became King and ruled for 52 years. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord – until he didn’t! He started off so well – setting his face to seek the Lord while Zechariah the prophet was around, and it caused him to prosper. He fought battles and won; became famous and strong; built towers and cisterns; had large herds and incredibly productive farms because he loved the soil; made amazing weapons of war; and built a great army – until he became strong! Then he became proud forgetting God and becoming unfaithful to Him.
He became so proud he entered the temple to burn incense before the Lord something only the priests were permitted to do! Azariah and 80 brave priests confronted him and drove him from the temple. As he became angry at the priests, his forehead immediately became leprous. He became separated from his world at that moment. He lost his kingdom as his son took his place on the throne and he had to live separately from everyone until his death, and as well was excluded from the House of the Lord.
Pride and anger- these are what caused him to be struck by leprosy. We see from another example of Miriam who also suffered this fate, hers being a judgement for her jealousy and criticizing of Moses. These sins opened up their lives to this form of judgement. Uzziah’s case of leprosy started on his forehead which was a virulent form of leprosy.
They are good examples for us to learn from. So often we can run a great race in our faith early on and as Jesus warned in Revelation, lose our first love! Anger, pride, jealousy, a critical spirit, all of these can rob us of the final victory lap to the finish line.
A friend of ours recently said he has asked his father to show him how to age well. I think that is such an important aspect of this walk of life. So many elderly end up proud, critical, and angry causing people to shy away from them. There are others who maintain a sweet, positive spirit and they are a delight to be around. We can run a sprint powerfully but life is a marathon and it’s the finish that really counts!
As I consider some of the aspects of aging well, I think it begins and ends with staying in the Word of God, continually renewing our minds and spirits: Staying on fire with the Holy Spirit: Staying sweet in the spirit and not letting bitterness and regret, or resentment creep in and become like leprosy – a scaly disease which overtakes our lives! These will separate us from the Lord, our family and from our position in the Kingdom.
Live life well – until the end and hit your targets!
Until next time