Foreheads, Pride, and Leprousy
The hushed whispers grew into a raging din. It’s hard to keep eighty people quiet much less eighty people who were infuriated by what they had just seen. The audacity he must have had to think he can walk right in there and…can you believe what he is doing?
Azariah calms the priests down for a moment. He gives instructions about respecting God’s anointed man. He will be the spokesman, so he pleads with his fellow priests to restrain themselves. They march into the Temple to confront the king, Uzziah. The king had a censer in his hand. Azariah was calm and respectful, but the king was losing his cool. All of a sudden, one of the priests saw it. It flashed upon Uzziah’s forehead. “He’s leprous!” All control was lost in a moment as men zealous for the purity of God’s house put Uzziah out of the Temple. God had smitten Uzziah for his tragic pride.
What an illustration Uzziah’s leprosy is for us. Since it was on his forehead, he could not see it. Everyone else could, but Uzziah was oblivious to his malady. Such is the way pride and arrogance work. They creep in stealthily on the fringes of successful enterprises. Like briars caught in the field carried to the comfort of home, the unwanted prickles of pride go without notice or care. Paul said, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
Every day, remind yourself of a few things in order to preen pride from your heart. Remember where you came from. Review Matthew 5 and be poor in spirit and meek. We are unclean and unfit until God has done a work in us (Isaiah 6). Remember who you follow. You must deny yourself, take up your cross which is your daily humility, and follow Christ. He did not call you to follow upon lofty heights of self-aggrandizement. He called you to follow him in the simple things of compassion. Remember there’s more to be done. Never rest on your laurels. Keep running and forget the things behind you whether success or failure. Press toward the prize. “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
Has pride begun to show itself in your life? Beware. It usually flairs up in places hard to notice without the mirror of God’s word and the humility of Christ’s way.
Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Neither let the mighty man glory in his might, Let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, That he understandeth and knoweth me, That I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: For in these things I delight, saith the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)