Monday, July 14, 2014
Ping Pong and the King Uzziah Hitch
Reading the truth of 2 Chronicles in the Holy Book is like watching a ping pong match: One king “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord…”, his son “did what was evil in the sight of the Lord”…and his son “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord until he became successful…” Etc., etc., etc., down through all the cotton pickin’ ages. (As an aside, this puts to flight the idea that there are any absolutes in the scrappy business of parenting).
So across court the ball bounces to Uzziah, son of Amaziah (who ended badly, by the way…Amaziah “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly”). It’s looking hopeful with Uzziah. This young man became king at age 16. He sought hard after God, and even had the privilege of sitting under the teaching of the great prophet Zechariah. He built towers, dug well, planted vineyards. In a word, he prospered, both inwardly and outwardly.
God gave Uzziah whopping success. Any 21st century man would read about him in Fortune magazine and be green with envy.
“His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped UNTIL HE BECAME POWERFUL. After Uzziah became powerful his pride lead to his downfall.” 2 Chronicles 26:15-16
I absorb these words and smack…knees hit the floor. I assume the only right posture when you’ve been blessedly warned. And I say to a Father who lives in unimaginable light and holiness: “I don’t want to go that way. But I know I could. Unless you rescue me from pride I’m headed for that side of the ping pong table.”
The thing about pride is this: you don’t see it in yourself.
How did that other king, the great shepherd king, escape Uzziah’s lot? How did David, despite some really dumb moves and wretched twists and turns, end on a note of grace?
As far as my limited understanding can grasp, I think it’s because he stayed tight with God. He asked for vision to see his own folly. “Forgive my hidden faults” is a mighty powerful request and David made it. God once sent the prophet Nathan to point a big fat finger at that royal chest when he was blind to his elaborate pride. David didn’t argue or have the prophet killed (which lots of kings did when they didn’t like a particular message). David spoke these liberating words, the beginning of a turn back to wisdom: “ I have sinned against the Lord…”
God only knows what that revelation saved him from.
Or what it could save any of us from.
Your friend on the pilgrim road,