Monday, December 4, 2017

Advent 2017 #4: The King Who Will Not Let Us Down

In the last few weeks, our news has been filled with the failures of prominent men. Officials at every level have let us down, as have the news reporters charged with disseminating truth. There are so many rumors and reports of wrongdoing that it's hard to tell if any men of integrity are left in our country, and equally hard to tell what's true and what's fake. 

It's a sad and discouraging time in America. 

For those who've put their trust in public figures, it's a heartbreaking and frightening time, as well. It's one with which the prophet Isaiah was intimately acquainted.

Isaiah Chapter 6 begins with these sad words: "In the year of King Uzziah's death..." Like almost everyone in Judah, Isaiah probably loved the king who'd reigned all his life. The king's illness and death must have been a devastating blow.

Uzziah became king of Judah when he was 16 years old, and reigned for 52 years. 2 Chronicles 26 tells us he "did right in the sight of the Lord" for most of his years as king. He had a great army, did many magnificent building projects, was a farmer, rancher, and visionary. 

He was a great man and was "marvelously helped (by God) until he was strong." (2 Chronicles 26:15) Somewhere over the years, Uzziah grew proud and began to believe he was not only king, he was the boss of everything in Judah. 

Of course, he was not. 

Uzziah decided to burn incense in the temple. This was the priest's job, and it was forbidden for anyone else to do it, but Uzziah didn't care. He marched in, grabbed up a censer, and prepared to burn incense. Azariah the priest, and 80 more priests with him, tried to stop the king, but Uzziah was enraged and crazed by pride and determination. 

The censer still in his hand, Uzziah broke out with leprosy on his forehead. Because leprosy was contagious and there was no treatment, lepers were isolated. The king was no exception. Uzziah was forced to live alone in a separate house for the rest of his life. Uzziah's pride and willful disobedience exacted a heavy price from everyone, himself included.

When Uzziah finally died, it was a sad time for everyone in Judah. He'd been king for 52 years and had done many wonderful things. Those last years spent in isolation must have made their grief even worse. 

In the midst of his grief, Isaiah turned to the one place he was sure to find comfort, the house of God. Everything changed for the prophet when he encountered the King of Kings, who will never fail, never be unfaithful, never let us down. 

Jesus, both God and Man, came to earth wrapped in flesh. He felt as we felt, but He did not fail as we fail. He endured to the cross and reigns victorious in heaven today. 

We enter the Christmas season with the grief, sorrow, and loss of the past. It can be the saddest time of the year, unless we do with our grief what Isaiah did with his. Take it to our Lord. It's in His presence that grief ebbs, sorrow fades, loss takes a back seat to the glory of the Holy One. We have a Savior who knows how we feel, and never fails to provide what we need. 

He's our Comforter and the Price of Peace. This Advent season, let's reach out to the One who never lets us down. 

"In the year of King Uzziah's death, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the rain of his robe filling the temple." Isaiah 6:1 nasb
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In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Advent 2017 #3: Preparing for Transformation

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