The pauper's mansion is on fire!


“Dad, could you pass me the ketchup please?” Jotham asked.

Oh, Jotham, it’s an awfully long table, send for the maid servant or you could come get it yourself, surely you do not except me to stretch my flabby arm over the roasted pig, the grapes and all these piles of fine food,” King Uzziah replied.

Uzziah had reigned as King of J'ah since he was his son’s age, sixteen.

“Jotham, my son, when will you achieve anything in life for yourself?” the King asked.

Standing up abruptly and thumping hard at the middle of his protruding chest with a tightened fist, as if in great protest or self-admiration, the King said, “See when I was your age, he chuckled, I was already King!

I won battles big and small, I conquered kingdoms, I acquired many servants, I amassed vast amounts of land, I invented gadgets for war!” The King then swirled around in his bright purple robe with a large golden belt hanging lose beneath his large belly, held his hands up in the air and in a loud voice yelled, “I commanded an army of tens of thousands. No one is greater than me, I am the greatest most famous in the whole land!”

The Kings voice could be heard reverberating across the halls of his large palatial mansion that he had built using the finest materials in the land. His wife and daughters hid themselves in the far east side of the mansion for the fear of coming face-to-face with this self-declared god they once called their father. They could hardly recognise the loving man they had once known. A man who had taught them about the precepts of God, such as prayer, a man that had led his family religiously to the temple and for the offering of sacrifices as was the custom. A man they had once loved and respected. As long as he sought the Lord, God had given Uzziah success.

Now here he was, too stumpy and fat from eating choice foods to mount a horse. Uzziah required three mounting steps stacked one on the top of the other and two servants supporting his sides to get on the horse, that is if the horse was a short horse. He was too loud to have a conversation with, too distance to confide in, too abrupt to advice, too self-absorbed, with his nose stuck up high in the air that he did not notice the fly in his wine.

“Father, how is it that you are so successful?” his daughter had one time asked.

“Darling Princess Pezaia, do you not know that your father is a self-made man?” the king replied.

“What is a self-made man?” she had asked.

“A self-made man is a man that has worked so hard, and gone from paucity to success all in his own strength.” King Uzziah replied with power in his tone.

“As a matter of fact, I am so successful and powerful, I can burn my own incense!” the King added.

See, after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the Lord followed him in. They confronted King Uzziah and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the Lord God.”

Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the Lord’s temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead. When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests looked at him, they saw that he had leprosy on his forehead, so they hurried him out. Indeed, he himself was eager to leave, because the Lord had afflicted him.

King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in a separate house leprous, and banned from the temple of the Lord. Jotham his son had charge of the palace and governed the people of the land. (2 Chronicles 26).

“What happened to King Uzziah?” you may ask.

..and when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord,...

In Deuteronomy 6-8, we find what I like to call the hallmark of DO NOT FORGET.

Before the Israelites crossed the Jordan to possess the promised land, God through his servant Moses, gives them commands, decrees and laws that they are to follow so that their children my fear the Lord and so that they may enjoy a good life.

Moses tells them, to love the Lord their God with all their heart, all their soul and all their strength. In chapter 14, Moses tells them, do not follow other gods, for the Lord your God who is amongst you is a jealous God and His anger will burn against you and he will destroy you from the face of the land… And in Deuteronomy 8:17-18, “You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me. But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth,…”

King Uzziah forgot the Lord his God.

Reflection:

The Israelites went from bondage into a wilderness and thereafter, the Promised Land. Depending on where they were, the steps of their journey looked like liberation, testing and then glory.

It takes the power of God to move us out of bondage, God sent his son Jesus to set the captives free (Isaiah 61, Luke 4:18-19).

When we accept Jesus and the free gift of salvation, our walk with the Lord begins (Acts 2:21).

We may face tests to our faith as the Lord prepares us for the inheritance of the things He has promised us. (James 1:3)

Can we be trusted with hard times, trusted to trust God and to have faith in Him and Him alone? (Hebrews 10:39)

Can we be trusted with little, put in positions to serve in small ways that may not seem significant and do it to the best of our ability? (Luke 16:10)

Trusted to manage small resources and trust the Lord to provide the increase? (1 Corinthians 3:6-8)

Trusted to look at the creator of things and not the created things? (Mathew 6:19-34)

More importantly this story and bible study presents these questions:

Can we be trusted once the Lord has blessed us with abundance?

Can we be trusted to remember the Lord our God?

Do not forget the Lord your God.

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© 2020 by Arvin Kaufman.