Beware of leprosy in the Church
2 Kings 14:3,4 -
And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done; Save that the high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burnt incense still on the high places.
The testimony of King Azariah (Uzziah) the king of Judah is well known. He was just sixteen when he became king. The first part of his reign saw great prosperity for the Bible says he did right according to God but then it also says he followed the footstep of his father Amaziah who also was a good man, one who loved God and feared God. Even though they feared God and did what was right according to God yet both made great mistakes. Scripture say they both ignored the false, corrupt practices that happened as worship in the name of the Lord (burnt incense on high places).
The Bible records that his father Amaziah was defeated by the king of Israel due to his overconfidence of the favour of God on him. He went ahead and challenged the king of Israel and was terribly defeated.
Similarly later in the life of Azariah he too does something which no king did. As a king he went to the temple of the Lord and burnt incense to the Lord, something which only a priest was allowed to do. Even though he was warned he did not refrain because he was under the influence of anger. He saw the worldly blessings of the Lord on him and thus was confident he could do also things which only anointed ones or people commissioned for it could do. The very moment he went into the temple to offer incense he was struck with white leprosy and this continued unto his death. The Bible also records a great earthquake during his time.
Leprosy was not the most fearful disease that existed then or exists today but the Bible gives great importance to it. There are whole chapters written of how to identify it, what precaution needs to be taken against a person suffering of it and when the person is healed of it. A healed man just did not join back but had a long process before he or she would be part of the regular people. Bible mentions leprosy not only of people but also of houses. It describes it as just a disease of the skin.
Science has found that there are different types of leprosy and not all are infectious (very rare ones are). Also more than the disease it is the infections caused otherwise that danger the life of the person. It is a myth that parts of the body fall out due to leprosy because people see the hands and feet of a leper. In leprosy the fingers and toes do get shorten but the main areas of damage are to the skin, nerves, eyes, other than the limbs. Leprosy starts with the peripheral nerves and the upper respiratory track; the skin lessening is the first visible signs.
In the Bible, leprosy is given importance not because of the disease itself but because of what it symbolizes.
Every part of our body as well as creation itself is made according to design and through the design we can understand spiritual things of the Kingdom of God. Without going too deep into scriptures leprosy is a disease that symbolizes disease of righteousness. Among all the spiritual sickness the worst and most difficult to correct is self-righteousness and that is why a leper was considered unclean and was cut out from among the people until the time he was healed of the disease.
In today's message we see King Azariah (Uzziah) and his father loved God, they walked according to what was right in the eyes of God but they both ignored something which was precious in the eyes of God. They both became over confident with the blessings of the Lord in their lives and we see they both paid a price. The father was defeated and the son who had not learned from him but continued in his ways was struck with leprosy until his death.
Today's message goes to the preachers who get overconfident with the things that the Lord is doing in their lives. We see many preachers / pastors as they become more famous they start showing a lot of change in their worship of the Lord, when they are among people and when they are on the stage. When in the crowd their hands rarely go up but on the stage it is the opposite, same with their mouths.
The Lord is telling them not to ignore the same things. They may find them not so important but to the Lord they are. Their ignoring it will cause them to lose judgment of their doings and one day they with be hit with the spirit of self-righteousness. They will start to justify their wrong actions not only with worldly wisdom but they will also misuse or twist scriptures to justify themselves.
The Lord is telling us to look around in our churches and we will find many suffering from leprosy. These do not fear to twist and misquote scriptures for their benefit. They think the Lord is with them because of the blessings on them, the healings they do, their skills (talents), and the large number of people who attend their service.
The Lord tells us we should avoid spiritually the preachers who are leprous (like not receiving teachings from them) until the time they have overcome their spiritual disease. The Bible gives great details on how to identify them and how to know when they have overcome.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord your Body is suffering because the people You have set to build it are selfish and have become self-righteous. They close their eyes to things that are against your Kingdom that are happening in the Church. They have harden their hearts to your Spirit and are blinded by blessings. Lord we pray You open the eyes of the congregation and heal those who are infected with leprosy...
[ Reference Scriptures ]
2 Kings 14:21 - And all the people of Judah took Azariah, which was sixteen years old, and made him king instead of his father Amaziah.
2 Kings 15:3 - And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done;
2 Chronicles 26:1 - Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah.
2 Chronicles 26:19 - Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, from beside the incense altar.
2 Chronicles 26:23 - So Uzziah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the field of the burial which belonged to the kings; for they said, He is a leper: and Jotham his son reigned in his stead.
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