In a previous article I raised the point that sin has both earthly and eternal consequences (see When God Has Had Enough). While the blood of Jesus was shed for the forgiveness of sin and accepting Him as our Savior guarantees an eternal sinless life in Heaven with Him, we often pay the consequences for our sin on earth while we are here.
There is a portion of the scripture that came to mind when I thought this topic through. It deals with King Uzziah of Judah and takes place almost 2,800 years ago. I have been reading and studying Thomas Nelson’s New King James Version of The Chronological Study Bible (NKJV-TCSB)over the past couple of years. Reading the Bible chronologically has significantly enhanced my understanding of the Old Testament. The Bible is presented in chronological order regardless of the usual book/chapter/verse structure. I’m certainly no Bible scholar. All I know is what the Holy Spirit has interpreted to me through what I read and have been taught by my local church since I was a child. But this one thing I know for sure. Sin has consequences … even for the best of God’s children.
2 Chronicles 26 – all verses in this article from the NKJV unless otherwise noted.
1Now all the people of Judah took Uzziah,who was sixteen years old, and made him king instead of his father Amaziah. … 3 Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecholiah of Jerusalem. 4 And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. 5 He sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper. … 16 But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17 So Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him were eighty priests of the Lord—valiant men. 18 And they withstood King Uzziah, and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have trespassed! You shall have no honor from the Lord God.” … 19 Then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, before the priests in the house of the Lord, beside the incense altar. 20 And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place. Indeed he also hurried to get out, because the Lord had struck him. 21 King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death. He dwelt in an isolated house, because he was a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the Lord. Then Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land.
King Uzziah’s was a great ruler by most any measure. Over his fifty-two years (793-753 BC) on the throne of the southern kingdom of Judah, he led the nation to great political success, expansion and prosperity. The Bible says that this was as a result of Uzziah doing what was right in the sight of God. Uzziah was sixteen years old when he was placed on the throne by all the people of Judah. According to 2 Chronicles 26:2, his father Amaziah also did what was right in the sight of God.
But Uzziah violated the role of God’s political leader by taking over a priestly responsibility when he burned incense in the innermost part of the Temple. This was against the priests will and they tried to stop him. More importantly, this also violated God’s will. The Law of Moses required that the priests were the only ones that could perform the ritual of sacrifices (Numbers 3:5-10). Entering the interior part of the Temple was forbidden to all except for certain orders of Levitical priests. Therefore, the King of Judah was forbidden to enter the interior of the Temple.
It was common practice in that day for the kings of neighboring political entities to offer sacrifices to their gods. The kings of these other nations were not only the head of the nation, they often had the status as a high priest with special privileges. Sometimes the king was even thought of as a god himself, and declared himself such. Consider the Egyptian kings … they were considered to be gods embodied in a man.
In burning incense in the innermost part of the Temple, Uzziah was acting like his peers, the kings of other nations. Those peers were not only the political leader, they were also expected to be the religious leader and high priest and offer incense to their pagan gods. Uzziah sinned by violating God’s Mosaic command. As a result, God immediately struck Uzziah with leprosy and he lived out the rest of his life in solitude.
While the southern kingdom prospered greatly under Uzziah’s leadership, the northern kingdom was in chaos as one king after another was assassinated (the northern kingdom of Israel ultimately fell to the Assyrians in 722 BC). The Bible says that Uzziah “did what was right in the sight of the Lord (2 Chronicles 26:4).” Nevertheless, as a consequence of his sin, Uzziah suffered from leprosy, misery and isolation for the last ten years of his life.
Uzziah’s twenty-five year old son, Jotham, served as co-regent for those last and miserable years of Uzziah’s life and for six more years after Uzziah’s passing. Both father and son did what was right in the sight of the Lord for most things and the prosperity of the southern kingdom flourished. However, Jotham’s son Ahaz did not follow his father’s ways and the scripture records that he “did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord (2 Kings 16:2).” Let’s save discussion on that for another day.
But Dad (and/or Mom) … “Everyone else is doing it!” I bet you have heard that before! I can remember saying it to my parents. And I can remember our son saying that to us when he was a teenager. That is certainly not a reason to defy God’s commands. There are consequences to sin here on earth. Matthew 7:13-14 says “13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
What about you? Have you done “what is right in the sight of the Lord?” All of us are sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God. The point is, there are consequences for our sin … both here on earth and for an eternity. Jesus died for our sins … ALL of them. Only by accepting Jesus as Savior can we be forgiven of ALL of our sins and spend an eternity with God in Heaven. If you have not done so, please visit this link to learn how you too can become a Christian. How To Become A Christian
And Christian, don’t expect to avoid the consequences of your sin on earth. How many Christian families are broken every year by unfaithfulness? Sadly, many Christians do not feel they should suffer the consequences of their sin here on earth. But friends, the Bible speaks plainly and truthfully about this throughout its pages. As Christians, we should stay in a constant state of conviction and confession, reminded of the fact that God has prepared a way of escape from our sinful life. The prize is eternity with Him in Heaven!
Here’s a link to a song recorded by The Good News in 1990 from their southern gospel album Jesus Will Lead Me. The title of the song is “Sin Will Take You Farther.” The first two lines of the song are “Sin will take you farther than you want to go. Slowly, but wholly, taking control.” Oh, how true that is!!