February 8, 2009

Pride & Anger

My sermon from this morning.
Pride & Anger

We are going to take a look at a story about a journey inward. A journey that pride and anger can take us on that turns into an obsession with ourselves. We’ll see how they magnify and pervert the natural love for self into a disdain for others. And so the challenge for us is to see ourselves in this story because our natural thought process begins with the thought of ‘me’.

2 Chronicles 26

Some background…at this point in the history of the Jewish people the kingdom is divided between Israel to the north and Judah to the south. It is during the reigns of Jeroboam II in Israel and Uzziah in Judah that the borders of the kingdoms briefly reached the extent they had been under the united kingdom of David and his son Solomon, some 140yrs earlier. This would be extremely significant to the citizens of the two kingdoms because it was reestablishing the kingdoms’ power and glory of old and the kings who were able to do such a thing would be greatly loved by the people. So, keeping all of this in mind we begin our story in 2 Chronicles 26.

Uzziah was “born into” what he had and his position.

-he found support from his family

He did right in the eyes of the Lord. (4)

He sought God (5)

-God was his first priority, his first thought

He was instructed in the fear of the Lord.

God gave him success as long as he sought Him. (5)

He went to war and God helped him. (6)

-he found support from God

His fame spread as far as the border of Egypt, because he had become very powerful. (8)

-a sense of entitlement starts to creep in

He built towers and wells and fortified the city. (9-10)

He had people working in his fields and vineyards. (10)

-pride makes us think that we are doing people a favor by allowing them to work for us or be in our presence

He had a well-trained army that was ready to go out. (11)

-another example of support

His fame spread far and wide because he was greatly helped UNTIL he became powerful. (15)

-pride usually shows up when we are at our best

-pride makes us forget the support we have received from others and twists it into the thought that we have somehow made it on our own

-he found support until he abused it

His power, which led to pride, led to his downfall. (16)

He was unfaithful to the Lord and blatantly disobeyed God’s commands. (16)

-pride is that thing that makes me think I have all the right answers or the right to judge others as not having them because in the back of my mind, I believe God agrees with me.

-as Christians sometimes it’s easy for us to fall into “spiritual pride” which can take a couple different forms:

-it can be the mindset that I have the ability or right to judge another’s spiritual condition

-it can also be the mindset that believes I have the ability or right to hold onto things even after Christ has forgiven them, whether they were committed by myself or someone else

-“pride made the soul desert God, to whom it should cling as the source of life, and to imagine itself instead as the source of its own life.” Augustine

He was confronted with the painful truth. (17-18)

-it takes courage (and sometimes other people) to confront a prideful person

PAUSE (to take a look at Anger)

At this point he has a choice…

He became angry. (19)

-he could deal with his anger in a Godly way or sin in his anger

-notice that the leprosy doesn’t show up until the misuse of anger, the raging

He rages against the priests. (19)

-he took it out on others, people who even cared for him.

UNPAUSE (back to Pride)

His pride continued even in God’s presence. (19-20)

-once he realized it, he wanted out

-there is a sense or feeling of regret but the damage had already been done

His pride resulted in loneliness which led to pain, isolation and eventually death. (21)

-pride eliminates every life-giving relationship we have to enjoy

The remedy…

Service. The very thing that Jesus calls us to be is a servant because it forces us to think outside ourselves, to look outward as opposed to inward. True service naturally requires humility. We are forced to recognize that it is not about me.