Presumptuous Sin

"His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful" —2 Chronicles 26:15, NIV.

What is it about success that plants the seeds of failure?

"But 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" —2 Chronicles 26:16, NIV.

Ahhhhh, pride.

Uzziah's punishment was a touch of leprosy. That's just as deadly as a touch of cancer. Physical death might take a while, but it's becoming a pariah in the community that really hurts. No one to touch and no one to be touched by. Total isolation except for those who have also been embraced by the disease.

Uzziah's son, Jotham learned the lesson. "He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Uzziah had done, but unlike him he did not enter the temple of the Lord" —2 Chronicles 27:2, NIV.

Interestingly it wasn't the pride that was the problem. Pride in itself is not "a hanging offense" as they say. What pride leads to is the greater evil. Uzziah's pride led him to presume on God. It was entering the temple to offer incense as though he were a priest that got him into trouble. We are not told here what preparations Uzziah made for his self-ordination to the ministerial society, but normally there were stringent cleansing rituals that had to be performed before entering into God's presence. Pride probably let the king to skip those details as well.

Presumption almost always gets us into trouble. Presuming on God guarantees a visit to the principal's office.

Recent events have elevated a small-town pastor to the international spotlight. He claims to speak for God and insists that his message and his methods are divinely ordained and represent his stand against that other "Great Satan." However, burning piles of the Qur'an on the anniversary of the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York is a meaningless gesture. God doesn't deal in meaningless gestures. Burning a bunch of books in self-righteous anger will bring no one to the foot of the cross—in fact it will drive many away. To say that the Lord told him to do something that is so anti-biblical is presumption indeed.

There is a price to pay for presumption. This pastor is already a pariah in most corners of the world. We hope that innocent others don't pay the price for one man's misunderstanding of the Biblical mandate and his assuming a word from the Lord when God did not speak. In fact, we hope that this pastor will realize his error, repent of his pride and the actions that pride birthed, and publically rectify the situation before this coming Saturday.

Those would be the attitudes and actions that could very well bring someone to the foot of the cross. And it is no presumption to say that God would gladly meet anyone there who cares to come.


  1. Amen. What a Biblical perspective on this issue. Thank you so much for sharing this, Lynda.


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