Choices… (II Chronicles 26-27; Isaiah 6)

Isaiah 6:1: In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne…

Isaiah 6 gives us a picture of a depressed, despairing prophet that needed a renewed vision of the God of Heaven. The verses to come give us the story of how God restored His prophet. However, an interesting backstory is found in II Chr 26-27 that gives us an idea as to why Isaiah was in such a troubled state.

King Uzziah was a godly, powerful king of Judah. He had military might, financial power, and much, as far as the things of this world. As long as this king sought the Lord, God made him to prosper. However, when he was strong, his heart was lifted up with pride, and he sinned against God: causing terrible consequences.

Isaiah was despairing and depressed, because Uzziah was the first king that he ministered to, was a powerful one, and had just died. King Jotham, Uzziah’s son, did not follow the Lord as closely, and the nation of Judah (as a whole) did yet corruptly. Therefore, the prophet’s heart was broken. Thankfully, he made the right choice, and got his eyes back on the Sovereign God of the Universe. Amidst these four subjects: Uzziah, Jotham, Judah, and Isaiah, only one made the right choice. We have similar choices to make in our day:

1.) When he was strong, Uzziah became lifted up with pride, and decided to cross boundaries that God had put in place for His people. He went to offer incense (which was not allowed), and the godly priests (81 of them) withstood him: reproving him, and pleading with the king to get right. Thus, Uzziah had a choice to make, when confronted with God’s Word and way: He could humble himself, repent, and obey, or he could get mad. Uzziah chose the latter. He got so mad at God’s Word that he was wrathful (wroth). Because of his rebellion, God judged him then and there.

We have the same choice to make, when someone confronts us with God’s Word: whether in a church service, our devotions, or person-to-person, we can either humble ourselves, submit, and obey the Word, or get mad. Sadly, in our day, few choose the former, and most choose the latter, because of pride.

2.) Jotham was Uzziah’s son that watched all of this occur. He saw his dad become powerful, go to the Temple, become a leper, and never come home. As a young man, he was forced onto the throne as a co-regent, since Uzziah had to live with the lepers. No one knows the story that was told to him about what happened in the Temple, but, even so, he had his own choices to make about God. Jotham chose to follow God his own way, and never worship at the Temple. Because of this, the nation followed suit. We can imagine that Jotham got mad at the priests and even God, even though his father was fully at fault for what he did, and what happened to him.

We have the same choices to make, in front of a world/community/family that is forever watching & judging, and will also, in some cases, follow suit. Many people choose to follow God their own way. They choose to avoid their Bible reading, adhere to worldly methods of “worship”, collaborate with the unsaved in the name of “preaching the Gospel”, avoid attending a local, Bible-believing church, and on it goes. God has given us the way that He wants to be worshiped and served in His Word. Our choice is to obey it or not. If we do not, then we can be sure that He will not accept any other way that we put forth (cf. Lev 10; II Sam 6; John 4:23-24; 14:6). If we do, then He is pleased.

We also have a choice to make, when people offend us. Many do not attend church, and even reject the Gospel, because someone sinned against them in some way (whether in reality or perception). Instead of choosing to forgive, rely on God’s grace, and continue to obey His Word, they use the offense of one/few as a reason to get mad at God (and Man): generalizing that “everyone must be the same,” which seemingly excuses their subsequent disobedience. It does not.

Just because Jotham was mad at the priests and/or God did not excuse his lack of attendance and worship. Just because his feelings changed did not change God’s Word. Just so, we need God’s help to get over ourselves, and trust in Him and His Word/way by faith.

3.) Israel saw Jotham neglect his worship at the Temple, and used it as an excuse to avoid their own personal duties to God. They had a choice to make: do right, because it was right, or use the sins of others as an excuse to do wrong. We know what they chose.

Just because society (or the masses in general) are doing something/going in a certain direction, does not make their sin to be righteousness. The whims of society change with the wind, but never change the mind of God. What God says to be sin and righteousness in His unchangeable, immovable Word are what He deems them to be, as He is the Lawgiver. We cannot use the sins of a family, church, workplace, government, society, or world as an excuse to sin against God ourselves. Christ has called His flock to be lights in a dark world, not increase the darkness (Matt 5-6; John 10-13).

4.) Isaiah saw Uzziah die, Jotham sin, and Israel do yet corruptly. As a prophet of God, he had a choice to make with his broken heart: curl up in a ball, isolate himself and be depressed, or give it to God & obey God’s Word by faith, so that something could be done about it. Thankfully, he made the right decision.

Every one of us is going to fight adversity at some point in our lives. We will become angry, sad, and fearful. Out of these, we will be tempted to become wrathful & bitter, depressed & despairing, and terrified & worried. All of these six are sinful attributes that God will help us with, if we will let Him.

The best thing that we can do, when we are tempted to fall into these emotional traps, is run to God in His Word, whether we feel like it or not. Run to the Bible. It is what cleanses, builds, and strengthens us (Rom 10:17; I Pet 2:2). Read, study, and apply it little by little. Be faithful to a local, Bible-believing, preaching church that will build you up in the Word, which will also increase your faith. We may not feel like going to church, reading our Bible, or preaching the Gospel, but cannot give into our fleshly feelings. We need to learn to obey God’s commands.

If we neglect God’s way of help, then we can expect more of the same in our lives. However, if we ascribe to the biblical prescription of observing to do the Word (through personal and congregational reading, studying, and applying), help may take time in coming, but is assured. It is our choice.

“It was God’s Word that made us; is it any wonder that His Word should sustain us?” – Spurgeon