We have a particularly thought provoking set of readings today. In Acts we have Stephens’ most challenging speech – it is a history lesson of the failures of the Jewish nation in the past – failures to be faithful to their God – failures which climaxed in their rejection of Jesus. The religious leaders were “proud” of their positions of authority, because of this nearly all had failed to recognise the authority, and therefore, the identity of Jesus.
Our chapter 7 in Daniel contains ‘parables’ of human kingdoms and the misuse of power because of human pride: but the climax, surely in our days, is when the Almighty creates a “kingdom and dominion” which “shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him (and ‘them’).'” [v.27]
There is a very good lesson for us in our reading in 2 Chron. 26. A new king came to the throne and at first he was a wise God-fearing king, “He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper.” [v.5] We have the Bible to instruct us – and as long as we seek to absorb its message into our minds – we will spiritually “prosper.”.
However, the new king, “… when he was strong, he grew proud” [v.16] and “was unfaithful to the LORD his God and entered the temple … to burn incense on the altar of incense.” [v.16]
The priests tell Uzziah “you have done wrong, and it will bring you no honour from the LORD God. … Then Uzziah was angry… and when he became angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead” [v.18,19]
The lesson for us is plain. It is a tragedy if our knowledge of God’s word leads, over time, to us becoming spiritually proud. The prophecy given through Isaiah is particularly relevant in these last days, “…the LORD of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low” [2 v.12] Surely that day is almost upon us – may the visions we are reading in Daniel inspire (and humble) us.