Uzziah inherited the crown of Judah when his father Amaziah was murdered. He reigned for 52 years. At the beginning of his reign, Uzziah did what was right in the eyes of God. God gave him many successes. With success, Uzziah became proud and unfaithful to God. Uzziah entered the Temple and began to burn incense on the Altar of Incense. According to Mosaic Law, only consecrated priests who were the descendants of Aaron could burn incense in the Temple. Uzziah was holding the censer for burning incense when the chief priest Azariah confronted him. Azariah reminded Uzziah that even though he was king, he could not burn incense. As Uzziah began to rage against the priests, leprosy broke out on his body.
From that time until his death about 10 years later, Uzziah lived in a house separated from the palace. His son, Jotham, governed Judah. Uzziah was buried near his ancestors in a field; however, he was not buried in the royal tombs because of leprosy.
One component of Temple incense (stacte) came from the plant Styrax officinalis.
The Hebrew word for stacte is nâtâph which means to ooze in the sense of distilling gradually or fall in drops. The figurative meaning of nâtaph is to speak by inspiration, e.g., prophesy. As a nurse and as Master Gardener when I think of inspiration I think of breathing in. But, the Bible has a different perspective on inspiration. Inspiration is “God breathed out” words into the Holy Scriptures. God exuded and exudes his message
into the world.
As we talk about passages from the Bible, we often say as “David said in Psalm 51” or “as Paul wrote.” We need to remember that the authors of the Bible wrote by the Holy Spirit. The words of the Bible are not words of the author, e.g., David, Jonah, Paul. Rather the words of the Bible are God’s words to the human race. The Bible is God breathed and as such it is both divine authority and without error.
The Bible is the model for how we should live in this world. We can learn a new way of thinking and behaving from the Bible.
When we read the Bible, we take God’s inspired words into us — or not. Christmas morning I sat in church listening to the epistle being read and thought how lovely the reader looked. In retrospect, I asked myself “where was my head?” Have you ever read the Bible while thinking of something else entirely? I have. On those occasions, I doubt if I changed any part of myself as a result of my reading.
Reflection. Allowing God to inspire us from his holy Word is an intentional process on our part. How intentional are you being when you read The Holy Bible?
Copyright August 24, 2011; carolyn a. roth