Dangerous Creativity (2 Chronicles 26:16-21)

2 Chronicles 26:16-21


16 But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the Lord his God and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17 But Azariah the priest went in after him, with eighty priests of the Lord who were men of valor, 18 and they withstood King Uzziah and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Go out of the sanctuary, for you have done wrong, and it will bring you no honor from the Lord God.” 19 Then Uzziah was angry. Now he had a censer in his hand to burn incense, and when he became angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead in the presence of the priests in the house of the Lord, by the altar of incense. 20 And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and behold, he was leprous in his forehead! And they rushed him out quickly, and he himself hurried to go out, because the Lord had struck him. 21 And King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death, and being a leper lived in a separate house, for he was excluded from the house of the Lord. And Jotham his son was over the king’s household, governing the people of the land.


            One of the things that we see valued among some groups of believers is being extremely free in worship.  Occasionally you will go to a church or conference where the worship leader—well-meaning no doubt—calls you to try worshipping in a new way, to forget about your tradition, and to just let go, be free, and worship.  In such a setting, the worship leader is trying to free you from monotony, from meaningless or heartless repetition.


            However, there is a danger in overemphasizing human freedom in worship.  We see that danger in the life of King Uzziah.  This man was a good king over Israel.  He did many right things to try to lead the nation toward God.  He clearly had a passion to worship.  But, uzziah went too far.


            As we read above, one day, Uzziah decided that he was going to worship God in a new way for him.  He knew that the priests in the temple took censers of smoking incense and burned it before the Lord as an act of worship.  Uzziah decided that he too would like to be involved in this practice.  The problem was, God had not said that this was something all men could do.  God had restricted that task to the priests.  Thus, in an attempt to take his worship to a new level, Uzziah dishonored God by doing something that was forbidden him, and God punished Uzziah for it.


            Uzziah forgot to treat the Lord his God as holy.  He failed to see that God is so perfect that we do not deserve to approach him however we choose.  Uzziah failed to recognize that it is for God to decide how we ought to worship him, not for us to make up our own way.


            Analyze your own thoughts as you approach worship.  Will you do what God has commanded?  What if you have done that repeatedly; will you change things up and come up with a new way to worship?  God is so good and so gracious.  It is gracious of God to allow us to even think of him.  Perhaps what we need is not a new style or new creative worship activity, and instead, what we need are new hearts to see how glorious it is that God would let us sing his praises, pray in his name, read his word, and bow before his throne.  Truly, all obedience to the commands of God is worship.  But we ought to be careful thinking that we will somehow make worship better or more meaningful by reaching out for a new action that we have not done in worship before.  Be biblical in your worship and worship with all your heart; in doing so, you will never find worship dull.