April 2022

Delusion

Delusion is a sign of the last days. Paul wrote about it in a letter to the Thessalonians:

“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12 ESV).

What an awful thing it is to be deluded.


Delusion: Part One – The Dividing Line

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.” Isaiah 6:1
Isaiah saw the Lord in the year when the king died.
This king is an enigma. His actions are hard to figure out.

A great king, who finally became deluded.

There is a key word that divides Uzziah’s life: the word is “until.”
Read this verse with me:
“And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, UNTIL he was strong.” 2 Chronicles 26:15

1. Before: He Was Helped!
Isn’t that a sad verse? He was marvellously helped until…!
I suppose that describes all of us. We were miserable UNTIL Jesus transformed our lives.

Or for some we could say, they ran well UNTIL they ran back!

“Until” here is a word that denotes a watershed: before and after.
Uzziah was a good king in many respects:

i. He was spiritual.
“And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did. And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.” 2 Chronicles 26:4-5
He sought the Lord, and as long as he sought the Lord, God prospered Uzziah.

ii. He was valiant.
He was especially successful in combat against Judah’s enemies.
“And he went forth and warred against the Philistines, and brake down the wall of Gath, and the wall of Jabneh, and the wall of Ashdod, and built cities about Ashdod, and among the Philistines. And God helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabians that dwelt in Gurbaal, and the Mehunims.” 2 Chronicles 26:6-7
However, there is more to life than physical strength and courage.

iii. He was famous.
“And the Ammonites gave gifts to Uzziah: and his name spread abroad even to the entering in of Egypt; for he strengthened himself exceedingly.” 2 Chronicles 26:8
People had heard about Uzziah as far away as Egypt. And gifts were sent to him.

2. Then He Was Deluded!
Everything was fine UNTIL!
But then came the UNTIL and things changed. He put himself on the wrong side of God.
Can you imagine forfeiting God’s help? Here is what happened:
“But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense.” 2 Chronicles 26:16

Is there an “until” in your life? A dividing time in your spiritual walk that caused you to go back?

Demas was Paul’s associate until he fell in love with the world!
The Galatians ran well until someone bewitched them!

But notice with this man Uzziah that the very thing that caused his demise was a desire for a spiritual ministry.


Delusion: Part Two – Uzziah’s Steps To Delusion

“And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, UNTIL he was strong.” 2 Chronicles 26:15

This man had God’s help until he was deluded. Let’s watch Uzziah’s steps to delusion:-
1. Pride.
“But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up…” That is where it started.
Pride brought about Lucifer’s fall. Sin always begins in the heart.
I suppose that his victories were so great that he felt like he could do anything!

2. Disobedience.
“And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the LORD, that were valiant men: And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the LORD God.” 2 Chronicles 26:17-18

He went wrong when he tried to have a ministry that God had not given him.
He was king, and he wanted to be priest also.
In this world you can be just about anything you want to be, and set your mind to be, except a minister of the Lord if God has not called you.
That was one of the sins of Jeroboam. He ordained anybody to be priest.
Human institutions cannot ordain to ministry. We may train people for ministry. We may lay hands on those who minister, and request God’s blessing. We may provide credentials and certificates.
But true ministers are ordained of the Lord.
And Uzziah was not ordained into the ministry by God.

3. Delusion
Watch how pride deludes Uzziah. He was so deluded that he actually went into the Temple and acted like the priest!
The result was that Uzziah was dismissed. God struck him with leprosy and he was removed from the Temple and the people.

i. He was angry with God’s anointed.
“Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, from beside the incense altar.” 2 Chronicles 26:19

Of course, the priests really were anointed for the ministry.
They were not self-appointed like so many we see today who tell us, when we stand against their error, that “we should not touch the Lord’s anointed.”
That word “anointed” is wrongly used today. In the Old Testament, kings prophets and priests were anointed for service. In the New Testament Jesus is referred to as the Christ – the Anointed One. And as the only Anointed One He is our ONLY Prophet Priest and King. Let’s be wise enough not to use His title.
But Uzziah was angry with those who had been truly called to ministry.

ii. He was struck with leprosy.
Can you imagine that? While the anger burned in his heart the leprosy appeared on his forehead.
That is what happened to Miriam when she questioned Moses’ unique ministry.
“Has God only spoken by Moses?” She asked.
Actually, she was angry with Moses. She was angry because she did not like the woman Moses had married.
Anger and jealousy are usually the root cause of pastoral criticisms.

iii. He was separated from the people.
Please notice that although the priests ejected him, Uzziah himself ran out of the Lord’s House.
“And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the LORD had smitten him.” 2 Chronicles 26:20
The priests had been consecrated, or separated, to serve the Lord and His People in the Lord’s House.
In trying to actually serve the Lord, Uzziah was separated from the Lord’s People and the Lord’s House.
“And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD: and Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land.” 2 Chronicles 26:21


Delusion: Part Three – What Happens When the king Dies

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.” Isaiah 6:1

1. What Isaiah Saw

Isaiah saw the following:-
i. The Lord’s holiness.
“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.” Isaiah 6:1-4
What a sight!
Contrary to the theology of the hymn “Holy! Holy! Holy!” the three references to God’s holiness have nothing to do with the doctrine of the Trinity. It is a Jewish literary form of emphasis. The Lord’s holiness is referred to three times. We would say in English: “The Lord is very very very holy!”

ii. His own unworthiness.
This is what people see whenever they have an encounter with divinity.
“Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5
The problem with pride is that it elevates man’s opinion of himself.
You will remember that pride had moved Uzziah to imitate the priesthood and to try to offer fire on the altar.
But when king Uzziah died, Isaiah saw the Lord.
And you cannot help but compare Isaiah’s humility and Uzziah’s pride.
Listen: As long as we elevate God’s ministers we will never see the grandeur of the Lord.

iii. Angelic empowering.
Please take time with me to read Isaiah 6:6-12.
Isaiah’s humble opinion about himself, that is, that he was unworthy, did not impede him.
Lowliness is never a constraint in the service of the Lord. On the other hand pride is a real handicap to ministry.
This age tells us to love ourselves. God’s Word tells us that we already love ourselves too much.
We should make a sane estimate of ourselves, the Bible says. And our natural tendency is to think too much of ourselves rather than too little of ourselves.
Look at these verses:
“For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:” Ephesians 5:29
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3
God’s reaction to humility is grace.
“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5
When Isaiah saw his own unworthiness, the angel came to minister to him.

2. When Isaiah Saw These Things

i. The death of the king.
The revelation did not come until the death of King Uzziah. It was after the death of Uzziah, that Isaiah observed marvellous things in the Temple.
King Uzziah was deluded you remember. And the deluded must be dismissed.
Azariah the chief priest had the job of doing that:

“And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the LORD, that were valiant men: And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the LORD God.” 2 Chronicles 26:17-18
I want us to realize that we will never see great and awesome things in God’s House until the deluded ones who fill the pulpits are removed!

ii. The death of self.
You do not have King Uzziah but you do have King Self!
And we may also consider here what we will see on a personal level when we die to self. Today I want us to consider this question: What will we see when self dies?
The old nature tries to rule us. But when we mortify the deeds of the flesh there is much blessing.
Isaiah saw great things when the king died. And we can believe that we also can expect things like this when we die to self.
Only when we have been tied to the altar will we prove God’s will:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
Only when we have died will we be truly fruitful:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” John 12:24
When he saw himself for what he truly was, Isaiah received:-
a). Cleansing.
“Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.” Isaiah 6:6-7
b). Calling.
“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” Isaiah 6:8
c). Comprehension.
Watch as Isaiah is given prophetic vision and understanding.

“Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, and the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.” Isaiah 6:11-13
When the king dies, and Christ is enthroned in our hearts as our only Monarch, and rules our will, when we make His will ours, then we too shall behold great and marvellous things.