Mackey links humility, prayer with story of Uzziah
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
Terry Mackey’s command of the English language is exceeded only by his command of Bible verses.
In a livestream released Monday, he provided plenty of inspirational words and biblical wisdom about humility and prayer in the first Chapel of the spring semester at Grand Canyon University.
Mackey’s talk, titled “A New You in a New Year,” was online because most students will not return to campus until later this week. In-person Chapel will resume Monday, Jan. 11, in GCU Arena but at a new start time – 11 a.m. Because of COVID-19 protocols, students must obtain a free ticket online to attend.
The Pastor of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church in Phoenix focused on the story of King Uzziah, who first is mentioned in Isaiah 6:1:
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of His robe filled the temple.
Uzziah’s many feats are laid out in Chapter 26 of the second book of Chronicles. He presided over a lot during his 52 years in power – wars were won, towers were built and the vineyards were carefully tilled.
But he also did something else that led to his ruination, as spelled out in verses 16-21:
… After Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the Lord followed him in. They confronted King Uzziah and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the Lord God.”
Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the Lord’s temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead. When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests looked at him, they saw that he had leprosy on his forehead, so they hurried him out. Indeed, he himself was eager to leave, because the Lord had afflicted him.
King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in a separate house — leprous, and banned from the temple of the Lord.
Mackey wanted to focus on Uzziah for a reason: He learned during his seminary training that the best sermons help listeners see themselves in the biblical text that is quoted.
“How much of Uzziah is in you?” Mackey asked his audience. “How much are you guided by pride and not by productivity?”
Mackey pointed to the words of a scholar:
“Pride is a disease that makes everybody sick except the person that’s got it.”
And as one of his former professors told him:
“A person that is lifted up in pride is a person that’s wrapped up in his or herself – makes too small of a package to make a difference.”
From there, Mackey sped through a series of Bible verses about pride:
Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.
2 Chronicles 7:14:
… if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
And this about Uzziah, in 2 Chronicles 26:5:
He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.
Every Mackey talk has a memorable passage in which he scarcely takes a breath. This one featured his take on why “everyone needs someone sometime.”
“Even Batman needed Robin, even Shaggy needed Scooby, even Bert needed Ernie, even Yogi needed Boo-Boo, Moses needed Joshua, Ruth needed Naomi, Mordecai needed Esther, Elijah needed Elisha, Barack Obama needed Oprah Winfrey, Gladys Knight needed the Pips, Michael Jordan needed Scottie Pippen, Magic Johnson needed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LeBron James needed Anthony Davis, the Arizona Cardinals need Kyler Murray, and – guess what? – all of us need Jesus.
“Yes, we do! We need Him in the morning, in the noonday, in the evening, every point of our life, because where I am, He brought me what I know, He taught me what I have, He gave me who I am. He made me.
“Don’t be lifted up in pride but humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and the Bible says He’ll exalt you in due time. If you want to make it up the ladder of success, it’s not because of your high-mindedness, it’s because of your humbleness.”
Try saying all that in about one minute. That’s what Mackey did. The man is an oratorial machine.
It all led to his main point: Our prayers to God must be continuous, not just random. Unlike even the best wireless communication provider, His signal is never interrupted.
“The No. 1 wireless communicator is prayer,” he said.
Two other biblical passages call that to our attention.
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
Each of those verbs in Matthew, Mackey noted, is translated from Greek in the present perfect tense, which implies continuous action.
“It’s really saying, not ask, but keep on asking … not just seek, but keep on seeking … not just knock, but keep on knocking until you get the answer that you need and you rid yourself of pride and lead yourself to further productivity,” he said.
One final analogy: He shared a story about how he discovered the telephone feature ICM Callback – if you get a busy signal, it automatically keeps calling the other person until he or she answers.
“If a phone has enough intelligence to keep on calling until it gets what it needs on the other end, surely we are to keep praying until we get the answer that we need,” he said.
“… Don’t stop praying, because prayer not only changes things, prayer not only changes people, but prayer can change you. And then you can have a new you in the new year.”
And not be another Uzziah.
● Chapel replay
● Next Monday’s speaker: Dr. Tim Griffin, GCU Vice President of Student Affairs, Dean of Students and University Pastor
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].