Friday, 26 February 2016

He Had It All

The Rise And Rise And Rise And Fall Of Uz
¶ And all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king instead of his father Amaziah.
Second Chronicles 26:1
U.S. President Barack Obama (L) with a gift he received from Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah during a meeting at the king's farm outside Riyadh June 3, 2009.    REUTERS/Larry Downing (SAUDI ARABIA POLITICS ROYALS)Uzziah had it all! Wealth, women, power, and fame were all his to enjoy. He was made King at the ripe old age of 16 and perhaps unlike most teenagers who are the recipients of instant fame and fortune, he sought out an older and wiser advisor to help him rule. Under the tutelage of this advisor Uzziah went from strength to strength…
¶ And all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king instead of his father Amaziah.
Second Chronicles 26:5
But something was growing in his heart as his success grew. It was dark but it was the kind of darkness that only the light of success can reveal. Eventually his success exposed his dark heart and led to his very sudden and tragic demise.

And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done.
Second Chronicles 26:4
Andrew CorbettIn his early days, Uzziah maximised his pastoral relationship with Zechariah. He was humble enough to trust his pastor and implement his advice. This is a great formula for taking advantage of God’s gift of a pastor to your life (1. Humility, 2. Trust, 3. Implement). Uzziah was able to achieve success in his life and work beyond anything he could have imagined.
¶ He went out and made war against the Philistines and broke through the wall of Gath and the wall of Jabneh and the wall of Ashdod, and he built cities in the territory of Ashdod and elsewhere among the Philistines. God helped him against the Philistines and against the Arabians who lived in Gurbaal and against the Meunites. The Ammonites paid tribute to Uzziah, and his fame spread even to the border of Egypt, for he became very strong.
Second Chronicles 26:6-8
Any wise advisor is a valuable contributor to your life – but particularly if their advice is implemented. For those who have learned to increase their reception of God’s preached Word there is great value added to their life. For the church attender who has learned the art of attentiveness when the Word is ministered there is the oft and timely deposit of wisdom gems to deal with clear and present life-challenges. This most frequently transacts without the preacher even being aware of it. Then there are the advisors whom God gifts to us in a more direct and private manner. To these people we can present our large or small dilemmas and receive their counsel. One of the traits of a humble person is that they receive and implement such trusted advice. When Uzziah did he succeeded.

In Jerusalem he made machines, invented by skillful men, to be on the towers and the corners, to shoot arrows and great stones. And his fame spread far, for he was marvelously helped, till he was strong.
Second Chronicles 26:15
Success has been the ruin of many people. There is something profoundly unwelcome yet beneficial about struggling. The person who has learned to struggle for what’s right, for what should be, for what must happen, is the person who has become all the stronger for it. The parent who is frustrated and fed up with their children for not doing the right thing, or what they should be doing, or what must happen, and ceases to struggle to change this, is the parent who denies themselves strength and delight – not to mention that they deprive their children the blessing of boundaries (which they crave). Life’s richest treasures can only be acquired on the road of struggle and toil.
Conversely, whenever someone achieves without struggle or toil, it almost invariably leads them to become at least somewhat conceited and proud. Perhaps this is why many lotto winners end up financially worse off within three years of winning their millions than they were before they won the lotto!
Wealth gained hastily will dwindle,
but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.
Proverbs 13:11
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,”
Romans 5:3-4
King Uzziah’s success had come about because he sought God, was humble enough to receive his pastor’s guidance, and walked in the wisdom of Biblical counsel. But when he became successful he became infected by its curse.
¶ 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.
Second Chronicles 26:16

Bad things happen to good people. Many of the Psalmists puzzled over this (Psalm 73:3ff). But bad things also happen because of bad choices. King Uzziah had been blessed more than most other Kings of Judah or Israel – yet he made some horribly bad choices toward the end of his life. It seems that the older we get the more difficult it is to finish well by continuing to remain humble, teachable, and correctable.
But Azariah the priest went in after him, with eighty priests of the LORD who were men of valor, 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.”
Second Chronicles 26:17-18
When the ministry team attempted to correct King Uzziah, his pride triggered his anger (pride and anger are closely linked). An angry person (as distinguished from a person who gets angry occasionally) is rarely a humble person.
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.
Second Chronicles 26:19

King Uzziah’s rise and rise and then fall is an all-too-common narrative throughout history. The Apostle Paul wrote to son in the faith, Timothy, and set before him a goal to finish the race (of life) well (2Tim. 4:7). The choices you make today determine how you will finish life’s race. Will you finish life well and be prepared for eternity and the eternal consequences of the choices you made in this life?
¶ He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
Romans 2:6-8

Last night in our Bible Study group we opened with a two-part question, “Describe how God has recently blessed you.” Each member of our group described an incident where we had prayed for something and God had answered. The second part of the question we left toward the end of the study, “What is a blessing?” After thinking this over with some sharing and discussion we realised each of our answers which described how God had made us more comfortable or happy may not necessarily have been what constituted a blessing. Surveying the Scriptures it can be deduced that a blessing is anything God orchestrates in our lives to bring us closer to Him in devotion which causes us to grow in holiness (Christ-likeness) and our joy in Him.
When we steward those things in our lives which make us more comfortable or happy so that we and others are drawn closer to God in devotion and holiness so that our joy is found in God, we are not only blessed, we are more importantly, a blessing to others.
Let’s learn the lessons from Uzziah-
  1. When he sought God, God blessed him.
  2. When he humbled himself he was open to pastoral guidance.
  3. When he began to succeed he saw it as a means to bless others.
  4. When he reached the pinnacle of his success he became proud and no longer took advice.
  5. In his arrogance he felt he no longer needed the Word of God, the House of God, or pastoral guidance.
  6. Uzziah became an increasingly angry man and this type of anger is an indication that a heart is no longer humble.
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. And King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death,
Second Chronicles 26:20-21a
If you're successful, thank God - in fact, seek God as to how He might want you to use your success to bless others. Guard your heart from pride by seeking the advice of trusted pastoral voices. Choose to live simply. I wish you success, but more importantly, I pray for your blessing by God.

Ps. Andrew

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