Is there a Better Way to Live?
And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper. – 2 Chronicles 26:4-5 (ESV)
A young pastor was around the corner when he overheard his son speaking to three of his best friends. The boys were bragging about their respective fathers. The 1st boy said, “My dad knows the mayor.” The 2nd boy said, “My dad knows the governor.” The 3rd boy said, “My dad knows the Vice President.” The pastor/father felt terrible because he didn’t know anyone important. At this moment, he heard his son say, “That’s nothing, my dad knows God.”
Early in his life, King Uzziah “sought God” and “God made him prosper.” Knowing God and following God was a priority for him. Some have said, “It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, it is how you play the game.” That sounds very noble and good, but that doesn’t apply to life very well. In 2 Chronicles, King Uzziah started well but didn’t finish well. Uzziah reigned for fifty-two years, taking the throne as a teenager. For many years his reign was impressive, but something happened and the results were tragic, both nationally and personally.
As long as you put God first in your life, Jesus said that you should not be worried about what you’re going to eat, what you’re going to drink, and what you’re going to wear. For after these things do the pagans worry. But “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you”( Matthew 6:33 ). What are some of the ways you are seeking God first?
Thank God for inviting you into His family and His kingdom. Ask God to show you any areas of your life where you are not seeking Him first
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. – 2 Chronicles 26:15 (ESV)
Muhammad Ali was a boxer known for such colorful statements as “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” On a 1980 Eastern Airlines flight from Washington DC to New York City, Ali had a vivid exchange with the flight attendant. Just before takeoff on an airplane flight, the stewardess reminded Ali to fasten his seat belt. “Superman don’t need no seat belt,” replied Ali. “Superman don’t need no airplane either,” said the flight attendant.
Ali needed help to fly and King Uzziah needed God’s help to lead. Uzziah means “My strength is Jehovah.” It also means God is my helper. God “marvelously helped” King Uzziah experienced great success economically, militarily, and politically. That help lasted until Uzziah became strong. That was the beginning of the end. Uzziah had everything he had because of God’s provision and strength.
Jesus is our model of how to use our God-given power and success. In John 13:3, “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands and that he had come from God and was going back to God…” (John 13:3) The very next thing Jesus did was take a towel, tie it around His waist, and wash the disciples’ feet. Jesus’ humility showed itself because Jesus knew Who He was. He had come from God, He was going back to God, and all things belong to Him. He viewed His worth in relation to His God, the Father. How has God helped you experience success? How have you used that success to serve others?
Praise God for some of the times He has “wondrously helped” you. Ask Him to show you how He wants to use your success to bless others.
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. – 2 Chronicles 26:16 (ESV)
Can you imagine being king at just 16 years old? Louise Braille was just 15 years old when he invented what is known as braille, a system of raised dots for the blind to read. Fourteen-year-old Laura Dekker, sailed around the world by herself in a 38-foot boat. A young Pakistani girl was just 17 years old when she shared the Nobel Peace Prize. This young girl was attacked for standing up for women’s right to education against the Taliban in Pakistan. Alexander the Great founded his first colony at the age of 16.
That much success at such a young age would be tough for any of us to have and remain humble. King Uzziah was 16 when he became king and was probably in his late 40s with a lifetime of unmitigated success in nearly everything he touched when we get to 2 Chronicles 26. Uzziah had the “Midas touch” if you will. It was then the king overstepped his authority, “But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction.” (2 Chronicles 26:16a).
The chief sin of the seven deadly sins is pride. All the other vices work under this chief vice, the vice of pride. Pride is a spirit, an attitude, of independence from God that says, “I don’t need you, God. Stay out of my life. I can handle it myself.” Have there been times in life when you have thought you could find success without God? How did that ultimately work out?
Thank God for the gentle and not-so-gentle reminders from the Holy Spirit when you drift into pride. Ask God to show you any areas of your life where you may be arrogant.
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.” – 2 Chronicles 26:17-18 (ESV)
My high school basketball coach gave our whole team a copy of the poem, Invictus, my senior year. A portion of it reads, “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.” Whenever I hear someone quote those words, I feel like saying, “Captain, your ship is about to sink.” Again, pride is a spirit of independence from God. (Source Unknown)
In 2 Chronicles 26, 81 brave priests tried to warn King Uzziah of his unfaithfulness to God and his sinking ship. They warned him that there would be grave consequences but he was so prideful he wouldn’t listen. Proverbs 16:18 teaches, “Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall.” Uzziah would fall hard. God sent people to warn him but he refused to listen.
Are you teachable? Sometimes we are so busy trying to justify ourselves and our actions that we don’t stop to listen to what God may be saying to us through others. One of God’s greatest gifts to us is godly friends who will encourage and warn us as it relates to God’s best.
Thank God for the godly people in your life who you can trust to give you good advice. Ask God to keep your heart tender toward those who love you enough to tell you the truth.
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. – 2 Chronicles 26:21 (ESV)
Have you ever noticed that pride is so easy to see in someone else but so hard to see in yourself? A Sunday School teacher was teaching a parable of Jesus about two men who go into the temple to pray. The Sunday School teacher told the little children that the first man, the Pharisee, stood by himself and prayed this: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get” (Luke 18:11b-12). And Jesus said that one man went home justified rather than the other.
The Sunday School teacher was teaching this lesson and she had done a wonderful job, but when she finished she beamed and looked out at her scholars in her class and said, “And children, aren’t we grateful we’re not like that old Pharisee?” Now you see, she was proud of her humility.
Pride is so easy to see in someone else, but pride hides when we look in the mirror. It’s easy to look at the life of King Uzziah and see how pride took him down a destructive path. But is it easy to see it growing in our hearts?
Do you pray regularly? You say, “Well, I don’t pray as much as I ought to.” Your forgetting to pray is not your great problem; your great problem is you don’t feel a need to pray. When you move through your day and your life without prayer, you’re saying, “I can handle it. Everything is going fine.” Your prayerlessness is a spirit of independence from God. And, if you’re wrestling with prayerlessness, what you’re wrestling with is pride.
Thank God for the light that His Word sheds on your heart so you can see where you are spiritually. Thank God for loving you enough to give you mercy when you fail and the grace to grow