2 Chronicles 26:6-15
I read a Youth Bible that suggested what fun it must be to be 16, and king, and have everyone obey your decrees. What might be the first law you would pass? Maybe one banning homework!!
Leaving that trivial thought behind, we do see that Uzziah was a highly successful man. He was good at battling and building. He grew rich and powerful and famous (6-8). He had various interests and abilities. The last part of (10) reads like this in The Message: – he loved growing things. (I make the observation that unfortunately the growth of his inner world did not keep pace with his burgeoning outward success, and it was to be his undoing.) The passage shows also that he was a resourceful military leader (11-15): He also installed the latest in military technology on the towers and corners of Jerusalem for shooting arrows and hurling stones (15a). The Message.
However, it is also transparently clear that Uzziah’s success was God-given (5b, 7 and 15b). He became great with the great help of God.
Now success can go to your head. You can start to read and believe your ‘reviews’. Major league success can be a dangerous thing. You can easily forget who it was who gave you the success and (perhaps subtly at first) lose your sense of dependence. The danger, however, is that we should become strong in our own conceit, and credit ourselves with the position which is due to the grace of God alone…God cannot trust some of us with prosperity and success, because our nature could not stand them. F.B.Meyer: Great verses through the Bible, p.159. A man was writing about a friend, a colleague in ministry, and he said he had always wondered why this guy, with his great gifts, hadn’t become prominent. He had conducted a fairly ordinary looking ministry and had not appeared to achieve anything spectacular. One day he happened to mention this to his friend. The man replied with a disarming, humble honesty, saying that he believed God had denied him such success because He knew he wouldn’t be able to handle it. Warren Wiersbe writes: ‘The starting point in Uzziah’s success was his seeking God and wanting to do his will (v.5)…The turning point was his pride (v.16)’: With the Word, p.247. Everything seemed to go his way. But then the strength and success went to his head. Arrogant and proud, he fell. The Message.
Here, then, are the ‘take homes’ from today’s passage:
- Be a man/woman of prayer;
- Get your success from God;
- Give God all the glory for every good thing that happens in your ministry;
- Stay, humble and obedient;
- It is possible to be in great blessing today, and in disgrace tomorrow. (No wonder Paul said he beat his body and made it his slave, so that after preaching to others he would not himself be a castaway: 1 Cor.9:27).
A wonderful song says something like this: While walking in this world, we are nothing in ourselves; but God’s chosen to use us in His mighty will. And the Master’s plan requires human instruments, but they must not ever glorify themselves…All the glory must be to the Lord…