As often as I have watched the Olympic games, I have never seen a medal ceremony that included just the participants! It is those who finish, and finish well that are standing on the podium. There are examples of this all through the Bible. One such example is King Uzziah.
We often think of him in relationship with the great chapter, Isaiah 6, in the year that he died. But what are the lessons from this regal leader that are important for our lives today? Here are two verses that talk about his blessed beginning and his tragic end.
“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 26:5 ESV
“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
We hardly need to comment on this king’s life but the lessons we can learn demand that we take a good hard look at him, and at ourselves. The beginning of his kingship was marked by the presence of God. We read that he sought God, he received instruction and his life as blessed by the Lord. I am sure that if he lived in our day that he would have thousands of followers on his blog, his Facebook page and his Twitter account! Don’t miss that fact that God made him to prosper. It was not of his own doing, it was the work of God in his life and ministry.
Here is the difficult thing to understand: how is it possible that when Uzziah was nothing he sought God with all his heart BUT somehow he talked himself into believing that success was all about him and due to him! He thought that he was exempt from following God’s Word! Really? How did he fall into that trap?
Before we bring the hammer down to hard on King Uzziah, you and I need to realize that we are candidates to fall into that same temptation. We need to be reminded on a daily basis that God saves us, not only from our sins which is amazing enough, but dramatically transforms the habits of life so that He leads us to making better decisions in our use of time, money and talents. Nevertheless, we are prone to wander as Uzziah ultimately did.
The Apostle Paul talks about this very issue in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. He likens the Christian life to a runner competition. He tells us that all run in a race to win, not to be disqualified from it. Here is his conclusion, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:27, ESV).
As we grow in Him, somehow we are tempted to think it was because of our own smarts that improved our life! What! Really? How can we do that?
Let’s make it our goal to be always be totally dependent on the One who saved us everyday God gives us breath! We ought to live with the constant attitude of gratefulness to God for what He has done for us!