Thursday, February 24, 2011

Be Scared of Success

"But when he was strong, he grew proud to his destruction." - 2 Chronicles 26:16, ESV

Uzziah became king of Judah at the age of sixteen.  Sixteen.  During the year that sixteen-year-olds dream about getting their drivers licenses Uzziah was becoming king of a nation.  And here's a beautiful statement about him: "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" (26:4-5, ESV).  At a young age he sought after God.  God's response to Uzziah's search for him was this: ...God made him prosper.  In fact, the writer of 2 Chronicles goes on to say that "his fame spread far, for he was marvelously helped, till he was strong" (26:15, ESV).  

And that's where his downfall began.  He became strong.  But the thing is this: what made him think that he was strong.  The fact that he had prospered so much is because God made him prosper.  He didn't cause the prosperity.  He merely rode the wave of success and prosperity that God granted to him.  The only problem is that he crashed.

Uzziah started out so well, but it didn't last.  He was unfaithful to the LORD.  And his life ended far away from where it began.  In fact, Scripture goes on to tell us that "the LORD had struck him.  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" (26:20b-21, ESV).  He was excluded.  What a horrible thing to experience.  David, the second king of Israel, said this about the house of the LORD:

"One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple." (Psalm 27:4)

Here are two things that came to mind as I looked at and prayed through this passage:

1).  Start off seeking God.  It's not about seeking more religious piety.  It's not about searching for your self-identity.  It's about starting out on a search for God.  But in reality, this search can never stop or else one falls into the trap of thinking that they have arrived.  I search to find Christ.  When I find him I find salvation.  After that, the game of hide and seek begins.  What a rush it truly is.

2).  Fear God.  I am so thankful that I have been invited into fearing God.  I know that sounds weird, but it is so true.  In fact, the writer of Proverbs says this about fearing God:

  • "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction" (1:7, ESV).

  • "The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied, he will not be visited by harm" (19:23, ESV).

Those who say they don't fear God (including many Christians who have made God into their personal genie), miss the important lessons about God from the beginning.  On top of that, they never find true rest or real life.  Fear of God causes one to remain humble.

Jesus - please keep me reverently in fear of you so that I might finish the race that you have marked out for me to run, so that I might truly experience life, and that I might truly enter into your rest, humbly.

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