Thursday, July 2

Success and failure

Scripture: Isaiah 6-7, 2 Chronicles 26-27, Philemon

2 Chronicles 26:5 Uzziah sought God during the days of Zechariah, who taught him to fear God. And as long as the king sought guidance from the Lord, God gave him success.

2 Chronicles 26:16 But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall. He sinned against the Lord his God by entering the sanctuary of the Lord’s Temple and personally burning incense on the incense altar.

Observation

King Uzziah reigned for 52 years and was very successful for most of it, but he didn’t finish well.  

Zechariah the priest taught him to fear God.  And as long as Uzziah did that and sought guidance from the Lord, God gave him success.  

But after years of success and accumulating great wealth and power, Uzziah grew proud, and this led to his downfall.  He entered the Temple and burned incense, something only the priests were allowed to do.  God struck him with leprosy, and he ended his life in quarantine while his son ruled in his place.

Application

First, everyone needs a Zechariah.  We need people who will teach us and encourage us to love, serve and seek God.  Uzziah had Zechariah, and as long as Zechariah was in his life, Uzziah did well.  Paul had Barnabas.  Timothy had Paul.  I had Noel (and others).  We say that Christianity is a team sport—we can only play it together.  We need each other.  Do you have someone(s) who consistently encourages you spiritually?

Second, if you want success, seek guidance from the Lord.  Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us not to lean on our own wisdom, but to trust the Lord and acknowledge Him.  James 1:5 promises that if we need wisdom, we can ask God and He gives it generously.  God wants us to live in a trusting relationship with Him, and not try to do life on our own.  What are you facing that you need God’s help, God’s wisdom?  Are you seeking Him or trying to go it alone?

Third, pride comes before a fall.  When we experience success—especially repeated success—we can become proud, think that we’ve done it ourselves, and stop seeking God.  My very successful pastor once told me that he got where he was by following, and he didn’t intend to stop now.  Where have you grown over-confident and stopped seeking God’s help?  

Prayer: Lord, help me to always seek You and never grow proud and think I can do it on my own.  Thank you for good friends who remind me to seek you first.