Admitting You Can’t Do It Is Actually a Good Thing
Have you ever had a task thrust into your lap and you felt totally unprepared? Maybe you have a child born with a disability you weren’t expecting. Maybe it was a ministry God called you to and you were wondering what He was thinking. Maybe it’s just life and feeling totally overwhelmed by the everyday. Whatever the cause, we have all had moments when we feel that there is just no way that we can do what is being asked of us. We feel our human brokenness keenly.
While nobody really likes feeling unable or broken, it’s actually a really good place to be in. Why would I say that? Well, it is when we are in this humbled position that we turn to the One who can help. Without our self-sufficiency and pride to get in the way, we leave God with an open door to step into our lives.
Because that’s the thing – we need God every day even when we think we’ve got it under control.
A Young King Who Felt Unable
The last few weeks, I’ve been sharing some lessons we can all learn from the kings of Israel and Judah. You can read about King Joash and the importance of making your faith your own HERE, and you can read about King Amaziah and the importance of wholehearted devotion to God HERE.
Today, we are going to look at King Amaziah’s son, Uzziah. You can find his story in 2 Chronicles 26 and a more abbreviated version in 2 Kings 15:1-6. Don’t let the name change confuse you – Uzziah is called in 2 Chronicles, but he is referred to as Azariah in the version in 2 Kings.
Uzziah was only 16 years old when he became king, and he inherited the throne because his father was assassinated. While a 16 year old in Biblical times was much more of an adult than a 16 year old today, I’m sure Uzziah was overwhelmed with the task of becoming king. Uzziah was probably fearful, as well, since both his father and grandfather had been assassinated. Based on his own experiences, stepping onto the throne didn’t seem like the path to longevity.
God Came to a Young King’s Aid
Yet, here he was, king of a kingdom, so Uzziah did the only thing he could. He sought God.
He did right in the sight of the Lord according to all that his father Amaziah had done. He continued to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who had an understanding through the vision of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God prospered him.” 2 Chronicles 26:4-5
God prospered King Uzziah and gave him victory in his battles. It says that God helped Uzziah against the Philistines (a long time enemy of the Israelites), the Arabians and the Meunites. Even the Ammonites gave him tribute.
God Did More Than Expected
In verse 8, it says, “his fame extended to the border of Egypt, for he become very strong.”
Not only did Uzziah conquer in battle, but he also built up the cities in his kingdom and God blessed him with abundant livestock, fertile fields, and vineyards.
“He built towers in the wilderness and hewed many cisterns, for he had much livestock, both in the lowland and in the plain. he also had plowmen and vinedressers in the hill country and the fertile fields, for he loved the soil. 2 Chronicles 26:10
His army was one which everyone in the surrounding countryside admired and feared. They weren’t just fierce fighters either. His army had the best of gear, too, and he had skilled inventors who developed “engines of war.”
In verse 15, it says, “Hence his fame spread afar, for he was marvelously helped until he was strong.”
Uzziah realized he could not rule a kingdom alone, so he sought God, and God helped him.
A King Who Forgot Where His Success Came From
Unfortunately, once Uzziah became strong and well-known, he forgot where all that help came from.
“But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the Lord his God…” 2 Chronicles 26:16a
Instead of being thankful and remembering how he had gotten to this point in his life, Uzziah became puffed up with pride. He started to believe his own press. You’ll notice it says he acted corruptly and the result was that he was unfaithful to God. The reason for both those things was a proud heart. That pride became his downfall.
Uzziah got to the point where he felt he was above God’s rules, and so he went in to burn incense in the temple. This was a big no-no. Only consecrated priests were supposed to burn incense to God.
A King Who Once Sought God, Now Runs
When he was confronted by a contingent of priests, instead of repenting, Uzziah became enraged. He had gotten so proud and full of his own importance, Uzziah didn’t even realize the danger he was in. That is, until he looked down at the hand holding the censer and saw that it was covered in leprosy.
“Azariah, the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and he behold, he was leprous on his forehead; and they hurried him out of there, and he himself also hastened to get out because the Lord had smitten him.” 2 Chronicles 26:20
What a complete turn around – where once Uzziah had sought the Lord, now he was running from Him. All because of the pride that had corrupted his heart.
Uzziah’s rule started out the right way – a young man, overwhelmed by the burden of ruling a kingdom, sought God’s help. God helped him, but instead of being grateful, Uzziah started to believe his wealth and strength were through his own efforts and cleverness.
The Pitfalls of Pride
Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction; and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” Pride is something that can so easily creep into our lives. It’s tentacles can wrap themselves around our hearts without our hardly realizing it. Like Uzziah, even God’s gifts can get twisted into something that turn our hearts away from Him and toward our own agendas and plans.
Uzziah had it all – prosperity, renown, and military strength. In his success, Uzziah seemed untouchable. Yet, all of that couldn’t save him when he turned from God, the very One who had brought him to such a place of achievement.
In the end, Uzziah’s pride cost him, not just his health and his leadership role. but also separated him from God.
“King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death; and he lived in a separate house, being a leper, for he was cut off from the house of the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 26:21
The sad thing is, this didn’t have to be Uzziah’s fate. He could have chosen to humble himself, rather than continue in his pride.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.” I Peter 5:6
Rather than forcing God to humble us, let’s take the time to examine our own hearts and humble ourselves. The results are usually a lot less painful.
How about you – have their been areas where pride has crept into your life? Is that staunch self-sufficiency more about your pride? Do you insist on always being the helper and not the helped? Are you struggling with overwhelm because you are trusting your own understanding rather than leaning on God’s?