Saturday, July 07, 2012

July 7, 2012 … The Downfall of Success

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Kings 15 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Chronicles 26 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: 2nd Kings 15: 1-5:[NIV] … 1 In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam II, king of Israel, Uzziah, son of Amaziah, king of Judah began to reign. 2 He was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother's name was Jekoliah; she was from Jerusalem. 3 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. 4 The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there. 5 The Lord afflicted the king with leprosy until the day he died; and he lived in a separate house. Jotham the king's son had charge of the palace and governed the people of the land.
Highlight Passage #2: 2nd Chronicles 26: 16-19 :[NIV] … 16 But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.17 Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the Lord followed him in.18 They confronted King Uzziah and said, "It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the Lord God." 19 Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the Lord's temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead.

My Journal for Today: A couple of days ago (July 5) in reading through 2nd Kings and 2nd Chronicles, I was reminded of the story of one of Judah’s kings, Amaziah, who had done a lot of good things in leading God’s people in the southern kingdoms of Israel; but he didn’t go far enough to rid the kingdom of the high places of idol worship. And also, in defeating the Edomites and their mountain stronghold, Amaziah became prideful; and it was his ultimate downfall. In that July 5th devotional [check it out!], I entitled my journal entry, ”Pride Goes Before A Fall” because Amaziah let his pride and arrogance get in the way of his complete surrender to God in leading God’s people. And he paid the price of God’s wrath in his time.

Well, apparently Amaziah’s son, Uzziah, didn’t learn a lot of Godly wisdom from observing his father, because when Uzziah became king in Judah, he ended up repeating a lot of his daddy’s mistakes as well as his successes. Uzziah, did a lot of good in his 52 year reign in Judah; but like his father, he let his pride and partial devotion to God’s will and ways get in the way of ruling as God’s word as well as from the advice of the priests who advised him.

It’s one thing as a follower of God to disobey and give only partial allegiance to God’s written word. But God’s anointed leaders and teachers are held to a higher standard by God’ and Uzziah, as it was with Amaziah, his father, were not able to give – voluntarily – what God demands of His leaders – i.e., the full and last measure of devotion. And as you can read in the highlight passages I’ve copied above, Uzziah ultimately was brought down for his half-hearted worship and prideful leadership by contracting (from the hand of God) leprosy, living out the last years of his rule in quarantine and having to have his son be the co-regent of Judah until Uzziah’s death.

Lesson: … We as Christians must give our all to our God – especially if we’ve been called out and/or raised up to be leaders in the kingdom of God. Really, Jesus said as much to His disciples in Luke 9: 23 (which I’m assuming by now you have memorized, since I have quoted it so often in my journal entries). Okay, I’ll remind you; … Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he (or she) must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

Are you, as I am, doing a self inventory right now? Are we living up to what God wants of His disciples? Are we giving our 100% of devotion (i.e., worship) to God by the way we live? Are we being “living sacrifices,” as Paul wrote in Romans 12: 1-2, in the way we live … 24/7? My friend, as a called-out leader in God’s kingdom - as an Elder in my church and the leader of a discipleship ministry, I’m under deep conviction by God word, more specifically my devotional on July 5th and today, to give more and become the “living sacrifice” I’m called to be as the leader God has charged me to become. But merely as a follower of Jesus Christ, I need to do more to deny myself, to avoid prideful arrogance, and to simply and devotedly follow Jesus.

Are you with me?

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I pray that all who read with me here are doing all we can to be or become living sacrifices to Your calling for our lives. Amen

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