Title: Finishing Well!
Text: II Chron 25-26
(Playing the role of citizen under Uzziah’s leadership)
It was the final hole of the 1961 Masters tournament, and I had a one-stroke lead and had just hit a very satisfying tee shot. I felt I was in pretty good shape. As I approached my ball, I saw an old friend standing at the edge of the gallery. He motioned me over, stuck out his hand and said, Congratulations." I took his hand and shook it, but as soon as I did, I knew I had lost my focus. On my next two shots, I hit the ball into a sand trap, then put it over the edge of the green. I missed a putt and lost the Masters. You don’t forget a mistake like that; you just learnfrom it and become determined that you will never do that again. I haven’t in the 30 years since.
- This is the direction we are going in this morning. I want to show that it’s not always how we start in life that’s important, but it’s how we finish.
- We are going to discover some life lessons that we can learn from two kings, who both started out great but ended with tragedy. They fell into a trap that we all fall into from time to time.
- The trap that this particular sale man uses on people when selling his items, he would say: "Let me show you something several of your neighbors said you couldn’t afford."
- It’s the mentality of overconfidence, pride and presumption.
- I want to play the role of a citizen in the time of the two kings, and attempt to show you what he saw from these two kings of Judah.
Playing The Role Of The Citizen: (Narrative Sermon)
- Amaziah was King of Judah and I can remember when he took power 29 years ago. He was just 25 years old and full of energy.
- He was an okay King, doing right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly.
- Meaning he began well but later fell into idolatry (vs 14) He did not determine to follow God with all his heart.
- There is some important lessons to be learned, but I will discuss this later.
- Amaziah was a man that started well as a King and man of God, but then become unpopular with his own people, meaning me, and was forced into exile.
- He went to a place called Lachish but was not even safe there, for a band of assassins found him, killed him, and brought his body back for burial. Not a great finish to anyone’s life.
- Uzziah was now my King, and I thought for a king he looked a bite young, but the people elevated him to kingship when he was only 16 years old.
- Uzziah was a good king, but not an outstanding one.
- There was no revival during his reign but he was a good king. (II Chron 26:4-5)
- Uzziah reigned for a long period of time, 52 years in all.
- Now I knew that God was with our young king because God rewarded his godliness with success in serval areas.
- Areas that included great military adventures.
- He destroyed the Philistine towns of Gath, Jabneh, and Ashdod and rebuilt others in the region.
- He was a good looking man, one who feared the Lord (vs 1-5)
- It seemed that God blessed everything that he touched and it was apparent that God was with Him and helping him in a great way. (Vs 6-7)
- I wasn’t complaining because if God was helping our king, the blessings usually had a way of falling on the people, people like me and my family
- I guess you could say, I was excited as to the direction we were going.
- He became a forceful figure and was very logical in his building techniques.
- He created great designs for our city and was instrumental in developing our weapons to help protect us.
- He was a strong, creative, forceful warrior and we all loved his accomplishments. (Vs 8-15)
- Things were going not to bad, people kept to themselves and were doing there own thing.
- I would like to say things were going great, but there was no real presence of the Lord. I knew the Lord was with our king, but it just seemed something was missing.
- People were not totally devoted to God, there was still evil going on, and the king seemed to be unconcerned about there Spiritual destiny.
- It seemed he was more focused on building a name for himself then pleasing God.
- And it was easy for me to say that, but I couldn’t say it was fact. I was only assuming this was the case concerning our king.
- But then it happened, my theory about the king was true. The motivation behind all he was doing finally came out.
- Pride came into his heart, and also a disrespect for authority concerning God’s servants. (Vs 16-19)
- What happened was he went into the temple, the holy place where only the priests were to go, and he offered incense to the Lord.
- Sounds harmless, but if you don’t know Jehovah God, that type of act is an abomination to Him.
- When the priests tried to warn him that this was wrong, he became angry which lead to him to isolation.
- You see the when the priests tried to tell him that this was wrong, our king wouldn’t listen, so then the Lord smote him with leprousy and it started on his
- He became a leper and it was so bad that he had to be quarantined until he died.
- He started off great and did great things, but what was inside of him and his father was that of overconfidence, pride and presumption.
- Uzziah ended in disgrace.
- Both kings taught me something. I have learned valuable lessons from them both and they are:
Point 1: The Importance Of Trusting In God (II Chron 25:9-11)
- Looking at our first king, I learned how important it is to trust in God with everything.
- Even if it means going back on a decision that I have made in order to make my relationship right with God.
- Our king was worried about the money he gave to hire the men from Israel, but the man of God answered him saying that if you trust in God and do what is right, God will bless you for it.
- I was so proud of our king when he obeyed God and sent the hired men back to Israel.
- Our king didn’t need to place his trust in man power just in God. When he placed his trust in God, God gave him the victory over the children of Seir.
- My challenge to you this morning, are you trusting in God for everything, or are you trusting in your own ability?
- Have you made decisions recently that need to be changed in order to line up your life with God’s will for you?
- The Bible says that if we trust God to this capacity that he will bless us and give us the victory. Translated to today, God will turn your situation around and make everything that is bad, good.
- All because you honor God with trusting in Him.
Point 2: The Importance Of Obedience To God (II Chron 25:14)
- I was proud of our king for trusting in God and committing himself to Jehovah God, but after he came back from destroying the Edomites, he brought back there gods and worshiped them.
- To this day, I still don’t understand why he did such a detestable thing in the sight of God.
- Now I thought to myself, what was going to happen? Was God going to punish us? Were we going to be overtaken by another clan? What was going to happen?
- I knew the Lord was angry at our king that He sent him a prophet in hopes that our king would repent.
- But it didn’t happen, in fact he goes off the deep end and puts us into civil war with Israel. (Remember the Kingdom is split in two: Judah and Israel)
- This civil war was because our king would not listen and repent. We all suffered because of one man’s lack of obedience.
- Of coarse it was an easy victory for Israel, it was God’s way of dealing with us and our king.
- Anger broke out in Jerusalem, and they conspired against the king.
- Our king fled to Lachish, but they found him and killed him there and brought him back on horses to have him buried.
- My point is, when we don’t obey the Lord, we fall into judgment.
- Nations fall into judgment because of disobedience, families fall into judgment, and the result is things go out of control.
- I determined that day to follow the Lord, so that not only myself would be okay, but my family and friends around me would be okay.
- The decision of one person can have devastating consequences if it is done in disobedience.
Point 3: The Importance Of One God, One Way
John 14: 6 says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”
- Now I look at his son, he was young and everyone was still trying to get the bitter taste out of there mouths from his father’s disobedience.
- Again I mentioned he started off great, but ended poorly.
- Uzziah had tried to come to God in his own way, and he became a leper.
- I call that the sin of presumption.
- Theirs is only one way to God, and that is through Jesus Christ.
- Any other religion that tells people there are other ways to God are wrong and are preaching false religion, meaning it’s not true.
- There is only one God, and one way to get to Heaven.
- There is only one way to enter God’s presence, and it must be done His way.
- That’s through serving people, respecting people in authority, Uzziah didn’t do that with regards to the priests.
- It’s obeying God and doing His will, denying yourself and taking up your cross and following Him.
- There is no other way of doing things, it must be done His way.
- We can get caught up doing things are own way, thinking that I will be alright, when in reality it’s not alright.
- What does God’s word say about family, church order, authority in government and church, serving other people, ministry, your mindset.
- Ask yourself, does it line up with the Bible? If it doesn’t are you willing to change it? If not then learn from point 4 as I conclude:
Point 4: The Importance Of Pride
- Both kings had pride, it is something that all of us struggle with.
- But I learned to recognize it and see first hand how pride can destroy my family, friends, ministry and my personal life.
- The first king was full of pride and over confidence that it got him killed, and it plunged us into civil war.
- Uzziah was to proud to heed to authority, and it got him a fatal disease called lepersy.
- Pride is not a good thing, and when not respected it will destroy you and everything around you.
- God wants us to be humble and follow Him with a submissive heart.
- A heart that is dependent on Him and not ourselves.
- We can accomplish nothing on our own, everything comes from God.
- I found first hand that it’s important to acknowledge that very truth.
- I close with this story:
During the Battle of the Wilderness in the Civil War, Union general John Sedgwick was inspecting his troops. At one point he came to a parapet, over which he gazed out in the direction of the enemy. His officers suggested that this was unwise and perhaps he ought to duck while passing the parapet. "Nonsense," snapped the general. "They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist--." A moment later Sedgwick fell to the ground, fatally wounded.
- Pride can fatally wound you if you are not careful. But not only pride, but also not trusting in God, not obeying God, and living the sin of presumption, meaning finding other ways to God.
- Lets understand that God is a merciful God, lets respond with love towards Him and not self centeredness.