Heb 11:6 “...anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”
God have given us a promise, that if we seek Him earnestly, we shall be rewarded.
• This is an offer with a guarantee returns
The question is not whether you attend church or how much do you know the Scriptures.
• Although theses are important, it does not make us necessarily seekers of God.
• God says He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
This truth was proven in Uzziah’s life – [read 2 Chron 26:1-8].
Uzziah became one of the most successful and powerful kings in Judah’s history.
• He reigned for 52 long years, the longest of the 8 good kings in the Southern Kingdom.
• And was only 16 years old when he was made king.
He had a good instructor – Prophet Zechariah (not the major prophet who wrote the book).
• 2 Chron 26:5 - The prophet instructed him in the fear of God.
• And “as long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.”
Uzziah took the initiative to seek God. The word ‘sought’ appears twice in verse 5.
• He was conscious of his weakness and his inability to rule Judah rightly in his own strength.
• This humble recognition of need was the key to his success. He knew he needed God’s help.
And the Lord kept His part of the promise – He will reward those who seek Him.
Uzziah had unparalleled success –
• He was able to overcome his enemies – the Philistines, the Arabs, and the Meunites.
• Even the powerful Ammonites came to pay tribute.
• His fame spreads as far as Egypt.
• He was the first biblical king to be credited as “very powerful”
He had exceptional wisdom – [read 2 Chron 26:9-15].
• He built towers at strategic locations to keep watch against attacks, and fortified the walls.
• He dug cisterns to provide water for the livestock, and cultivated the fertile lands.
• He trained his army and organized them into divisions (battalions).
• In Israel’s history, only his army was described as “a powerful force” (26:13)
Never before in Judah’s history did kings arm their soldiers with arsenal like Uzziah did.
• Slingstones were added to the conventional weapons of shield and spear, armour and bow.
• He invented new war machines for use on the towers to shoot arrows and hurl large stones.
Look, in v.8 “he became very powerful”; v.13 he has a “powerful force”; v.15 “he became powerful.”
• Uzziah was rich and powerful, capable and very intelligent.
• He was an all-rounder – an engineer, a cultivator of crops (v.10 he loved the soil), and a warrior.
Yet the Bible did not compliment him; did not tell us how good or wise he was.
In fact, the Bible wanted to stress one point – just in case we missed the point - that God helped him
26:5 “God gave him success.”
26:7 “God helped him.”
26:15 “for he was greatly helped”
• No wonder he was rich – “he had much livestock in the foothills and in the plain” (v.10), and many fertile lands.
• No wonder he was so successful – his fame traveled all the way to Egypt.
But WHY? Why did God bless him so much? Verse 5 has the answer.
• The four words that come before ‘God gave him success’ is the key.
• HE SOUGHT THE LORD. And the 3 words that come before this qualifies it
• AS LONG AS. When he continues to seek God, God continues to PROSPER him. It was difficult for anyone or anything to bring him down.
It would be nice if the story ended here, but the Bible is an honest book.
• In fact, there is a hint here in verse 5 that he stopped seeking God one day.
• Verse 16 is a sad verse. [Read 2 Chron 26:16-23].
Uzziah’s life took a sudden dive – he became so proud that he ignored God’s ways.
• 81 ‘courageous’ priests could not stop him from doing what God forbids.
• After all, he was the King – the master builder and conqueror, famous throughout the world.
• Nobody was going to tell him what to do! And he can do anything he wants.
It was ironic that what led to his heart being proud were the blessings of God.
• He was helped by God so much that he became extremely powerful.
• He commanded a huge army. He had vast vineyards and farmlands, countless sheep and cattle, and smart men helping him.
• He was successful in everything he does and his fame spread everywhere. In fact, there was no other king as successful as he was, since the days of Solomon.
BUT instead of being humbled by God’s blessings, and thanking God for them, he began to think that he had had something to do with all these success.
• He lost sight of what had made him strong in the first place.
• He began to believe that it was HIS talent and HIS leadership that had accomplished it.
• Verse 16 says “He was unfaithful to the Lord his God…”
Uzziah’s story is a warning to us all.
• Do not allow the blessings of God color our vision and cause us to turn our eyes away from the Giver.
• Don’t be too preoccupied with the gifts – look at how successful I am; how talented, look at my grades, look at how much I’ve achieved – and be so filled with SELF that God is pushed out.
Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, recognised as America’s #1 Manager for making his corporation one of the most valuable company in the world, was interviewed by Fortune Magazine on its 75th Anniversary - “What was the best advice he ever got?”
“It was in 1979 or 1980. I was on the board of GE for the first time. I had just gone to my first or second board meeting and at a party for the directors afterwards, Paul Astin, the former chairman of Coke, came up to me. He said to me, “Jack, don’t forget who you are and how you got here.”
… ‘The Best Advice I Ever Got,’ Fortune 21 March 2005
“Remember who you are and how you got here.”
• How we respond to the Lord’s blessings makes all the difference.
• Blessings can either humble us and draw us closer to God, or allow us to become full of pride and self-sufficiency.
Alex Haley, the author of Roots, has a picture in his office, showing a turtle sitting atop a fence. The picture is there to remind him of a lesson he learned long ago: “If you see a turtle on a fence post, you know he had some help.”
Haley said, "Every time I write something significant, and begin to feel proud of myself, I’ll look at the turtle on top of the fence post and remember that he didn’t get there on his own. He had some help.”
God knew from the beginning how prone we are to fall away when we are successful, so He had Moses warn the Israelites before they entered the land of Canaan.
Deut 8:11-18 “11 Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me." 18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which He swore to your forefathers, as it is today.”
Imagine the danger of it! The blessings in life can cause our hearts to become proud and stop seeking God.
• Pride is a very dangerous thing – it was the first sin.
• Before the earth itself was created, Lucifer – the most beautiful created angel (Ezek 28) – allowed pride to twist his senses and went against God.
• There was no devil to tempt him. Pride led him to rebel against God, and he was cast out of heaven.
James 4:6 “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
• The Bible did not say that God resists a drunkard, a thief, or even a murderer, but He does resist the proud.
• Every kind of sin can be forgiven and cleansed if we humble ourselves and confess it to the Lord.
• But pride has a corrupting quality that keeps us from sensing our need for God’s grace.
Uzziah did not have the last word – God has.
• Leprosy broke out on his forehead (v.19) – the only king with leprosy.
• The priests hurried him out – in fact, he himself wanted to get out because of God’s harsh judgment.
• He had leprosy for the rest of his life, until he died.
• And he wasn’t buried with the other kings in the royal cemetery, despite all that he had accomplished.
Do you want to be remembered for the good things you’ve done, or the bad?
• Don’t let pride sips into your life.
• People remember King Uzziah this way: “He had leprosy” – that’s the last word.
Illustration - God is the last piece in a puzzle. No matter what you do with the puzzle, withtout the last piece something is amiss and the picture can never be complete and beautiful. Only when we recognise the role God plays in our life can we find life fulfilling and wonderful.
1. SEEK GOD EARNESTLY
• He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. As long as you seek Him, He will grant you success. Don’t doubt Him. Uzziah has proven it to be true.
2. GOD DESIRES OBEDIENCE
• God desires obedience, more than just sacrifices. Uzziah did the same mistake as King Saul (1 Sam 15:22).
• No matter how great we have become one day, God’s Word needs to be obeyed.
• The Bible describes the godly kings as doing “what was right in the eyes of the Lord.”
• Matt 5:23-24 “23 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
3. GOD HATES A PRIDEFUL HEART
• James 4:6 “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
• Pride indicates self-reliance instead of reliance upon God.
• Prov 26:12 “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”
• God is able to discern very clearly between a proud spirit and a humble heart.