Summary: Those who fear the Lord are blessed with God’s provision. Those who hear this message will be motivated to live in the fear of the Lord because of the many promises God makes to those who will do so.
The Benefits of Fearing the Lord (Part 3)
July 9/10, 2005
MAIN IDEA: Those who fear the Lord are blessed with God’s provision.
AIM: Those who hear this message will be motivated to live in the fear of the Lord because of the many promises God makes to those who will do so.
God instructs us to fear him for our own good. In the last couple messages in this series we’ve seen from scripture that God promises so much to those who would learn to fear Him.
2. INTIMACY WITH GOD
2Chr. 26:3 ¶ Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother’s name was Jecoliah; she was from Jerusalem.
2Chr. 26:4 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Amaziah had done.
2Chr. 26:5 He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success.
King Uzziah, made king at the age of 16, received instruction in the fear of the Lord, and was encouraged to always seek the Lord’s wisdom and ways before making decisions. This practice led to his success. He had a long term as king (over 50 years!) and the nation followed the Lord during his reign.
Note the last sentence of verse 5 – “as long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success.” Unfortunately Uzziah ended his life in shame due to his pride and the judgment God brought upon him – but what we learn here is that it didn’t need to be that way! Had he kept fearing the Lord he could have enjoyed success to the end of his days.
This description of Uzziah’s success because of his fear of the Lord and seeking God’s wisdom before making decisions reminds me of another great hero of the faith: Joseph.
Joseph was the second youngest of 12 brothers, and he was favored by his parents, and because of this his brothers grew to hate him and in sold him into slavery after one particularly painful episode with Joseph. We pick up the story of his life in Gen. 39…
Gen. 39:1-5 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.
The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the LORD was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field.
But as the story progresses it almost seems Joseph is TOO blessed because of his relationship with God – and Potiphar’s wife begins to desire Joseph in a physical way. When Joseph refuses out of honor to his master and out of respect for God, she makes up a story about how he tried to rape her.
Gen. 39:20-23 Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.
But while Joseph was there in the prison, the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.
Notice what God provided and what God did NOT provide:
He provided SUCCESS wherever the circumstances of Joseph’s life took him.
He did not provide ESCAPE from difficult circumstances.
Joseph was sold into slavery.
He was wrongly accused and sent to prison.
But even in the midst of these times, the Lord was still with him. The Lord was preparing him for his role to save the people from the famine that was to come upon the entire region. And so he was granted success.
So what was success?
It was measured as favor in the eyes of others. It meant others considered him trustworthy. It meant that even in the midst of extreme trials he was rising to the top.