Summary: What's wrong with a little pride? Apparently quite a bit. Learn the effect pride had on King Uzziah, on you... and perhaps the influence it had one of the great prophets of the Old Testament.
OPEN: A man by the name of Keith Miller told of the time when his daughters were very young. They’d drop them off at the church's children's chapel on Sundays before the 11 am service. But one day Keith chanced to be in the class when the preacher was telling the story for the day to the kids.
The preacher was talking to the children about sheep. He said that sheep weren't very clever and needed lots of guidance and that a shepherd's job was to stay close to the sheep, protect them from wild animals and keep them from wandering off and doing foolish things that would get them hurt or killed.
He pointed to the children in the room and said that they were the sheep & needed lots of guidance.
Then the minister put his hands out to the side, palms up in a dramatic gesture, and with raised eyebrows said to the children, "If you are the sheep then who is the shepherd?"
He was pretty obviously indicating himself.
A silence of a few seconds followed.
Then a young visitor said," Jesus, Jesus is the shepherd."
The young minister, obviously caught by surprise, said to the boy, "Well, then, who am I?"
The little boy frowned thoughtfully and then said with a shrug "I guess you must be a sheep dog."
APPLY: That preacher had just experienced a humbling moment.
In his pride he literally felt upstaged by Jesus
He had been trying to teach the children that HE was the pastor of the church, the shepherd of the flock. But then he was faced with the obvious truth that Jesus was that true shepherd… and it flustered him.
Now, I don’t really think that preacher felt that he was equal with God… but in our text this morning, we read the story of King who thought he was pretty close.
His name was King Uzziah.
STORY: King Uzziah had the opportunity to be one of the greatest Kings in Israel’s history. II Chronicles 26:3-5 tells us:
“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.
He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Amaziah had done. 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.”
How was he successful?
He was a success as a builder.
He built towers in Jerusalem at the corner gate, and at the valley gate and at the turning of the wall, and he fortified them.
He also built towers in the desert, and dug a number of wells in low country, and in the plains because he had a lot of cattle, and people worked for him who raised livestock and others who kept his vineyards in the mountains, and in Carmel.
And he was a successful military leader.
It was he who finally conquered Israel’s arch enemy the Philistines.
He had a huge army of over 307,000 highly trained and well-equipped fighting men. His army was outfitted with shields, spears, helmets, body armor, bows, and slings.
And he had machines made that he put upon the towers and on the walls of his cities to shoot arrows and great stones at down upon any enemy.
His military might was so formidable that the Ammonites to the East paid him tribute. And his fame spread as far as Egypt.
And WHY did he have such power and influence?
Because God gave it to him.
“As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success.” 2Ch 26:5
Uzziah had the opportunity to become one of the greatest of Israel’s mightiest Kings.
But something went wrong.
Scripture tells us that “… 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.” 2 Chron. 26:16
Pride seems to be one of the things God hates most.
Proverbs 16:5 tells us “The LORD detests all the proud of heart”
Or as Peter writes: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 1 Peter 5:5
And Prov. 16:18 warns us “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
(PAUSE) But now… what’s wrong with a little pride?
I mean, can’t I be proud of my car… my home… my job?
Can’t I be proud of my family… my children?
(pulling out wallet) Have I shown the pictures of kids lately?
Can’t I be proud of what I’ve accomplished in life?
Well yes, I can be “proud” of those things. But there is one small caveat when I say I’m “proud” of those things: