Summary: A look at King Uzziah and the way that success must be handled with care lest we allow it to replace our perceived need for God in our lives.
1. Title: Too Good for God
3. Audience: Villa Heights Christian Church, AM crowd, 6-11-06, 4th in the series “The Kings and I”
-for the people to understand the dangers of success, its typical cycle, and how to break the cycle
-for the people to feel concerned for the need to keep success in perspective, determined to have God-centered goals, and to not forget what God has taught us through life and the examples of others
-for the people to look back on their own lives to see what God has taught them about success and to check their perspective on life and their goals against what God wants them to be doing
5. When I finish my sermon I want my audience to daily make choices of holiness over worldly success
6. Type: textual
7. Dominant Thought: God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble
Intro: NBC has sunk into last place, so now they’re going to play the lottery. This past Thursday, they introduced a new summer series called “Windfall.” I didn’t get to see it, but the previews told a little of the story. 20 people share a winning lottery ticket of about $18 million apiece. The effects are quick and dramatic.
• One married couple is giddy with the new wealth, but one of the other winners is the wife’s ex-lover. So, his wife becomes suspicious.
• One teen watches painfully, as her estranged parents argue about the money.
You get the impression that there are going to be big life changes, and many of them aren’t good. Laurie McCarthy, who created the show, says the characters are "drunk with possibility.” That “a win like this that’s so sudden and so monumental might ripple out in different ways with different people."
Others say the show is more of a “losing ticket.” Time, and ratings, will tell.
One thing’s for sure: many people have at least some interest in what it’s like to have your ship come in.
The subject at hand this morning is what happens to people when they experience success in life. There’s a good study of it through the life of the 9th king of Judah, King Uzziah – also called Azariah, whose story is in 2 Chron 26. The short version of his 52 years reign is like the other kings we’ve been looking at, v.4: He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Amaziah had done. He ruled at a time when Judah was at its strongest, and the major part of ch. 26 is a detail listing of all the things he accomplished.
He warred against the Philistines – long-time enemies of the Jews, and took over several of their towns. Then, he rebuilt towns, and moved in people of Judah to live among them. God also helped him against other enemies, so that Judah became strong.
Uzziah forced the Ammonites to pay tribute to him – kind of an extortion thing – Just picture some Jewish guy named Guido telling the Ammonite ambassador: “You should pay the king some big bucks, because it would be very regrettable if some unfortunate happenings were to disrupt the security of your cities.”
Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem and the desert to post lookouts against attacks. He dug cisterns in the desert to provide for livestock. He had people working the vineyards and fields – he loved the soil, and we can assume that the nation’s agricultural output increased. Read the 26th chapter and you’ll also come to understand that he had a well-organized, well-equipped, well-trained army. He even built machines to shoot arrows and large stones – ballistas and catapults, like the Romans would develop and use a few centuries later. The writer of Chronicles paints the picture of a godly, successful, talented, blessed leader. He was greatly helped by God.
v. 5b: As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success
You can almost hear how that’s an open-ended statement. “As long as he sought the LORD…” Sure enough, in v16, we read this:
v. 16a But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall.
Pride has led individuals into all kinds of behavior and downfalls through the centuries. We’ll look at a few this morning. There’s one that seems especially significant to me. It shouts to us just how serious an issue pride is, because it’s likely a passage that describes Satan’s transition from being a holy angel of heaven to the prince of darkness. It’s directed to the king of Babylon, and it may be the only information we have about where Satan came from.
How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.