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The Pride of Uzziah

When I read it (the Bible text) , I was struggling with the lesson. The talk about four or five different kings there, and there's not a lot of material on each one of them to really get ahold of and carry a lesson for the length of time we want to carry it. So in my Bible it shows reference verses and it says also that the acts were also written in 11 Chronicles. So I went to 11 Chronicles 26 and that is where our reading is going to be this morning. I don't plan on covering the Chronicles as a book as we have the book of Kings because of the repetition, but when I have opportunity I delve into it for reference. But this morning will be the first time we have deviated from chapter by chapter in Kings or any of our books for that matter, but I felt like that's OK. Change isn't that bad.

So, if you would please turn to (2 Chronicles 26)

I apologize once again for changing gears on you and switching to here but there is a more detailed account of this king than what there is in 11 Kings. As some of you were listening, there are some pretty interesting things this guy did. He reigned for 52 years. That was a pretty long time. I believe up until that point that he reigned more than any other king. The purpose this morning of the lesson is going to be the pride of Uzziah.

It's very important that we remain and guard against pride. When I started looking into this lesson, I didn't want to teach it. I guess pride is a problem for everybody in some way, shape, or form, but for me it's an extra problem. That's one of my weakest points. It's just the way I was made, I guess, to the point of my character thinking more highly of myself than I should think.

Wednesday night I was able to go to Midway (church) and preach there, and that was my first experience outside of this church. I was caused to reminisce with one of my coaches from when I was in high school. After we had our message and singing we were having punch and cookies afterwards, and I could hear him across the room. Their fellowship hall is not that big and I could hear him talking to one of the members about me when I played. I didn't think about this until later when I started putting all my stuff together and thinking back to that night. I heard him talking about me and my chest started raising. I liked what I was hearing because he was talking good. It's just an instant reaction for me. When I hear good things about myself I think 'Yeah! Yeah! That's right.' You may not have that problem but I do and I admit it. I mean that I'm so bad that I'm humble and proud of it. (laughter) Have you heard of that?

There again, maybe that's not you but this lesson is going to be tough for me because I see me all through this and I'm not proud of that. You see, that was one of the things that kept me from coming to the Lord any sooner than I did. I was too proud. I didn't want people to know that I did wrong. Does that make any sense? It really doesn't when you think about it, but at the time it did. I didn't want anybody to know that I had failed or that I was wrong or that I was a sinner. Many people battle that today. Pride is a horrible thing used in the wrong way.

I think that since Solomon we haven't seen a king quite as prosperous as this guy. He had a lot going for him. His name meant 'Jehovah is my strength.' Even his name was trying to help this guy to understand that it wasn't him, to try to deflect that pride that was going to end up destroying him. But even with the namesake he didn't succeed in the end. His kingdom and his influence expanded. He provided irrigation for crops and developed a new machine which threw rocks and shot arrows. He was a very industrious man. He was given gifts from foreign kings. He was a foreign diplomat. He was a good guy. He had everything going for him. He loved husbandry. He liked to grow things. He was a gardener. He had many talents. For you see, God had blessed him abundantly. This man, this influence, this king: it wasn't him, it was God.

He was made ruler when he was 16-years-old. Can you imagine when you were 16. Just think back seriously for just a minute. For some of you it is going to be a pretty good stretch and it wasn't many years ago for some of you. I'm in the group where it is going to be a pretty good stretch. Sixteen-years- old! Go in you mind's eye and think about it. Could you have run a kingdom? Could you be president of the United States? (laughter) Remember, our lesson is on pride this morning. (laughter) Seriously though, at 16, like Uncle Randy, I would have shook my head, 'Oh yeah,' because that's when I had all the answers to all the questions. So this guy was 16 when he took over and he did some great and wonderful things.

Verse 4 of our text shows the important thing that he did. He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord according to all that his father had done. In verse 5 he sought God in the days of Zechariah who had understanding and a vision of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper. There is the key. It wasn't that he was a great guy. It wasn't that he was a great gardener or had military might or a great diplomat. It said he done that which was right in the sight of the Lord and as long as that was going on, God prospered him. It came from God not from him.

Verse 6 says he warred against the Philistines. In Verse 7 God helped him against the Philistines. Every successful thing this man had done directly related to his relationship and fellowship with the almighty God. Does that sound familiar to you this morning? It did to me. For you see everything that is good in my life, I can directly relate it to my heavenly Father, and in doing so that takes credit away from me. Now my flesh doesn't like that. My flesh likes to hear how great Randall is. My flesh likes to hear how good Randall is doing.

When I was in the hospital waiting for them to come and x-ray me, three gentlemen walked in. It was the emergency room so they had the drapes pulled. The first guy who came in, I thought, was a union rep. He had on a shirt like you all have seen me wear, a denim shirt with a Southwestern Bell logo on the side. He was clean, you know, there were no stains or cuts or nicks, so I just automatically figured he was the union guy. They are executives, and they don't get out and mix with the poles, fences, and all the dogs, and that's why I assumed who he was. I didn't have a clue who the second man was. He had no identification on. I knew who the third guy was. He was my boss' boss. So I automatically think, 'they're here to get my statement on what happened.' I was so glad that I had two witnesses on the scene that came to me and said, 'We saw that guy run that red light,' because that got me out of a jam.

So I'm just laying there-- half there. They had already given me that muscle relaxer and it was kicking in. These guys walked up and said, 'How you (continued...)

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