home > Pastor’s Desk > 2016 > February 26th> He Had It All

The Rise And Rise And Rise And Fall Of Uzziah

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) with a gift he received from Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah during a meeting at the king's farm outside Riyadh June 3, 2009. REUTERS/Larry Downing (SAUDI ARABIA POLITICS ROYALS)Uzziah had it all! Wealth, women, power, and fame were all his to enjoy. He was made King at the ripe old age of 16 and perhaps unlike most teenagers who are the recipients of instant fame and fortune, he sought out an older and wiser advisor to help him rule. Under the tutelage of this advisor Uzziah went from strength to strength…

¶ And all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king instead of his father Amaziah.
Second Chronicles 26:5

But something was growing in his heart as his success grew. It was dark but it was the kind of darkness that only the light of success can reveal. Eventually his success exposed his dark heart and led to his very sudden and tragic demise.

THE VALUE OF A PASTOR

And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done.
Second Chronicles 26:4

Andrew CorbettIn his early days, Uzziah maximised his pastoral relationship with Zechariah. He was humble enough to trust his pastor and implement his advice. This is a great formula for taking advantage of God’s gift of a pastor to your life (1. Humility, 2. Trust, 3. Implement). Uzziah was able to achieve success in his life and work beyond anything he could have imagined.

¶ He went out and made war against the Philistines and broke through the wall of Gath and the wall of Jabneh and the wall of Ashdod, and he built cities in the territory of Ashdod and elsewhere among the Philistines. God helped him against the Philistines and against the Arabians who lived in Gurbaal and against the Meunites. The Ammonites paid tribute to Uzziah, and his fame spread even to the border of Egypt, for he became very strong.
Second Chronicles 26:6-8

Any wise advisor is a valuable contributor to your life – but particularly if their advice is implemented. For those who have learned to increase their reception of God’s preached Word there is great value added to their life. For the church attender who has learned the art of attentiveness when the Word is ministered there is the oft and timely deposit of wisdom gems to deal with clear and present life-challenges. This most frequently transacts without the preacher even being aware of it. Then there are the advisors whom God gifts to us in a more direct and private manner. To these people we can present our large or small dilemmas and receive their counsel. One of the traits of a humble person is that they receive and implement such trusted advice. When Uzziah did he succeeded.

WHEN SUCCESS IS A CURSE

In Jerusalem he made machines, invented by skillful men, to be on the towers and the corners, to shoot arrows and great stones. And his fame spread far, for he was marvelously helped, till he was strong.
Second Chronicles 26:15

Success has been the ruin of many people. There is something profoundly unwelcome yet beneficial about struggling. The person who has learned to struggle for what’s right, for what should be, for what must happen, is the person who has become all the stronger for it. The parent who is frustrated and fed up with their children for not doing the right thing, or what they should be doing, or what must happen, and ceases to struggle to change this, is the parent who denies themselves strength and delight – not to mention that they deprive their children the blessing of boundaries (which they crave). Life’s richest treasures can only be acquired on the road of struggle and toil.

Conversely, whenever someone achieves without struggle or toil, it almost invariably leads them to become at least somewhat conceited and proud. Perhaps this is why many lotto winners end up financially worse off within three years of winning their millions than they were before they won the lotto!

Wealth gained hastily will dwindle,
but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.
Proverbs 13:11

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,”
Romans 5:3-4

King Uzziah’s success had come about because he sought God, was humble enough to receive his pastor’s guidance, and walked in the wisdom of Biblical counsel. But when he became successful he became infected by its curse.

¶ But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the LORD his God and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.
Second Chronicles 26:16

WHEN BAD HAPPENS

Bad things happen to good people. Many of the Psalmists puzzled over this (Psalm 73:3ff). But bad things also happen because of bad choices. King Uzziah had been blessed more than most other Kings of Judah or Israel – yet he made some horribly bad choices toward the end of his life. It seems that the older we get the more difficult it is to finish well by continuing to remain humble, teachable, and correctable.

But Azariah the priest went in after him, with eighty priests of the LORD who were men of valor, and they withstood King Uzziah and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Go out of the sanctuary, for you have done wrong, and it will bring you no honor from the LORD God.”
Second Chronicles 26:17-18

When the ministry team attempted to correct Uzziah, his pride triggered his anger (the two are closely linked). An angry person is rarely a humble person.

Then Uzziah was angry. Now he had a censer in his hand to burn incense, and when he became angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead in the presence of the priests in the house of the LORD, by the altar of incense.
Second Chronicles 26:19

IT’S NOT HOW YOU START BUT HOW YOU FINISH

King Uzziah’s rise and rise and then fall is an all-too-common narrative throughout history. The Apostle Paul wrote to son in the faith, Timothy, and set before him a goal to finish the race (of life) well (2Tim. 4:7). The choices you make today determine how you will finish life’s race. Will you finish life well and be prepared for eternity and the eternal consequences of the choices you made in this life?

¶ He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
Romans 2:6-8

WHEN SUCCESS IS A BLESSING

Last night in our Bible Study group we opened with a two-part question, “Describe how God has recently blessed you.” Each member of our group described an incident where we had prayed for something and God had answered. The second part of the question we left toward the end of the study, “What is a blessing?” After thinking this over with some sharing and discussion we realised each of our answers which described how God had made us more comfortable or happy may not necessarily have been what constituted a blessing. Surveying the Scriptures it can be deduced that a blessing is anything God orchestrates in our lives to bring us closer to Him in devotion which causes us to grow in holiness (Christ-likeness) and our joy in Him.

When we steward those things in our lives which make us more comfortable or happy so that we and others are drawn closer to God in devotion and holiness so that our joy is found in God, we are not only blessed, we are more importantly, a blessing to others.

Let’s learn the lessons from Uzziah-

  1. When he sought God, God blessed him.
  2. When he humbled himself he was open to pastoral guidance.
  3. When he began to succeed he saw it as a means to bless others.
  4. When he reached the pinnacle of his success he became proud and no longer took advice.
  5. In his arrogance he felt he no longer needed the Word of God, the House of God, or pastoral guidance.
  6. Uzziah became an increasingly angry man and this type of anger is an indication that a heart is no longer humble.

And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and behold, he was leprous in his forehead! And they rushed him out quickly, and he himself hurried to go out, because the LORD had struck him. And King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death.
Second Chronicles 26:20-21a

If you’re successful, thank God – in fact, seek God as to how He might want you to use your success to bless others. Guard your heart from pride by seeking the advice of trusted pastoral voices. Choose to live simply. I wish you success, but more importantly, I pray for your blessing by God.

Amen.

Your Pastor,

Andrew

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AMAZING ACCESS

Anyone who has attended a large event such as the recent Will Graham Outreach event that was held at the Launceston Silverdome would be familiar with the varying levels of access that are provided to staff and volunteers associated with this type of event. The security system used included identification in the form of different coloured shirts, prayer volunteer cards, and all access cards that permitted access to the entire venue with no questions asked by security personnel. This is like the access level that God has to our lives. Being omnipresent, He has unhindered access to every aspect of our lives. He knows our innermost thoughts, sees all that we do, hears all that we say. God has the ultimate ‘all access’ card.

WHY FINDING TRUTH MATTERS

How can we determine whether a claim is true or false? Some people think there are different kinds of truth — my truth, their truth, and your truth. But how do they know that their assessment of truth is true? After all, their assessment – that there is my/their/your truth might just be based on their truth rather than the truth. Truth has certain qualities that distinguishes it from what is false-
 Truth corresponds to reality.
 Truth is verifiable (that is, if it is true, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
 Truth is falsifiable (that is, if it is false, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
 Truth is sometimes testable (that is, claims that are experiential can be tested by experience – including scientific claims, historic claims, and existential claims).
We have good reasons for the believing that the Bible is true because it is the divinely inspired, reliable and authoritative Word of God which has been superintendedly preserved by the Holy Spirit (read more about this).

THE 5 MOST IMPORTANT YEARS OF ANYONE’S LIFE

Parents, Kids Church leaders, and Christian school teachers should be intentional about shaping children to be fully devoted followers of Christ who have reasons for believing Christianity is true – which shapes them into virtuous contributors to society and to find their role in God’s Kingdom. This will be one of the necessary and indispensable means for the Church to fulfil the Great Commission of Christ.

TIME- YOU CAN’T CONTROL IT – BUT YOU CAN LEARN FROM IT

We live in a fast paced world. We expect things to happen quickly. None of us like to be kept waiting. Even when we order something online we expect it delivered straight away. Some of us having to work two or even three jobs just to be able to pay the bills. We describe ourselves as time-poor. Yet, we all get twenty-four-hours in a day. Sixty-minutes in an hour. And sixty-seconds in a minute. Most of us need to adjust how we see, understand, and treat our time. This will involve, what will be for some, adopting a foreign and largely unaccustomed view of time that involves worship, sabbath, and deepening relationships. From this biblical perspective we will come to see time as a gift from God, not a curse, or source of frustration. Within this gift of time God teaches us how to worship in those times when it is difficult to do so. Rather than thinking this divine gift of time is ours to do with what ever we want, God uses this gift to teach us that we should gift it back to Him beginning with (but not limited to) treating Sunday as a sabbath to come together to recommit our hearts, voices, minds, and presence with God’s people, back to God. God gives us passing time to learn to deepen relationships – especially with our kin, and our friends. Time is meant for relationship building. 

I AM WHO I AM BUT I AM NOT WHO I USED TO BE BUT I AM NOT YET WHO I WILL BE

One of the greatest lies that the would-be enemy of all our souls attempts to perpetuate is that we are what we are and we can never change. This lie is whispered into the ears of many people’s invisible ears so imperceptibly that they actually think it originated with them. “You were born this way – and you can never change”, “This is who you really are – and you can never change”, “There’s no hope of anything ever changing for better – so you might as well just kill yourself” and so on. But these sly alien voices inside the heads of the vulnerable are lies. People can change. People do change. Some circumstances were always going to be temporary and were always going to change. I know this is true because I am living proof. I am who I am but I am not who I used to be and I am not yet who I will be.

WHO DOES THIS EPHESIANS FELLA THINK HE IS?!

It may well still be the best-selling book of all time – and continues year-by-year to be so – but certainly is not the best-read of our current times! If there was ever any doubt about this, the events this week in Hobart, at St. Mary’s (Catholic) College Girl’s School, should remove all doubt! A furore erupted over the news that the prescribed Scripture reading for the year-end graduation celebration, which incorporated a Mass, was “Wives submit to your husbands” taken from Ephesians. Callers into ABC radio’s breakfast program decried this assault against women – especially young, vulnerable girls. One caller, responding to the news that the text being used was a citation from Ephesians, denounced Ephesians and apparently demanded, “Just who does this Ephesians bloke think he is?!” Another caller stated, “Why are they quoting ancient Roman philosophers in the twenty-first century?!” And yet another caller somehow linked all religious wars to passages like this one in the Bible! He remarked, “I’m an atheist. All wars are started by those who are religious! No war was ever started by atheists!” (Perhaps he had never heard of Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Vladimir Putin, who were collectively responsible for the deaths of over 20,000,000?) This furore led to the Archbishop conceding that the Ephesians passage did not have to be used at the graduation ceremony. But this furore has highlighted just how unaware many Tasmanians are about what the Bible is, what is actually says, and why it says it. And I am now about to correct this deficiency.  

THE LORD IS MY ROCK

Of the many tributes paid to her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, was the often noted reflection that during her reign the world underwent a series of rapid changes that were dramatic and unprecedented in human history. There were technological inventions that revolutionised the way people could access international travel options enabling them to be virtually anywhere in the world within a matter of hours. New forms of communication emerged with the development of a global satellite communications network enabling people to watch Neil Armstrong take his one giant leap Live on their black-and-white TV screens (as I did in the corridors of Corio Primary School in 1969). Space exploration, the stuff previously just in the realm of science fiction writers, became a reality with manned and unmanned voyages to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. But the past one hundred years have also been a time of great upheaval with empires crumbling, governments toppled, wars waged, genocides committed, pandemics raging, nations birthed, rulers assassinated, and massive refugee movements from oppressive Islamic and Communist regimes. Added to this has been the demise of professional journalism and the rise of internet-citizen-journalism where it is now common for TV News reports to feature footage taken from someone’s cell-phone which was posted on social media rather than the more expensive option of sending their own film crew there. And while we’re mentioning the internet, let’s not forget to mention – the internet. This alone has possibly been the most monumental change in the way people communicate, work, learn, and shop. But while it was noted that the Queen had witnessed all of these many changes, it was also noted that the Queen herself was an unchanging constant during all these upheavals who brought about a sense of stability, peace and reassurance. To millions of people around the world, she was their rock in a world of turmoil and change. Yet this was only possible because she herself had an immovable, dependable rock upon which she had built her life.

WHO BUILDS A CITY ON A HILL?

home > Pastor's Desk > 2022 > October 7th > Who Builds A City On A HillFor those who don’t know, I was born in Geelong, and have always been fan of the Geelong Football Club. But I’m not just a fan, I’m a paid-up member of the Club. In fact, I’m a student...

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This is not for everyone. If you are already a parent, this is not for you. Instead of reading this I suggest you read one of my other more abstract Pastor’s Desk articles. If you are not a parent and have no intention of ever being a parent, this is not for you. Instead of reading this I suggest you read one of my more weighty articles on FindingTruthMatters.org. If you are not yet a parent and one day hope to become a parent, this is for you. Find a quiet place, take the next six minutes thirteen seconds and use the reading of this article as an investment into your future parenting strategies. I did not invent these guidelines. Like many parents who have also discovered the value of these guidelines, once discovered, they seem obvious. These successful parents probably grew up with own parents who inculcated these guidelines almost intuitively. However, my suspicion is that this is becoming increasingly rarer. As with all true guidelines they are adaptable, flexible, and are not a guarantee of parental success — but if ignored they become the point in the mathematical problem solving where you can see you made an error in your working out. In other words, while these guidelines may not guarantee success, if ignored their neglect almost certainly leads to frustration and disappointment. Here are five indispensable guidelines for every prospective new parent.

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