Starting and Finishing Well
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 80:1-7 | 2 Chronicles 26:1 – 28:27 | Romans 13:1-14 | Proverbs 20:11
Today’s Scripture Focus: 2 Chronicles 26:1 – 28:27
“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” (2 Chronicles 26:4-5, NIV).
Uzziah was off to a great start. Things were going extremely well, maybe too well. Then he crashed and had a hard time finishing the race. He had good intentions and a great start, but lost his way near the end of the race.
Uzziah, the King of Judah, started out young—he started out well. One of the keys to the race is finding the right advisors. He had a great one: Zechariah. “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.”
Don’t underestimate the importance of spiritual advisors in your life, people who will guide you on the path of “reverent obedience” to “live a godly life” (The Message, 26:5). Apparently, Uzziah’s “crash and burn” came after Zechariah had left the scene. But as he was instructed and guided by his chief “spiritual director,” Zechariah, he was successful. Uzziah’s good start also points out the importance of a good theology of God.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10). A.W. Tozer said: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” (The Knowledge of the Holy, p. 7). He taught that our understanding of God affects our every action. Uzziah is a good example of that, both positively and negatively. When he feared God (reverent awe, not cowering fear), he obeyed and was successful. When he lost the rightful reverence of God, he grew arrogant and proud and careless.
Uzziah’s “crash and burn” came because of his pride. Eugene Peterson paraphrases it well: “Everything seemed to go his way. But then the strength and success went to his head. Arrogant and proud, he fell” (The Message, 15, 16). Lofty thoughts of God led to his success. Lofty thoughts about himself led to his downfall.
Knowing God deeply and intimately is the key to life lived to the full—having right attitudes toward him is the beginning of wisdom. When we become the object of our worship, instead of the God who created us and is the source of all our blessings, we set ourselves up for the same tragic end. Keep your eyes on Jesus the author and finisher or your faith, and everything else is kept in its right perspective. That gets us on the right path, and keeps us there all the way to the finish line.
Holy God, help me to fear you rightly: not in a cowering, servile fear, but in reverent awe that leads to worship and wisdom. Root out the pride and selfishness that will only lead to a fall. Help me to lean on you and walk in the power of your Spirit. In the name of Jesus. Amen.