WEEK OF JANUARY 7TH-13TH
WHEN STRENGTH IS WEAKNESS
From the world’s perspective, strength is a universal and undisputed positive quality. It is admired in every realm of life-from the successful business leader to the Olympic athlete. And it brings with it honor and prestige.
Yet, when it comes to our spiritual health and vitality, strength can very quickly become our greatest enemy. Rather than humble dependence on God, we choose to rely on our own vision, or previous success or mere resilience in the face of adversity. But God’s word reminds us that we must stay WEAK if we want to know His power and fruit being produced in our lives.
It was said of King Uzziah, the tenth king of Judah, “And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done” (2 Chronicles 26:4). As a result, “God helped him” (26:7) against Judah’s strong enemy armies and “his fame spread as far as the entrance of Egypt, for he became exceedingly strong” (26:8) “So his fame spread far and wide, for he was marvelously helped till he became strong.’ (26:15)
NOTICE the last phrase, God helped him, “until he became strong.” And look at the next statement in the biblical account, “But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the LORD his God.” Clearly, Uzziah’s power and achievements went to his head.
Four Signs that you are Too Strong
As we reflect on Uzziah’s rise to prominence and his tragic forfeiture of God’s blessing, what can we learn? I see four lessons.
Loss of godly Counsel – 2 Chronicles 26:5 tells us one of the secrets of Uzziah’s success: “He sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God; and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper.” Uzziah enjoyed the godly counsel of a prophet who instructed him in the fear of the Lord. Somewhere along the line, it appears that Zechariah died and Uzziah took a tragic turn to pride and self-will. We all need godly counsel our entire lives. Who are the “Zechariah’s “ in your life today? How often do you seek their advice?
Lack of Accountability – Uzziah’s selfish aspirations soon overpowered his spiritual accountability. He even rebuffed the warnings of 81 godly priests (26:17-18). He began to believe that he could break the rules and get away with it. How willing are you to submit to godly counsel when it goes against what you want or think you deserve?
Love for perceived privileges – like seawater, power and affluence demand that you keep drinking more, to your own demise. Uzziah could not be content with life in Judah; he wanted what other kings had. There is always someone out there with more prominence, possessions, talent or toys. Godliness with contentment is great gain (I Timothy 6:6). How has God blessed you with more than you deserve? Cherish those blessings humbly.
Lethargy toward the Holiness of God – Ultimately, it seems that Uzziah’s success became his idol, completely eclipsing his grasp of the holiness of God. He became more interested in exercising his royal rights than doing what was right in the sight of God. Yet God’s holiness remained, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on the throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple….And one cried to another and said, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of his glory!”
When Isaiah saw this vision he said, “Woe is me, for I am undone…”
At the root of our self-destruction, self-reliance is the disregard for a holy God. Uzziah hardened his heart toward God’s holiness. Isaiah humbled his heart toward God’s holiness. Uzziah chose calamity. Isaiah received cleaning.
Beware that Strength can become a weakness and weakness can become a strength (when it leads to greater dependence on God.)