Daily Devotional December 23
“But when Uzziah had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall.” (2 Chronicles 26:16a)
How many times, as we read through the ancient kings of Judah in the biblical books of Kings and Chronicles, do we discover kings whose reigns began well, but ended in ruin?
Joash began his 40 year rule at the age of seven, having escaped being slaughtered by his own grandmother, Athaliah. Under the watchful eye of Jehoida the priest, he was faithful to serve God and even restored the Temple. But the Bible reports that once Jehoida died, Joash listened to other advisors–he abandoned the Temple, began worshiping idols and rejected the warnings of the prophets. God warned King Joash of His displeasure through Zechariah, Jehoida’s son. Joash’s response? He had Zechariah stoned in the courtyard of the Temple!
The next king, Joash’s son, Amaziah also began well but he never fully trusted God. He made unholy alliances and also turned to worshiping the idols of his defeated armies. He listened to the prophets of God when it suited him and threatened to kill them when it didn’t. At some point in his 29 year reign he gave up all pretense of serving God; his life ended at the hands of assassins.
The sixteen year old, Uzziah, son of Amaziah, found himself rising to the position of king–a position he held for 52 years. Just as his father and grandfather had done, Uzziah’s reign started off well. Unlike his father and grandfather, Uzziah never turned to worshiping idols, however, he too fell out of favour with God. It is said that, “pride comes before a fall,” and we find out just how true this statement turned out to be in the life of Uzziah. Uzziah’s fault was not in deciding to worship other gods, but in viewing himself as being above needing to follow God’s prescribed means of worship. Much to the dismay of the priests, Uzziah took upon himself the role of priest by entering the sanctuary of the Temple to burn incense. King Uzziah’s furious retort at the priests’ admonishment turned to horror as God struck him with leprosy for his disregard of God’s instructions.
Each of these kings shared a similar fault, they ‘outgrew’ their reliance on God, much the same way that a growing child outgrows his/her clothes. The shared faith that had resulted in their early successes as king was discarded as they came to rely on their own abilities and began to divert credit for their successes from God onto themselves.
They serve as a much needed warning for us as Christ-followers. When young and inexperienced, their reliance on God and obedience to Him ensured their success. But then they ‘grew-up’...and became foolish as they turned away from observing God’s laws and trusting Him for their successes. Let us never outgrow our faith in God and desire to obey Him fully.
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!