For those of you reading this who attend ALCC you know that this past Sunday I began a new series of sermons centered around the life of Daniel, with courage being our focus. I’m excited to examine how God’s word can equip us to rise above the fear that seems to be abundant in today’s world. While circumstances that produce fear abound I am truly convinced that while fear may always be a part of our lives we are intended to be courageous and act valiantly in the face of that fear.
In the preparation for this series I came across another biblical character that shows what can happen on the other end of the spectrum. 2 Chronicles tells us the story of a King that ruled Judah named Uzziah. Uzziah had a great start and in the early years of his leadership he moved Judah away from idolatry and back towards a right relationship with God. However, an all to common thing happened as God blessed Uzziah.
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. 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. 2 Chronicles 26:15–16 (ESV)
In his weakness Uzziah trusted in the Lord and was made strong. However, once gaining the throne, conquering all of the nations that threatened Judah, gaining fame and position, Uzziah grew proud as if by his own ability he accomplished these things. Had Uzziah remained humble the length and strength of his leadership might have been legendary but due to his pride and the loss of his humility God placed leprosy upon Uzziah and he lived the rest of his life isolated and alone.
Here at ALCC we are experiencing God’s blessing with so many new people just this past week that it’s beginning to be difficult to even recognize who’s new and who’s been here a while. Since May we have had 66 adults that have indicated that they are here to stay! This doesn’t include the children that are in these families just the adults. We are stretched for space in every way. Even after creating the early service and having about 125 people move we are once again running out of space at the 10:30 service. In many ways we are being blessed like Uzziah was, but unlike Uzziah we will not grow proud to our destruction.
The same is true on an individual level. Do you think that your success came because you deserved it? Was it your work or your intellect or your skill that caused you to advance? The moment you begin to believe that you deserve the good things in your life you are moving into dangerous territory.
Everything good comes from the Lord.
Every blessing, every skill, every resource, every warmth, every comfort. If humility and gratitude fills your heart for the blessings that surround you then you are a candidate for even greater blessing. Start thinking that they belong to you and that you earned them and they can be gone in a blink.