Depending on God Subdues That Boastful Pride of Life-S6Ep10
This podcast covers Lesson 9 of Reboot Renew Rejoice Bible Study by Melanie Newton.
Depending on God Subdues That Boastful Pride of Life
Our God is so gracious in holding each person accountable for her own sin and not for the sin of her father or mother. Thank you, Lord! However, what is modeled by the parent almost always shows up in the daughter or son—eventually. This was the case in King Uzziah's life.
Uzziah started on the right track
King Uzziah lived about 120 years after his GGGgrandfather Jehoshaphat. As a 16-year-old new king, Uzziah started out doing what was right in the eyes of the Lord as his father Amaziah had done. During the early years of his life, he sought God and was instructed in the fear of God by a godly priest named Zechariah. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave Uzziah success. And, that's all God asks from us is to seek Him in faith. Sounds pretty easy, doesn't it? But our boastful pride of life gets in the way.
Uzziah was a very active king, working hard to benefit his nation. Like Solomon, Uzziah was a builder. He improved farming practices in his country because he loved the soil. He supplied his army well from the national armory. And, he had engineers design and build better defenses for the walls around his capital city Jerusalem.
But, that success opened the door for the boastful pride of life to rear its ugly head. Uzziah started believing his own press clippings. He also believed the lie that he was the author of his success. The Bible says that after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. In one hour, he ruined a prosperous lifetime as a successful king.
Pride led to his downfall
Uzziah disregarded God's instructions for who can enter the Holy Place of the Temple. That’s going inside the Temple doors to the first room where the lampstand, table of show bread, and altar of incense were located. The Temple belonged to God. He could make the rules. Only consecrated priests and levites could go inside the Holy Place. Uzziah knew this truth. Yet, he went in anyway to burn incense on the altar of incense. The Bible says that act was being unfaithful to the Lord his God.
The next thing we read is that he was confronted by 80 priests. 80! They must have been horrified. Well, Uzziah got angry because they were trying to get him out of the Holy Place quickly. God wasn’t too happy with Uzziah’s actions so while he was raging at the priests, probably making excuses for his behavior, the Lord afflicted him with a horrible skin disease called leprosy. These white, scaly skin splotches broke out on his forehead. This was bad. And, very noticeable. There is no way that Uzziah could not know that God was getting his attention! Instant consequence to his public disobedience as a leader.
Sadly, we don’t see any repentance. He just hid himself away for 10 years. Maybe he stayed angry at the Lord and didn’t seek healing. We saw how his GGGG grandfather Asa and his grandpa Joash had both become angry and bull-headed when reprimanded by God for a bad decision they made.
Uzziah got a long "timeout" for his bad behavior. Having leprosy removed Uzziah from public influence. Now he couldn't even go to the Temple courts. And, he was not even buried in the kings' tomb with David's other descendants. What a way to ruin a life! That boastful pride of life.
The strong pull of the pride of life
At 16, Uzziah's son Jotham became a co-ruler with his dad during those 10 years of “timeout.” Thankfully, Jotham did not follow his father's bad example. In fact, he learned from it.
The Bible says in 2 Chronicles 27,
"He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Uzziah had done, but unlike him he did not enter the Temple of the Lord." (2 Chronicles 27:7)
For 10 years, Jotham had seen the consequences of his father's sin, that ever-present leprosy. He must have determined in his heart not to do that sin of pride and rage. He grew powerful as a king because he walked steadfastly before the Lord, his God. He had the power of God’s presence with him. He embraced God’s presence.
Yet, though he was walking faithfully with God, Jotham wasn't able to lead his people spiritually to give up their corrupt practices. The people were still using hilltops to supposedly worship God with their own sacrifices. However, this had degraded into inclusion of Baal worship alongside worship of the Lord.
It had been 300 years since David lived. During that time, how many kings that we’ve studied tried to remove the high places only to have them show up again when the pressure was off? A bunch of them. They tried to do it. But, it is so hard to root out bad traditions. Like today's practice of incorporating the surrounding culture into the church. It looks harmless, but it isn't.
Sadly, Jotham didn't live very long. During his last 3 years as king, his son Ahaz was the acting king. But equally as sad, Jotham did not raise his son to be faithful to God.
Reading through 2 Chronicles chapter 28, you see quickly that Ahaz was very, very wicked! He made idols for Baal worship and worshiped them. He even sacrificed his own son to idols, something God forbid and never asked or even wanted His people to do.
Why did Ahaz do that? What would make a man do that?! Was it to go along with the people rather than fight against them? If so, that made him a bad leader. I'm wondering who his mother was, perhaps one of those foreign idol-worshiping women. As we’ve seen throughout this study, it matters who your mama is.
We learn a possible reason for his behavior from Isaiah chapter 7.
The prophet Isaiah spoke God’s words to the people of Judah during the lives of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. Three kings had plotted to attack and destroy Judah. The Bible says that when the house of David was told about the imminent attacks,
“The hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.” (Isaiah 7:2)
Ahaz was running scared. He’s panicking. So, God told Isaiah to tell Ahaz,
“Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart…” (Isaiah 7:4).
God said that what those kings plotted would not take place. It would not happen. So, stand firm in your faith, Ahaz. He had the power of God’s presence with him if he would just keep depending on God.
Then the Lord told Ahaz to ask Him for a sign. You know what sign God gave him? The one we read at Christmas every year.
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
Immanuel means God with us. Ahaz had God’s presence with him. He just needed to stay depending on God rather than run scared. But, Ahaz intentionally rejected God’s help and went from horrible to worse! The Lord lifted His hand of protection from Judah so enemies attacked. This was to humble the king and draw him back to God. Yet, in his time of trouble, King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the Lord. He offered sacrifices to the gods of Assyria, trying to get on the good side of the king of Assyria who was breathing down his neck. Ahaz shut the doors of the Lord's Temple and set up altars at every street corner in Jerusalem. In every town in Judah, he built high places to burn sacrifices to other gods and provoked the Lord, the God of his fathers, to anger.
Ahaz's boastful pride of life ran his life and directed his decisions. He did no one any good, least of all himself. The officials of Jerusalem must have hated him for closing the Temple. When he died, he wasn't buried with the other kings. Though the chronicler didn't say it here, I bet there was no regret when he died. That's the legacy of letting the boastful pride of life take control of your heart and direct your decisions. Not a good result.
Depending on God subdues the pride of life
The boastful pride of life isn’t just an Old Testament king thing. It is an always tempting facet of life on planet earth. Jesus’ disciple John writes about it in 1 John chapter 2. This is what he says,
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17)
That boastful pride of life. John makes it clear that anything that produces the pride of life comes from a love of the world. A love of the world and the world system exalts us in our thinking above our rightful place of God-dependence. It offers us the illusion of having God-like qualities so that we boast in arrogance, worldly wisdom and self-dependence. We fall under the deception of having control of our lives and those around us. That desire for control takes us away from God not toward Him. We rely on our academic knowledge and those initials before and after our names that indicate success in this world.
In the midst of even successful lives, God wants us to learn to rely on Him more than on ourselves. If you are a woman who has been reared in western culture, this is contrary to what you’ve been taught most of your life. To compensate for poor teaching in the past, women are taught from girlhood to “stand on your own two feet” and that “you don’t need anyone to be successful.” So, what does this relying on God look like?
Are we as Christians supposed to stay like babies not doing anything for ourselves? Does it mean we are supposed to just lie back and let anything happen to us? Does it mean we aren’t supposed to use our skills, talents, advantages, and opportunities to be the best we can be? No! That’s not what it means.
We are supposed to grow and mature in our thinking and behavior. God wants us to give to Him all the skills, talents, advantages, and opportunities and use them for His glory. That involves following His leading and guidance. It means submitting our strengths and our weaknesses to Him for His purposes in our lives.
Here is the key to this: Human parents raise their children to be less dependent on them and more independent. But, God raises His children to be less independent and more dependent on Him. Whatever He brings into our lives that makes us more dependent upon Him is good for us. The key to being a God-dependent woman is dependent living.
Dependent living is not weakness. It is being stronger and having more influence, success, and satisfaction than we could ever have through our own efforts—as brilliant and self-sufficient as we think we are or as weak and messed up as we think we are or anywhere in-between.
We learn how to do this as we act in obedience to the Word of God, depend on Jesus Christ for the power to do so, and trust Him with the results. This “dependent living” will make us stronger and more effective in life than we could ever be on our own. Why? Because we have the power of God’s presence at work in us and for us. Only depending on God will subdue that boastful pride of life.
Our God’s powerful presence helps us to reboot our lives, renew our commitment to Him, and live a life of rejoicing as a result. Why not depend on Him?
Let Jesus satisfy your heart with the power of His presence. Then, live in that power!
Until next time, I’m Melanie Newton. And, this is Series 6 of Satisfied.