Amaziah is replaced by his son Uzziah. He was 16 when the people of Judah made him king. And he walked with the Lord for a while.
I went straight for my favorite marker again; was this king faithful to the Lord. “And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done” (verse 4) sets the tone for his story. Amaziah was a ‘good starter and a poor finisher’. From this very verse I have a feeling that Uzziah is going to be a poor finisher too. Our reading today tells us he is a good starter though.
How prepared was this young man to be a king? Had his father told him he would be the next king? Had he received any training? Zechariah became his advisor, both spiritually and politically. And as a Levite he would advise the king with the Law of the Lord. You couldn’t get any better help, no matter how far and wide you searched.
Uzziah followed the instructions of Zechariah. He was also a very rounded individual. He loved gardening. He was an inventor. He was a strategic planner. He was devoted to his kingdom. And he loved his God.
God prospered Uzziah in all he did and He blessed the nation of Judah. This was in direct response to how Uzziah kept close to Him. God blessed Judah’s military with numbers and victories. God made the land produce abundantly. God blessed the herds of the field. And He blessed the works of the people’s hands.
We are coming up to an important point. The point of a “but” in Uzziah’s life. A point where he is “strong.” The point where he believes he has outgrown the need of humility. He believes his own press and credits all his success to himself instead of the true source, God. A point where he believes he is above all other men. Uzziah’s pride is about to bring him down.
Before this point though he is an amazing king! He follows the Lord like few before him. He is a king I would like to meet. I wonder if he will be in Heaven. Did he repent of his sin? Did Jesus’ blood wash his sin clean? That is a story and questions for another day.
When thinking about our story the phrase “A rags to riches” story popped into my head. But Uzziah was the son of the king of Judah. He wasn’t ‘poor’ in the sense of money. He was however ‘poor’ in the ways of the world. He was a very young man when he was made king. He probably had little to no responsibility up to that point. His father had run off to Lachish and had been returned to Jerusalem, DEAD. Uzziah had a LOT to learn! He was given excellent teachers and he learned his lessons well. He went from child king to known man throughout the region. In the world’s eyes and in his own, he had made it! He was on top of the world. I LOVE how he got there! Just not what happened at the pinnacle.
I wonder how old Uzziah is when he reaches this pinnacle. Was he nearing the end of his life or was he still in its prime? He was apparently not an ‘overnight success’ story. He had years to build his people up. Years to make fortifications stronger. Years to cultivate the best crops. Years to breed the best sheep and goats. Years to wage war against the enemies of the Lord. And years to make a name for himself among the nations. After reading to the point of “but” in his story, I don’t want to “arrive” at any age!
Father God, thank You for the good king You gave Judah during the early years of Uzziah. Many of them had ‘good’ early years. For them, I say, Thank You! They were the foundation You built upon to continue Your work in bring Jesus into the world. Thank You that You NEVER turned loose of Your plans and kept working with man until the time was right. You never had a “but” moment. You had an “and then” moment instead.
Those are the kinds of moments I want in my life Father. Places where You have brought me to that are just the beginnings of what You have in store for me to do next. Places where I squeeze Your hand just a bit tighter as we step into the next phase of Your plan for my life. Places where I KNOW Who is my source and my Rock. Thank You for each of those places that we have already walked. I look forward to seeing what the future ones hold. PLEASE don’t let me come to a “but” place EVER. Yet when I do, please help me remember to fall on my knees before You and ask for forgiveness. Then help me rise again and continue my journey with You. Don’t let my ‘but’ ever be my ending.