“Success Or Failure?”

April 24, 2015

Scenic view in Strasburg, PA (Click to enlarge)
Early yesterday morning we passed this scenic view in Strasburg, PA across from the Strasburg Railroad. Our part of the world is really getting green!
(Click on photo for larger view)

“Success Or Failure?”

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“He (Uzziah) sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success” (2 Chronicles 26:5). “But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God” (2 Chronicles 26:16).

How do we define success? A common formula is fame, power, prestige and money; ideally all of them for those striving for worldly success.

Today let us consider an Old Testament king who was identified as successful. King Uzziah is not one of the more famous kings but the entire 26th chapter of 2 Chronicles is devoted to his life. The Bible records the lives of these kings not only as history, but also for the lessons we can learn from them.

Uzziah began his reign as king at sixteen and ruled over Judah for fifty-two years. At the beginning of his reign he was under the instruction of Zechariah, who had a godly impact on the young king. Under his example and influence he sought the Lord and “as long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success”. Notice the nature of Zechariah’s teaching: “who instructed him in the fear of God”. Zechariah taught him that he had a God to whom he was accountable. That’s a lesson we all need to learn and hide deep in our hearts.

Uzziah’s success is described in verses 6-15. I like a tiny detail about his life: “he loved the soil” (v. 10). Another interesting verse states “In Jerusalem he made engines of war invented by skillful men to be on the towers and on the corners for the purpose of shooting arrows and great stones” (v.15a).

This section ends with this transitional phrase, “His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful” (v.15b). He would likely have continued to do well (ie. have success) for a time after this, but eventually it caught up with him.

His life took a sad turn summed up in our second daily text: “But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God.” He even tried some spiritual shenanigans such as entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense, something he was strictly forbidden to do.

This is an excellent example of one who is filled with pride. When an individual gets to thinking he or she is above the law of God, pride is at work in that person’s heart.

Uzziah’s downfall led to isolation and death by leprosy as described in v.21: “in a separate house—leprous, and banned from the temple of the Lord.”

Uzziah reminds us that we should always seek the Lord. Do not let your success (or apparent lack thereof) deceive you. The presumption of God’s blessings based upon the appearance of “success” is one of the great deceptions of the modern church. The first call of God in our lives is to seek Him (Matthew 6:33). God ever remains a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we consider the great honor granted Uzziah when he was crowned king at a young age. Due to the influence of Zechariah, he was taught in the ways of the Lord. You blessed, prospered, and honored him as he implemented godly principles and followed the commands of Scripture. But, much to his demise and that of the people he served, he took his eyes off Your truths and pride led to his downfall. Indulging pride entered his heart and its tentacles spread to his head giving him an inflated sense of self-importance which began the downward spiral. We’ve seen it many times when Christian leaders take their eyes off the Master they are serving and begin to think more highly of themselves than they ought. When pride creeps into our thoughts, help us to recognize it. Perhaps it will be a Scripture, a messenger sent from God, or a consequence resulting from our pride that will get our attention and get us back on track to recognize that all gifts, skills, knowledge and abilities come from You, not within ourselves. Keep us submitted to Your will and walking in Your ways all the days of our lives, in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

A Visit To The
Strasburg Railroad Maintenance Shop

Strasburg Railroad maintenance shop
Yesterday I had an “excuse” to visit the Strasburg Railroad Maintenance shop. Earlier in the morning I spoke to two roofers, Rodney and Ray, who told me they had an unusual roofing job; putting a new roof on a railroad car. I eagerly stopped by to greet them at their worksite.

Strasburg Railroad maintenance shop
Jeff is one of the engineers who also works in the shop. It was fun visiting with the employees, several who dressed like real old time rail yard workers, black soot and all.

Strasburg Railroad maintenance shop
The shop is restoring this old steam engine and has a full array of tool shop machines for the job. After all, you just won’t find these parts listed on EBay!

Strasburg Railroad maintenance shop
Big old rail wheels. Anyone believe they could bench press these!

Strasburg Railroad maintenance shop
Wouldn’t want to see this engine coming at me for real!

Amish seven mule tilling team near Bird In Hand PA 4/23/15
On the road again we passed this Amish farmer with a seven mule team tilling the soil.
We think Uzziah would have enjoyed this scene since “he loved the soil”!
(Click on photo for larger view.)

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Last night we saw this video and must not forget! Recant or Else: Saeed Faces New Psychological Torture

“Glorious Freedom”  Video  Gaither Vocal Band  This evening we are going with a group of friends to a concert at the Giant Center in Hershey with the Gaither Vocal Band and several others and sure hope to hear this song!

“Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Old Days)”  Video  The Isaacs (Another group we will hear tonight)

“There Is A Way”  Video  The Nelons  We will also hear this group!

Strasburg Railroad  The Strasburg Rail Road Company is America’s oldest short line railroad, incorporated in 1832. It still hauls freight but is now mostly a tourist railroad.

For the enthusiast here’s a site for their repair shop or watch this video

A bike train in the Poconos we hope to take in several weeks! Neat video with great song!

Finally today:

Blue Heeler with new pups 4/23/15Yesterday we stopped by to see some friends and their Blue Heeler just had puppies!

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