"Finish Well"

27/07/2014 12:35

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Date: 27 July, 2014

Text: II Chronicles 26

Title: Finish Well

Theme: Uzziah's great start but poor finish.

Introduction:  Commonwealth Games in Glasgow: 6500 athletes

Participating athletes represent the 71 nations and territories of the

Commonwealth, with the Home Nations of the UK competing against one another.

One million tickets will be on sale in 2013 for the Games which will be broadcast to a global audience of 1.5 billion.The sports competition is a programme of 17 sports.

Aquatic Swimming

Diving

Athletics Track and field events

Marathon

Badminton

Boxing

Cycling Track events Road Race and Time Trials Mountain Bike

Gymnastics Hockey

Judo

Lawn Bowls Netball

Rugby

Shooting

Squash

Table Tennis Triathalon

Weightlifting Wrestling.

 

Each of these athletes are focused on winning their event. They have worked hard to get here. They want to finish well. The events of the commonwealth games are a good reminder to us that we are also participating in a competition.

 

The Bible (Paul) often compares the Christian life to a runner in a race.

I Corinthians 9:26-27  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:  But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

 

2Ti 4:7  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

 

Hebrews 12:1-2  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

PAUL ALSO FINISHED STRONG AS HE SAID, 2 Timothy 4:7  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

 

Our story this morning reminds me of an winter olympic moment from 4 years ago. Snowboard Cross event. Lindsey Jacobellis.  Because she thought she had the event in the bag, she did a trick on a jump and crashed out of the race. It didn't matter that she had led the entire race, she lost it right at the end.

 

Sadly our story this morning is of a young king of Judah, Uzziah, who started the race well. But, sadly he crashed out of the race at the end of his life.

 

May we benefit from his strong points and learn from his week points this morning as we are reminded that GOD IS THE ONLY REASON WE CAN SUCCEED.

 

I. Uzziah was an obedient young man.

1 ¶  Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah.

2  He built Eloth, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept with his fathers.

3  Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem.

4  And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did.

exp.  He was a godly young man.  "He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord."  Not in the "sight of men" but in the "sight of God."

ill.  Praise God for Godly teenagers.

Joseph: Given revelations from God in his dreams as a young man.

Samuel: Spoken to by God as a child.

David: Killing a Giant as a teenager.

Daniel: Taken prisoner but still obeying God.

Ec 12:1  Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

exp.  Uzziah had a great start. What parents wouldn't love to have a child who was doing right in the sight of God.

note:  Young person learn from this.  Before we are too harsh on Uzziah - Other kings had failed immediately. Jud 17:6  In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes. But, Amaziah did that which was right in God's eyes.

app.  It doesn't matter this morning if what you do is right in your sight. It matters if it is right in God's sight. God tells us this morning that Uzziah was a truly Godly young man.

 

II. Uzziah sought God.

5  And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God:

exp.  This man was apparently a very Godly prophet. He had deep disernment into the truth of God's Word. He was a blessing to this young king who followed in his teaching. Good. SEEK GOD!

Jer 29:13  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Isa 55:6  Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

Mt 7:7  Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

ill.  Imagine playing hide and go seek with someone who didn't understand the second part of the name of the game.  It's not hide and go fishing. Hide and go play on the roundabout/swings. It is HIDE AND GO SEEK.  What do you do when you seek?  You look diligently to find.

ill. We are supposed to seek God and FIND HIM.  Luke 15: 8  Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?

9  And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.

ill.  Listening to the testimonies of those converted in the revival on the Isle of Lewis. There were some who longed for Christ but felt like they could not come to Him. They were in agony of soul as they daily went to hear God's Word but then God broke through and they were gloriously saved.

app.  Are you seeking God? When is the last time you read a Bible on your own? When is the last time you spent time in prayer? When is the last time you sought spiritual conversation? DURING THE REVIVAL ON THE ISLE OF LEWIS THERE WAS A GREAT HUNGER FOR GOD. Uzziah began well. He was seeking after God.

 

III. Uzziah had God's blessing when he was right with God.

and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.\

exp.  The blessing that we'll see in Uzziah's reign was only because He was walking with God. Scripture is very plain on this point. "AS LONG AS HE SOUGHT THE LORD, GOD MADE HIM TO PROSPER."

            A. He was victorious in battle.

6  And he went forth and warred against the Philistines, and brake down the wall of Gath, and the wall of Jabneh, and the wall of Ashdod, and built cities about Ashdod, and among the Philistines.

7  And God helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabians that dwelt in Gurbaal, and the Mehunims.

exp.  The Philistines were the number one enemy against the children of Israel. Remember their champion that came out against the shepherd boy, David. Many of these men were giants. But "GOD HELPED HIM AGAINST THE PHILISTINES."

Quote: "God and you are the majority in any situation."

app:  "IF GOD BE FOR US....."

Ro 8:31  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

            B.  He brought enemies under subjection.

8  And the Ammonites gave gifts to Uzziah: and his name spread abroad even to the entering in of Egypt; for he strengthened himself exceedingly.

exp. The Ammonites said, "Did you hear what he did to the Philistines." And they made  peace with Judah. Even Egypt had heard about the fame of King Uzziah.  The nation was incredibly strong under his leadership and God's blessing.

            C. He built fortified cities.

9  Moreover Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the corner gate, and at the valley gate, and at the turning of the wall, and fortified them.

ill. We like to tour castles. One of our favorites is Tantallon.  The walls of these castles are exceptionally thick. They have towers on the corners to shoot down the walls. The city of Jerusalem was a fortress against all enemies.

            D. He was blessed in agriculture.

10  Also he built towers in the desert, and digged many wells: for he had much cattle, both in the low country, and in the plains: husbandmen also, and vine dressers in the mountains, and in Carmel: for he loved husbandry.

exp.  The desert land which would normally be useless was blessed to this king. He got water from under the ground and started raising livestock. The mountains were blessed for vineyards.

            E. He had a powerful army.

11  Moreover Uzziah had an host of fighting men, that went out to war by bands, according to the number of their account by the hand of Jeiel the scribe and Maaseiah the ruler, under the hand of Hananiah, one of the king’s captains.

12  The whole number of the chief of the fathers of the mighty men of valour were two thousand and six hundred.

13  And under their hand was an army, three hundred thousand and seven thousand and five hundred, that made war with mighty power, to help the king against the enemy.

exp.  300,000 trained soldiers under the leadership of Two thousand, six hundred mighty men of valor.

            F. He had advanced weaponry.

14  And Uzziah prepared for them throughout all the host shields, and spears, and helmets, and habergeons, and bows, and slings to cast stones.

15  And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong.

exp.  He made catapults.

ill. Caerlaverlock Castle near Dumfries. There is a large war engine which was similar to what the English army used to destroy the castle.

question: Where did this wisdom come from?

Jas 1:5  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

ill. This country had numerous inventors, - book - "How the Scots Invented the Modern World and Everything In It." It is amazing how many inventiones came from this country WHEN IT WAS A GODLY NATION.

app.  You can be a wise man when you have God's blessing. Uzziah had God given wisdom.

 

IV. And then he failed.

            A. He had everthing and he thought he didn't need God.

16 ¶  But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction:

exp.  He had a strong army. His enemies feared him. He had all the food he desired. He had fortified cities. He had everything that he wanted or needed BUT FORGOT THAT IT WAS ONLY BECAUSE OF GOD'S BLESSING.

ill.  Israel had been warned of this danger.

Deuteronomy 6:10  And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,

11  And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;

12  Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

app.  Friend if all is well HUMBLY remember that it is only because of the goodness of God. Uzziah became proud.....AND HIS HEART WAS LIFTED UP TO HIS DESTRUCTION.

            B. He thought he could worship God any way that he pleased.

for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense.

exp.  Uzziah was a king not a priest. He had no authority from God to participate in religious ceremony. For him to do so was to profane God's holy place and GOD WOULD NOT ALLOW IT.

ill.  Cain was a proud young man who wanted to worship God his own way. God wanted a blood sacrifice but that wasn't acceptible to Cain. He thought he knew better than God and forced his way of worship. God didn't accept it. Cain became jealous and killed his brother Able.

app.  We can not worship God as we please.

·         I know some who pray to Mary. But, it's not in God's Word.

·         I've met many who have been christined but it is no where in God's holy book.

·         I know some who want to worship God with Rock music. But, God's Word says, "What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness."

·         I know some who want God to accept their goodness. But God says, "There is none righteous- NO NOT ONE."

            C. The religious leaders had to confront him BUT he refused their correction.

17  And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the LORD, that were valiant men:

18  And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the LORD God.

19  Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense:

exp.  I believe this story would have a happy ending if Uzziah had humble accepted the rebuke of these servants of God and humbled his heart before the Lord. But, instead he got upset.

ill.  We are one of the first generations which has never lived without automobiles. In the thousands of years of human history it was not that way. If you had an ox that wouldn't respond to the master's reigns that ox would be on the bbq.

Pr 29:1  He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

app. Uzziah hardened his neck. Friend, when God says, "No you don't." How do you respond?  God will not let us get away with having a stiff neck towards him. It will lead to destruction.

            D. God had to correct him and it was without mercy.

and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, from beside the incense altar.

20  And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the LORD had smitten him.

21  And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD: and Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land.

exp.  We aren't told that he repented. We are told that he was unclean until his death and that he lost everything because he DID NOT FINISH WELL.

CONCLUSION:

God wants us to finish well and HE IS WILLING TO HELP US FINISH WELL.

1 Corinthians 9:24  Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

 

Do you have a good start? Are you obeying God? Are you seeking God? Do you have God's blessing?

Are you going to finish well? Don't let pride destroy you. Have a teachable spirit that responds to God's correction.

 

Enjoy the commonwealth games. But remember, we are in a race as well. MAY GOD HELP US TO RUN THE RACE AND TO FINISH WELL.