Monday, March 18, 2019

Tan: The Dangerous 2nd Half

Straight from my heart

But when he had become powerful, he also became proud which led to his downfall. He sinned against the Lord by entering the sanctuary of the Lord's Temple and personally burning incense on the incense altar. - 2 Chronicles 26:16

IN ANY game, being ahead does not spell victory! Many things can still happen in the second half of the game, even the remaining seconds can change destiny!

Today, we learn not to underestimate the Dangerous 2nd Half! May God stir our hearts to the point of desiring brokenness and with a cleansed heart and courageous faith, see God clearly and surrender to God's leading! King Uzziah pleased the Lord during his early reign as king of Judah.

According to the Life Application Bible Study Guide, he was a successful warrior and city builder, skillful in organizing and delegating. He reigned 52 years!

God decides who will be powerful. The hard lesson we need to learn today and willingly learn it, no matter what it takes is the danger of power addiction. We are all prone to be addicted to power. It starts as an unspoken wish then later blossoms into shameless greed... desire to have it then preserve it. We go the other way... around powerlessness! The most obvious sins of being powerful are 1. Control, 2. Compete, 3. Compromise.

With A Quiet Heart, let us not resist the inner prompting and deeper probing of the Spirit so we do not add to our wasted years and hurt more innocent by passers. With A Quiet Heart, let’s not reason with the light, rather, allow it to expose our darkness that we may walk in the light! What happened in the 2nd half of the Life of King Uzziah? Let’s humbly learn....

Overconfidence (assuming control) In verse 16 we immediately see the signs of power addiction through the attitude displayed by King Uzziah. Take note of this 3 sinful signs of power addiction. Eugene Petterson identified these triplets as: • PRIDE • ANGER • WILLFULNESS

These triplets are just the tip of the iceberg. What happened to Uzziah was so connected to his spiritual condition. He learned to fear God because of the influence of his father Amaziah. He was taught by Zechariah how to apply the fear of God in governing. As long as he sought God, he was given success... then he stopped seeking God. This is exactly the spot which led to his downfall.

This timeless principle is so true: No more dependence on God equals no more discernment from God! However, it was not only OVERCONFIDENCE but also OVERSTEPPING LIMITS. God never designed power and freedom to be absolute. God places boundaries. King Uzziah overstepped that boundary when he forcibly burned incense in the Lord's temple. He was perfectly aware that only priests of the Jewish temple could do this. No exemptions. This audacity was hunger for power. The King was powerful at 16. In the second half, he got bored with his political power that he wanted to try his magic on religion but God stepped in and made him a leper!

Uzziah's punishment, though instantaneous, was overdue but reflects that no punishment of God is without the mercy of his delay. Think hard...leprosy was God's way to make him realize that all the while he was powerless. Thanks to my co-worker in church, Pastor Prince Sudario, for letting me know that the meaning of Uzziah is “powerful because of the Lord's help.” That was a warning. It's in the 2nd half of life that the risk of fall is most possible. LORD HAVE MERCY.

In the light of our vulnerability to fall, it’s so timely that we ask these hard questions in our hearts. • How do you see yourself? • How do you see others? • How do you see God? • How do you handle success?

Here are some final thoughts we can chew on as we admit the risks of the second half of life:

1. Pride does not happen overnight.

2. Fall is not an accident.

3. Paying the price is long-term or lifelong.

4. Brokenness is one way God spares us from ruining ourselves and others. 5. Never underestimate the second half of life.

6. God is a Holy God. Don't use anything that belongs to Him for your agenda.

Uzziah posts a most necessary warning for us: “Hanging around the holy is risky business. Holy ground is dangerous ground. The holy is never ever something of God that we can take as if we owned it and use it for our own purposes.” Eugene Peterson


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