Highlights In Today's Reading:
We read of the spiritual danger of pride, praise, and power. The first two kings in this reading at first please the Lord, but pride, power, and success greatly change their personalities (25:14-24; 26:16-21). However, read King Jotham's report (27:6).
Jerusalem had been captured by Hazael, king of Syria, and his small army because they (Judah) had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers (24:24). King Joash was left in great diseases (badly wounded) (24:25) and then was slain by his own servants because he had killed the sons of the high priest Jehoiada, whom God had used to make Joash king and mentor him. It was in the midst of these difficult circumstances that Joash's son Amaziah began his reign at the age of 25. He followed the Lord, but not with a perfect heart (II Kin. 14:3-6; II Chr. 25:2-4).
Amaziah was successful against the Edomites. But we are disappointed to read that he brought the gods of the children of Seir (Edomites), and set them up to be his gods (25:14). This led to the inevitable judgment of God. He then became overconfident and challenged the more powerful King of Israel. It was a disastrous defeat. Amaziah lost his kingdom with all its treasures and then he was murdered.
His son Uzziah (Azariah) was one of the most successful kings of Judah. His father's victory over Edom opened the way for Uzziah's greatest achievement in rebuilding the port city of Elath — located near the northern tip of the modern Gulf of Aqabah, where Solomon had built a fleet of ships (I Kin. 9:26; II Sam. 8:14). This strategic location was a great asset. Judah again became a powerful influence upon its surrounding enemies. Among Uzziah's many other achievements were bringing into subjection, once again, the Philistines on the west, the Arabians on the south, and the Ammonites on the east; and fortifying Jerusalem (II Chr. 26:6-10). The key to his success is unmistakably clear: As long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper . . . he strengthened himself exceedingly . . . his name spread far abroad (II Chr. 26:5,8,15). But notice that when he was strong . . . he transgressed against the Lord his God (26:16) — meaning he became proud with an overestimation of his own importance.
With Uzziah, it was his success that exposed his weakness. It was seeing himself as more important than the Word of God. He decided to offer incense upon the Altar in the Holy Place while the high priest and others tried to keep him from entering and defiling it. But God struck him with leprosy and he was unable, during the last ten years of his life, even to enter his own palace. God had blessed him with great success, but it did not permit him the privilege of disregarding the Word of God.
Few remain spiritually submissive once they are successful. Prosperity is seldom a blessing: Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him? (James 2:5).
Thought for Today:
Sin never stays the same. It always leads to more sin, and, as we sin, the more certain we are that judgment will follow (Heb. 10:26-27).
By Azariah the high priest who stood between Uzziah and the altar, because there was only one proper way to approach the Lord God of Israel and that was through the service of the priests (II Chr. 26:17-18). Jesus, our great High Priest (Heb. 4:14), is The Only Way for anyone to come to God. Jesus saith unto him, I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me (John 14:6).
25:21 saw one another in the face =faced each other in battle; 26:10 husbandry =b> farming.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in memory of Iva Ann McElroy • Staff: Mary Kay Wagner • Government Officials: Rep. Steve King (IA), Rep. Tom Petri (WI), Gov. Mark Sanford (SC), and Rep. Aaron Schock (IL) • Country: Nauru (11,000) in the central Pacific • Major languages: Nauruan and English • Religious freedom • 57% Protestant; 24% Roman Catholic; 10% Buddhist and Chinese folk-religionist • Prayer Suggestion: Go to God in prayer with boldness and seek His grace and mercy (Heb. 4:16).
Optional Reading: 1 Corinthians 15
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:32