“Too Big for His Britches”
II Chronicles 24:2 [King] Joash did what was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest.
II Chronicles 24:17-18 Now after the death of Jehoiada the leaders of Judah came and bowed down to the king. And the king listened to them. Therefore they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served wooden images and idols; and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem because of their trespass.
II Chronicles 26:3-5 [King] Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king….And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD….He sought God in the days of Zechariah [the priest], who had understanding in the visions of God; and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper.
II Chronicles 26:15-16 So [Uzziah’s] fame spread far and wide, for he was marvelously helped till he became strong. But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the LORD his God by entering the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.
Can you see the pattern? As long as these powerful kings listened to the wise men of God that He had put in their lives, they had success. But when the wise men died, and weren’t replaced, worldly success went to the kings’ heads and hearts, and they veered dangerously away from God’s wisdom and direction.
They paid dearly for their pride. Joash suffered military defeat, and was later murdered. Uzziah was judged with leprosy and isolation. God had put prophets and priests into the lives of kings, and they were often God’s way of keeping them from pride and the deceptions that come with their role. It is ironic that it was humility that led to their successes. Yet after those successes, pride in their achievements (that is, in what God had given them) was what led them to throw off their godly covering, leading to defeat and even death.
There’s an old phrase used when someone has grown proud and overreaches in a self-important way. We say that he’s become “too big for their britches [pants].” Even kings did this, and were in fact particularly predisposed to becoming so. But it’s a common danger to us all. But there’s a way to prevent it.
Do you have a Jehoiada or a Zechariah in your life, ministering the words of God, keeping you humble, checking your ego, and preventing your successes from going to your head? Large or small, we all have our successes, or at least areas in which we are quite comfortable. We need spiritual people who are unimpressed with us, and not afraid to challenge us when we need it. Kings fared badly when their spiritual coverings passed away and weren’t replaced. We are no less susceptible.
Let’s learn a lesson here. If you have a covering that helps keep you in line with God, be grateful. If circumstances change, find a way to get that covering back. If you don’t have such an influence in your life, you need one.
Prayer: Father, help me to see the need for people in my life to keep me grounded in You. Thank You for their influence in my life. Thank You for those I recognize as specifically sent by You, but also let me hear Your word no matter whom it comes through.