Losing it All
"But when King Uzziah had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall..." (2 Chronicles 26:16)
"King Jotham became powerful because he was careful to live in obedience to the Lord his God." (2 Chronicles 27:6)
Uzziah was one of the longest reigning and most successful kings in Judah's history. His success, however, also led to his downfall. His pride caused him to think that he was above the law. God's laws applied to everyone but him. Uzziah went into the temple and attempted to to do what only the priest was supposed to do.
When the high priest and eighty other priests confronted Uzziah, the king became furious. Who were they to tell him what he could and could not do? God's judgment was quick and severe. Uzziah contracted leprosy and spent his last days isolated and alone. His son, Jotham was given the throne of his father. It was rare to crown the son king while the father was still alive but Uzziah's leprosy kept him out of public life until his death.
Jotham was a wise young man and became a very good king. An important component of wisdom is being able to learn from someone else's successes and their mistakes. Jotham learned much from his father. "Jotham did what was pleasing in the Lord's sight. He did everything his father, Uzziah, had done, except that Jotham did not sin by entering the Temple of the Lord." (2 Chronicles 27:2)
Success can be a dangerous thing. We all want it. We all seek it. We have to be so careful, though, when we attain it. If we allow success to change us we are headed for a fall. Pride and arrogance have caused more leaders to fall than anything else.
Jotham provides a great example for us. He had watched his father. He saw what worked and what did not. Jotham avoided the mistakes that his father made but also applied the good things that he learned from Uzziah.
Charisma and talent might get someone into a leadership position. Humility and teachability are going to keep them there for the long haul. If you are interested in reading more about this important aspect of leadership, check out Dr. Tim Irwin's book Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership (NelsonFree). This book provides some excellent modern day case studies of men and women CEO's, who like Uzziah, thought the rules did not apply to them. It is a fascinating and sobering book.
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