Starting and Finishing Well (July 30)

From Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

From Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

July 30
Starting and Finishing Well

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 80:1-7 | 2 Chronicles 26:1 – 28:27 | Romans 13:1-14 | Proverbs 20:11

Today’s Scripture Focus: 2 Chronicles 26:1 – 28:27

Uzziah was off to a great start. Things were going extremely well, maybe too well. Then he crashed and had a hard time finishing the race. He had good intentions and a great start, but lost his way near the end of the race.

Uzziah, the King of Judah, started out young—he started out well. One of the keys to the race is finding the right advisors. He had a great one: Zechariah. “He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.”

Don’t underestimate the importance of spiritual advisors in your life, people who will guide you on the path of “reverent obedience” to “live a godly life” (The Message, 26:5). Apparently, Uzziah’s “crash and burn” came after Zechariah had left the scene. But as he was instructed and guided by his chief “spiritual director,” Zechariah, he was successful. Uzziah’s good start also points out the importance of a good theology of God.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10). A.W. Tozer said: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” (The Knowledge of the Holy, p. 7). He taught that our understanding of God affects our every action. Uzziah is a good example of that, both positively and negatively. When he feared God (reverent awe, not cowering fear), he obeyed and was successful. When he lost the rightful reverence of God, he grew arrogant and proud and careless.

Uzziah’s “crash and burn” came because of his pride. Eugene Peterson paraphrases it well: “Everything seemed to go his way. But then the strength and success went to his head. Arrogant and proud, he fell” (The Message, 15, 16). Lofty thoughts of God led to his success. Lofty thoughts about himself led to his downfall.

Knowing God deeply and intimately is the key to life lived to the full—having right attitudes toward him is the beginning of wisdom. When we become the object of our worship, instead of the God who created us and is the source of all our blessings, we set ourselves up for the same tragic end. Keep your eyes on Jesus the author and finisher or your faith, and everything else is kept in its right perspective. That gets us on the right path, and keeps us there all the way to the finish line.

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About pastorjeffsneighborhood

Born and raised in Minnesota, I have served in churches in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and California. I am a graduate of Crown College (MN) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR). I have also done additional graduate studies in New Testament Studies at the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA). I am also a graduate of the College of Prayer. Having served as the Academic Dean and Program Director at Horizon Institute of Los Angeles for several years, I have returned to the pastorate and serve as Pastor of Big Trees Community Bible Church in Arnold, CA.
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