Saturday, April 21, 2012
HOLDING ON TO HUMILITY!
Diḇre haYamim Bět/2 Chronicles 26
Shabbat Shalom family – it is always such a great joy to come together in the Name of יהושע, our Great King and High Priest, who humbled Himself, being obedient unto death, death even of a stake; and therefore has been highly exalted and was given the Name which is above every Name, that at the Name of יהושע every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that יהושע Messiah is the Master, aměn!
As we consider these words taken from Pilipiyim/Philippians 2 we clearly can see that humility and obedience go hand in hand and in:
Miḵah/Micah 6:8 “He has declared to you, O man, what is good. And what does יהוה require of you but to do right, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your Elohim?”
What does יהוה require of us? Well as we see – that it is to do right, love kindness and walk humbly with our Elohim!
‘Walk’ in Hebrew is the word הָלַךְ hā∙lǎḵ - Strong’s H1980 meaning, ‘to walk, to live, manner of life, cause to live’ and literally speaks of how one lives. It is used as a verb indicating that it is an active expression of one’s life. We are to actively and continually be walking in Messiah, and as Miḵah tells us that we are required to walk ‘humbly’ with Elohim. The root word used here for humble is צָנַע tsana – Strong’s H6800 meaning, ‘to be modest or humble’. In Miḵah/Micah 6:8 it is expressed as follows: וְהַצְנֵעַ לֶכֶת ‘ve-ha-ts’nea lechet’ which literally expresses ‘a making humble to walk’ or ‘showing a humble walk’, again emphasising that our humility is seen in our walk – that is our walk of obedience as we clearly see and understand the words in:
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:6 “The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked.”
The Greek word for ‘walk’ is περιπατέω peripateō – Strong’s H4043 and carries the same meaning and that is, ‘to walk, behaviour, to conduct one’s self, to make one’s way, to tread with the feet, to make one’s life’. Why all the definitions? To clearly reiterate that to walk as Messiah walked involves action and that action is to be in complete line with His walk and that is a walk of total obedience – the greatest expression of humility!
Tonight I want us to look at the life of a king who reigned for 52 years and did what was right in the eyes of יהוה, well for most part and then sadly lost the plot as he certainly neglected the need to walk humbly before יהוה. In a message tonight called, “Holding on to humility”, let us learn from the events of the life of Uzziyahu as we read from the accounts of his reign as recorded in Diḇre haYamim Bět/2 Chronicles 26 (Read).
A very interesting chapter that portrays for us a very sobering account of the rise and fall of a king, from which we can learn a great deal in our need to guard ourselves from the danger of allowing pride to rise up in us.
Who was Uzziyahu? Uzziyahu was the son of Amatsyahu, who reigned for 29 years in Yerushalayim and did what was right in the eyes of יהוה, but not with a perfect heart. Amatsyahu was the 9th king of Yehuḏah who succeeded his father who was assassinated after the defeat of the Syrians, where his own officials conspired against him and killed him for murdering Zeḵaryah, the son of the likeable prophet Yehoyaḏa, after being told that יהוה had left him. Amatsyahu means ‘the strength of Yah’ or ‘Yah is mighty’ and he certainly started out right yet his heart was not perfect and did not break down all the high places of worship and in essence allowed idolatrous worship to continue. I have given a message before on the accounts of Amatsyahu called, ‘How is your heart?’ and so I do not want to dwell too long on his account, except that he turned from following יהוה and fled to Laḵish where he was killed. Uzziyahu was then set up as the 10th king of Yehuḏah at 16 years of age and he reigned for 52 years – the longest reign of a king of Yehuḏah up until that point and only Menashsheh, the wicked king, reigned for longer (55 years). Uzziyahu - עֻזִּיָּהוּ –Strong’s H5818 means ‘my strength is Yah’ or ‘Yah is my strength’ and his mother’s name was יְכָלְיָה Yeḵolyah – Strong’s H3203 and means ‘Yah is able’. Uzziyahu is also referred to in Melaḵim/Kings as עֲזַרְיָהוּ Azaryahu – Strong’s H5838 meaning, ‘Yah has helped’. So coming from a line of people whose names carried great significance in declaring that יהוה is their strength and mighty to help, Uzziyahu started out in a great way in serving יהוה in the right way. Verse 5 tells us clearly that he was a king who ‘sought’ יהוה, and had great guidance from Zeḵaryahu the prophet, and as long as he sought יהוה, Elohim made him prosper!
This is a vital lesson straight up for us to never lose sight of – and that is we are to always be a people who ‘seek’ יהוה, for Messiah reminds us that we must seek Him first:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the reign of Elohim, and His righteousness, and all these matters shall be added to you.”
The Greek word here for ‘seek’ is ζητέω zēteō – Strong’s G2212 and means, ‘to seek, inquire, try to obtain, strive after, to aim at, crave for, and to seek in order to find out by thinking, meditating and reasoning’. Pretty straight forward I would say – to seek takes diligent effort – and to seek His kingdom speaks of diligently seeking and meditating on Him and His instructions (Torah) – something we see lacking in a great way today!
The Hebrew root word used for ‘seek/sought’ in our passage for tonight is דָּרַשׁ darash – Strong’s H1875 meaning, ‘to resort to, to seek with care, consult, investigate, search carefully, study, seek after with application, to practice, follow’. Uzziyahu certainly was a man who sought after Elohim, and saw the promised results; as we know that in Tehillim/Psalm 1 we are reminded that blessed is the man who meditates on the Torah day and night, for he shall prosper in whatever he does!
Yehoshua/Joshua 1:8 “Do not let this Book of the Torah depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you guard to do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and act wisely.”
The same root word used in all of these passages for ‘prosper/prosperous’ is צָלַח tsalach – Strong’s H6743 meaning, ‘to advance, prosper, successful, victorious, press through and succeed’. The root means to accomplish satisfactorily what is intended. Real prosperity results from the work of Elohim in the life of one who seeks Elohim with all his heart!
As long as Uzziyahu sought יהוה, Elohim made him prosper.” Yosĕph is called a prosperous man, for יהוה turned all of his misfortunes into benefit for Ya’aqoḇ’s sons (Berěshith/Genesis 39:2-3; 23).
יהוה expresses His purposes through His Word, therefore His Word will not prove empty, but it will prosper in its fulfillment, and so as we seek His purposes through diligent daily meditation upon His Torah, His promises will not prove false, but are all yes and aměn in Messiah!
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 11:6 tells us that יהוה is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him.
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 8:17 “I love those who love me, and those who earnestly seek me do find me.”
So Uzziyahu was a man who earnestly did seek יהוה and prospered greatly for it as he certainly was one of the most successful and powerful kings in Yehuḏah’s history as he was a well-rounded king – He was a brave and courageous warrior, an excellent engineer and an avid cultivator and he had a good instructor – a prophet who instructed him in the fear of יהוה. And what started out as a very humble walk with יהוה in recognising that he could do nothing without יהוה, became very powerful and was greatly strengthened through the help of יהוה. He was given victory over the Philistines and the Araḇians who lived in Gur Baʽal, and the Meʽunites; and even the Ammonites recognised his power and brought him gifts. He dug cisterns to provide water for the livestock, and cultivated the fertile lands. He trained his army and organized them into divisions. He built towers in Yerushalayim and in the Wilderness to keep watch against attacks, and fortified the walls, and he invented new war machines for use on the towers to shoot arrows and hurl large stones, for stronger defence systems, and news about his success and powerful reign travelled far and wide as he was, as it says in verse 15, “marvellously helped” – by יהוה of course!!! “Till” – the word that followed being marvellously helped – “till” – it was all going so well up until this point – till he became strong. Now there is nothing wrong with becoming strong and we pray that יהוה continues to strengthen us daily through His Word; however we see the danger of what can happen when we become strong by the verse that changes the scene in this chapter – verse 16. Instead of holding on to humility he let go and became full of pride and proceeded to trespass against יהוה by simply not adhering to the Torah which he would have for so long sought with his all!
He took all the success to his head and forgot that it was because יהוה helped him and became so proud that he simply began to ignore the instructions of יהוה!
I find this passage very fitting for us at this time as we have been going through the weekly torah portions in Wayyiqra on leprosy as well as the strange fire that Aharon’s sons brought before יהוה, after having been set-apart for 7 days!
Uzziyahu went in to the Hěḵal of יהוה to burn incense on the altar of incense; the very thing he was not allowed to do as he was not a priest! Azaryahu the priest went in after him with 80 other priests and confronted the king – very brave men they were recorded as being – and yes very brave indeed as it is a picture for us today as a royal priesthood who must be brave and stand up for the Truth without compromise, declaring to those who are bringing ‘strange fire’ that they are indeed at fault and; are brave enough to not be afraid to speak straight, even if the wrong get angry with us!!!
He priests told the king to ‘GET OUT’ of the set-apart place. Let me tell you that this took guts – something that we need to learn from today, as I fear that far too often most are afraid to stand up and speak what is right in the fear that they may anger those who are walking in error!
Listen Uzziyahu was mad, and may have even thought to himself, ‘how dare the priests speak to me like this – I am the king!’ as he would have been standing there when confronted with the truth with his chest all puffed up and his head heightened by his stiff neck of pride and stubbornness to listen! Yet while he was still angry leprosy broke out on him and he was hurried out of the set-apart place. Now we have read just this past week in our torah readings that when leprosy breaks out on the forehead of a man he is immediately pronounced unclean by the priest for his infection is on his head and this carries great significance in its symbolism for it reveals a deeper rooted issue and that is that the ‘head’ or covering is affected and at this point Uzziyahu no longer submitted under the Headship/leading of Elohim but rather pride caused him to do his own thing and he paid the price for no longer walking humbly before Elohim. He was a leper until he died and was cut off from the House of יהוה, and when he died they buried him in the field of the burial place which belonged to the sovereigns and so was not buried in the burial place and is a clear picture of how sin not confessed and dealt with will cut one off from the House of יהוה, and the sinners and the unclean are outside!
Sadly he was so full of pride that he never humbled himself as Ḥizqiyahu did:
Diḇre haYamim Bět/2 Chronicles 32:26 “Then Ḥizqiyahu humbled himself for the pride of his heart, he and the inhabitants of Yerushalayim, so that the wrath of יהוה did not come upon them in the days of Ḥizqiyahu.”
Holding on to humility is critical in our walk of faith and what we must clearly understand is that humility is not a carrying of a low estimation of one’s self, nor is it the thinking that one is insignificant. In fact truly humble people are often the most assertive people on the planet – you just have to look no further than Mosheh who was very humble, more than all the men who were on the face of the earth (Bemidbar/Numbers 12:3) – and he was certainly no pushover!!!
Humility refers to a knowledge, recognition and acceptance that we are lower than Elohim; and therefore our humility is best expressed by a state of voluntarily submitting to His will. In fact humility will always be measured by our belief and submission to יהוה’s good and well-pleasing and perfect desire which we can do only when we renew our minds daily through His Perfect Word and not be conformed to this world (Romiyim/Romans 12:2), and our clearest indicator of true humility is in our obedience to Elohim. The truly humble person lovingly, willingly and honestly obeys יהוה; unlike the Pharisees who make an outward show of seeming obedience yet clearly omit the importance of the Torah!
This is exactly what Uzziyahu did – he put on a show instead of following the clear instructions of drawing near to Elohim and decided he would approach יהוה on his own terms – the same sad mistake most people make today as they err in neglecting to follow the Torah, revealing a lack of humility as expressed through proper obedience but rather being exposed for being full of pride and selfishness!
PRIDE says, “I’ll do it my way”, even if it means ‘staying away’ and sulking because things have not gone your way due to compromised worship!!! Many today, when going through some tough trials, may say things like, “I will deal with it on my own” or “that is how I deal with it” and then neglect to engage in living out Torah in a practical way through community living and support and edification for one another and this simply is another form of pride!
Pride will lead to bitterness and resentment toward others, while harbouring a critical spirit and become very sceptical – and this we are to guard against by holding on to humility – that is to remain obedient and submissive to the Truth!
HUMILITY says ‘I’ll submit to יהוה’s way’, no matter the cost and this results in trusting יהוה despite the circumstances we find ourselves in – whether good or bad, as pride is not a respecter of circumstances for which we must always be on our guard against!
Humility seeks to build and says ‘what can I bring/give’; whereas pride seeks to take and says ‘what can I get out of this’. Pride carries an attitude of independence that will not submit to or receive the instruction or advice of another; whereas humility reveals total dependency and reliance upon יהוה. Sadly what we saw happening in the life of Uzziyahu was that his confidence did not remain in יהוה, but rather in his own overconfidence in the victories, humility became replaced with pride – a clear danger that we all face each and every day of our lives:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 8:11-14 “Be on guard, lest you forget יהוה your Elohim by not guarding His commands, and His right-rulings, and His laws which I command you today, 12 lest you eat and shall be satisfied, and build lovely houses and shall dwell in them, 13 and your herds and your flocks increase, and your silver and your gold are increased, and all that you have is increased, 14 that your heart then becomes lifted up, and you forget יהוה your Elohim who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, from the house of bondage.”
In pride Uzziyahu became more ‘religious’ in a false form and this is exactly what we see today as many denominations claiming to worship the Elohim of all creation are ‘religiously’ bringing their own fire holders with strange fire in an attempt at worship for which we, as יהוה’s royal priesthood must boldly speak out against and help restore the obedience of walking humbly before Elohim! But before we are able to ‘speak up’ bravely we must be sure to be walking humbly with Elohim, lest we find ourselves telling others of the splinter in their eye when there is a plank in our own!
Pride is simply the disgrace and demise of the wicked man who does not seek יהוה!
Tehillim/Psalms 10:4-6 “In the pride of his face the wrongdoer does not seek Him, In all his thoughts there is no Elohim! 5 His ways are always prosperous! Your right-rulings are on high, out of his sight! He snorts at all his adversaries! 6 He has said in his heart, “I shall not be moved; From generation to generation, never be in evil!”
The one full of pride does not see that he walks in evil, whereas the humble draws near to Elohim, confesses and washes himself in obedient submission to the will of Elohim:
Ya’aqoḇ/James 4: 8-10 “Draw near to Elohim and He shall draw near to you. Cleanse hands, sinners. And cleanse the hearts, you double-minded! 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to dejection. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Master, and He shall lift you up.”
Those who do not guard to do the commands of Elohim are walking in pride, for love for Elohim is to obey His commands and expresses true humility:
Tehillim/Psalm 31:23 “Love יהוה, all you His kind ones! For יהוה guards the trustworthy ones, and exceedingly repays the doer of pride.”
Just as humility is an action – that being those who are doers of the Word and not hearers only; so is pride an action – the ‘doer’ of pride will be exceedingly repaid – and boy was Uzziyahu repaid - exceedingly!!!
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 8:13 “The fear of יהוה is to hate evil. I have hated pride and arrogance, and the evil way, and the perverse mouth.”
Pride and arrogance is the evil way and sadly so often when we are walking in obedience and standing for the Truth, as did the priests in our passage tonight, we are often regarded by the proud and lawless as being the arrogant ones – ironic isn’t it – that the arrogant and proud, who claim that the Torah is of no effect, call the humble and obedient ones arrogant, when clearly obedience to the Torah of יהוה and staying in Messiah can never be arrogance!!!
Pride is an abomination to יהוה:
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 16:5 “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to יהוה; Hand to hand: he goes not unpunished.”
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 13:10 “By pride comes only strife, But wisdom is with those who take advice.”
Uzziyahu refused advice as he strengthened himself through pride and as a result faced the consequences of strife brought on by his own pride:
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 16:18 “Before destruction comes pride, and before a fall a haughty spirit!”
A classic example of this verse being practically explained is seen in the events of Uzziyahu – he got angry when he was confronted and exposed for his error in worship and instead of humbling himself he remained stubbornly proud – a very true picture of so many people who willfully refuse to heed correction through the instructions of יהוה and bring their own fire holders of twisted traditions that will sadly only see them cast out if they do not repent!
After Uzziyahu died, Yeshayahu/Isaiah saw יהוה:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 6:1 “In the year that Sovereign Uzziyahu died, I saw יהוה sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the Hěḵal.”
Why I mention this here is that this carries a really great lesson for us as we know the events that happened when Yeshayahu saw יהוה and recognised his own uncleanness that his lips were touched by a coal from the altar of יהוה, and he made the famous declaration often repeated by so many, “Here I am send me!”
The timing of this is very significant as it pictures for us that pride must die before we can truly see יהוה and fully be able to be commissioned to speak to a people who will not see and will not hear!!!
Uzziyahu was full of pride and full of himself, while the Heavenly Temple was filled with the presence of יהוה – we are the Dwelling Place of the Most High and we can either find ourselves full of His presence as we walk humble before Him and prosper in all that we do; or be full of selfishness and pride which, as we know has no happy ending!!!
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:16-17 “Because all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world passes away, and the lust of it, but the one doing the desire of Elohim remains forever.”
In a time where pride is rife, we as a set-apart royal priesthood are to be found holding on to humility as we walk humbly before Elohim doing His desire, with the assurance that we shall remain forever!
What struggles have you been facing lately? And if so, have you taken advice and sought fellowship with true humble believers? Or have you tried to deal with it on your own? Or have you had great victories of late due to your diligent seeking of יהוה? In victory or defeat have you found yourself neglecting to seek יהוה, as the battle of pride rages in your flesh? Let us take heed to the events of the life of king Uzziyahu who at first was strengthened by Yah yet later strengthened himself to the pitiful point of selfish pride thinking he can do things his own way and still be acceptable before the Father, only to be cast out forever!
All good efforts can be destroyed in one hour! All the good of the 52 years was destroyed in a single moment, as humility flew out and pride set in.
Qoheleth/Ecclesiastes 10:1 “Dead flies make the perfumer’s ointment stink, ferment; a little folly outweighs wisdom, esteem.”
It just takes a little folly and all that you have worked diligently hard at in seeking Elohim can be outweighed by the folly of pride!
Our duty is to walk humbly before Elohim and to walk as He walked – doing the will of Elohim. Let us be found to always be holding on to humility and destroy all pride and be strong and brave like those priests who stood firm for the truth, so that when He comes for us He shall find active humble faith, aměn!