But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall. (2 Chronicles 26:16)
Relate: One of my favorite hidden gems when it comes to authors is Harry Turtledove. Lets be honest, he isn’t really all that great of an author. The actual writing itself can sometimes be a bit tedious, the dialogues forced, the characters cardboard, the descriptions flat. In spite of that, I love being able to pick up a new one of his books and devour it in a day or maybe two tops. The reason for that is because he always develops a great plot and those plots are always built upon one of those pivotal “what if” moments in history. His latest series, Hot War, revolves around the Korean War and MacArthur’s debate with Truman regarding the use of nuclear weapons. What if the Chinese Spring Offensive was even more effective than it was and Truman caved in to the pressure and signed off on using nukes. You can guess by the series title, Hot War, where Turtledove felt the dominoes would fall.
One of my personal favorites for these types of questions is: What if Hitler never invaded Russia? I mean, up to that point Hitler knew nothing but success. He had toppled the Eastern European countries like a pro going at amateurs. He had knocked France out cold. He was awfully close to a standing eight count against Great Britain… then he totally changes tacks and tries to poke the bear. What was he thinking? Why didn’t he just wait a little bit longer until he had truly taken apart the western front? I truly believe that if Hitler’s ever growing pride had not gone straight into delusional levels when it did all of Europe today would be speaking German.
React: Whether or not you might agree with my what if scenario, it is glaringly obvious that Hitler is still today one of the most famous examples of someone’s pride leading to their downfall. The saying goes, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is all I can do to resist the temptation to point out modern political examples of how we can see this playing out in certain nations even today. This is why term limits are such a good thing, not only for the nation but for the individual leading it. It is so hard for those who have power to not constantly try to grab for more, and more, and…
I am no political leader and that is probably a good thing. I would never want the office and I highly doubt I would do a good job. But am I not susceptible to the same trap within my own spheres of influence? Do I seek power and authority, positions and titles for their own sake or are they simply tools with which I can better shepherd God’s flock? Do I grasp for what has not been given? Can I be trusted with more or do I already have more than I can handle? I really wish these were questions that only needed to be answered once. At one time Uzziah was a good, godly man. Unfortunately, over time his power and success that he gained as he was being used for God’s purposes got to his head. If it could happen to him, it most certainly can happen to me.
Help me not to shy away from divinely appointed leadership or authority. Grant me the power to carry out Your will in my generation. You have gifted me with talents and abilities and I ask that You would help me to use them well to be a blessing wherever I go. But even more, help me to stay humble. As the successes come from walking in Your leading, help me not to forget where they came from. help me not to forget where I came from. Please do not let success or authority get to me head. Please keep me humble that I might not fall into the power trap.