You may recollect that Uzziah was one of the descendants of David who reigned in Jerusalem for fifty-two years. He was crowned king when a mere youth of sixteen years of age. His responsible position was specially difficult to one so young. He, however, filled it well, for the fear of God was before his eyes, and we learn from the history that "God helped him." Indeed, this divine help was given to him in such a very marked manner that we read a second time how "he was marvellously helped, till he was strong" (2 Chron. 26:7, 15).
If you study the chapter to which I have just referred you will find that two very notable features of his government are recorded. He first subdued the enemies of Judah, and then he improved the home life of his people. (1) He waged war with the Philistines and others because they were continually endeavouring to bring himself and his subjects into bondage and to lead them away from the worship of Jehovah into idolatry. Then, having given the land peace from these enemies, the king (2) encouraged the people in the cultivation of the soil and in the possession of flocks and herds. Under the influence of these wise measures the men of Judah were enabled to enjoy the goodly land, "flowing with milk and honey," which God had given them.
But how was this happy condition of things to be maintained? The Philistines, Arabians, and Ammonites, though overcome for the time, were by no means extinct. They were ready and waiting to make fresh incursions at the first opportunity. It would have been great folly on the part of Uzziah to have overlooked this danger from the surrounding nations. Moreover, the sheep and cattle would need constant supplies of water in order to be kept alive, and the vineyards and cornfields also needed water to grow and be fruitful. In that precarious climate what was to be done to meet these difficulties?
Accordingly Uzziah took special precautionary measures against thy se two contingencies. He "built towers in the desert, and many wells" (verse 10). The towers were lofty erections where watchmen were stationed to kepp a strict look-out over the surrounding country and give instant warning of the approach of any hostile company. Because of these towers of defence the enemies of the people were prevented from invading the borders of the land of Judah unawares. With regard to the wells, these were not necessarily fountains, but rather reservoirs or cisterns where water was stored for use in the dry seasons for the benefit of the livestock and for the watering of the food-plots.
Let us now think of the towers as conveying the lesson of watchfulness against spiritual foes, and the wells the lesson of refreshment for the soul.
Watchfulness. The believer has many enemies, and therefore must not sleep, whatever others may do. Satan is the greatest enemy, and Peter says, "Be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; whom resist, stedfast in the faith" (1 Peter 5:8, 9). This treacherous adversary does not always enter our borders at the same spot. Uzziah set up a watch-tower where he thought the foe was likely to break through. You must consider therefore very especially whereabouts the great enemy is likely to enter to rob you of your peace and joy, and bring you into bondage to some evil habit.
You must build your own towers, and you are sure to require a great many. I can only suggest one or two of the points that need to be watched, leaving you to map out a line of defence for yourself according to your circumstances. First of all, as reading is a general practice now-a-days, you will be wise if you keep a sharp look-out at this point. What do you read? The world is full of poisonous literature, some of which corrupts rapidly, some slowly, but all insidiously and inevitably. As you value the health of your soul, beware of them all. If the reading of a certain book weakens your love of reading the Bible, you may be sure it is doing you harm; abandon it, before it is too late.
Again, think of the two great avenues to your heart, each having a main gateway, viz. — eye-gate and ear-gate. The robber-bands of the enemy will be sure to seek to rush these gates. You must not omit to provide towers here.
With the eye it is possible to look either at what is good or at what is evil, and the heart is affected accordingly. Therefore avoid looking at improper sights. The psalmist prayed, "Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity." He feared the effect. The righteous person deliberately shuts his eyes that he may not see what is evil (Isa. 33:15). If the evil enters eye-gate, it has a clear passage to the heart. Eve having looked at the forbidden tree, first desired it in her heart, and then took and ate the fruit. The young men in the family of God are warned against the lust of the eyes (1 John 2:16). A large portion of the pleasures of the world today consists of attractive pictures for the delectation of the eye.
Ear-gate must have its watch-tower also. The Lord said, "Take heed what ye hear." What enters the ear finds a dwelling-place in the memory. If evil, its influence spreads throughout the whole life. The enemy approaches ear-gate with its falsehoods in a plausible disguise. Be vigilant and refuse to listen to anything unholy. If a person's words detract from the honour of God, the glory of Christ, or the integrity of His word, the watchful hearer will at once close his ears, because "their word will eat as doth a canker."
Wells for Refreshment. God sends the rain from heaven, and causes springs to break forth from the earth. Our part is to prepare storage places for the water He gives in order that it may be available in various places and at various times as our need of it may be. For the purpose of this illustration I will take water as a figure of the word of God.
The word of God is the gift of God from heaven, and is the means of life and fruitfulness in the believer, containing all he requires. It testifies of Christ Jesus Who came into the world to save sinners. It sets forth the Lord Jesus as the Friend and Helper of all those who follow Him. It describes the rich blessings given through faith in Christ. It teaches the will of God. It shows what manner of behaviour is becoming in those who seek to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. The word of God is therefore the indispensable "water" for the new life of the believer in Christ.
Now you must dig wells for this water. While the word of God contains all you need, you must make its contents your own. It is not sufficient to have it between the covers of a printed book. You must store it in your memory. You must read it privately and prayerfully. Compare the Old with the New Testament. Test your knowledge of scripture by writing out passages and marking the errors you make. The accurate knowledge of scripture will help you in your prayers, in your hymn-singing, in your worship. Then as a result of your diligent digging, there will be in your heart a well of water, springing up into everlasting life, an inexhaustible supply of refreshment, however dry and barren your surroundings may be.