Yesterday morning I read about King Uzziah and how he started off on such a positive note. Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king of Judah. He was a man of God and as long as he sought Him, he prospered. Through God, he accomplished a lot of things such as breaking down the walls of Gath, Jabneh and Ashdod; building cities around Ashdod and and among the Philistines. God helped him against the Philistines, against the Arabians who lived in Gur Baal, and against the Meunites. Also the Ammonites brought tribute to Uzziah. His fame spread as far as the entrance of Egypt, for he became exceedingly strong.
Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate, at the Valley Gate, and at the corner buttress of the wall; then he fortified them. Also he built towers in the desert. He dug many wells, for he had much livestock, both in the lowlands and in the plains; he also had farmers and vinedressers in the mountains and in Carmel, for he loved the soil. Verses 11-15 tells us more of his accomplishments but verse 15 stands out because it says, So his fame spread far and wide, for he was marvelously helped till he became strong. Note the words till he became strong. This indicates that things are about to take a turn–in a bad way.
Sure enough, verse 16 says: But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the LORD his God by entering the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. Humility was replaced with pride once Uzziah became powerful–famous. He forgot his God who had prospered everything he had done. He turned away from Him and adoration and obedience gave way to apostasy and rebellion.
Uzziah was not a Levite yet he had entered the temple to burn incense on the altar. For this blatant disregard for God’s statues, he was confronted by Azariah the priest and eighty other priests. “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have trespassed! You shall have no honor from the LORD God.”
What was Uzziah’s reaction? Remorse? Guilt? No! He was furious. He had a censer in his hand to burn the incense. He was going through with it regardless of what they had to say. He was angry with them. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, before the priests in the house of the LORD, beside the incense altar. And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place. Indeed he also hurried to get out, because the LORD had struck him. Sadly, this man who started out good and then allowed pride to get the better of him, was a leper for the rest of his life. He dwelt in an isolated house, because he was a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD (2 Chronicles 26).
What a sad ending to a life that had so much promise. God had been with him since he became king at the tender age of sixteen. God had blessed him and helped him and prospered him. Then his heart was filled with pride, leaving no room for God. And great was his fall. He became a leper and and an outcast. This reminds me so much of Solomon whom God blessed with wisdom, wealth and peace from his enemies but his love for foreign women turned Solomon’s heart and worship away from God. Lucifier, a beautiful being who was clothed in precious stones and had the gift of music, allowed pride and envy to rule his heart and senses and as a result, he was cast out of Heaven.
“Pride [goes] before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
Moses warned the people of Israel not to forget who was behind their prosperity. “So it shall be, when the LORD your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, “houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant–when you have eaten and are full–[then] beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage (Deuteronomy 6:10-12).
Always give God thanks for all that He has done, is doing and will continue to do in your life. He is the One who prospers and keeps you. Don’t make the mistake Uzziah did. Always give God the glory.