Good King becomes proud
It had all started so well. Uzziah was only sixteen years old when he became King of Judah, yet he quickly became powerful and successful. He defeated nations; Commanded a vast well trained army; Invented weapons for war; Engaged in great building projects; and, Oversaw a prosperous agricultural programme.
His secret? He humbled himself under God's word: 'He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord...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.'
Zechariah was the prophet through whom God's own word was spoken. Uzziah, while only a young teen, learned to humble himself under God. He may be a King, but wisely he knew God alone was the true King. But, as so often happens pride obscured his vision: 'His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful.' Power and fame are not wrong, but when they take the place of God they are deadly. 'But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall.'
A King like me
Uzziah's pride meant, 'He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense.' Coming to God was right but there was a way to come that God had ordained - through the priest who acted as a mediator. His proud heart meant he no longer saw the need of a priest - who needs a saviour when you are powerful and famous!
If we dare to look close enough we find Uzziah lurking in our own hearts. We may start off well and acknowledge that there is only one true God, we may humble ourselves under God's word but then we become proud. We congratulate ourselves how successful we are are - my health, my career, my job, my family.
Before we know it we are so powerful we don't even need a saviour!
'Uzziah's head is so large he has forgotten not only who has given him his kingdom but who he is. Yes, he is a king, but he remains a sinner, in need of a priestly mediator to atone for him.' (Barrett)
Repent before the King
Uzziah had done wrong and was confronted by Azzariah the priest plus eighty others! The humble response would be repentance, but Uzziah '...became angry. While he was raging at the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead. He lived in a separate house - leprous and excluded from the temple of the Lord.'
There is no place for pride before our creator God only humble repentance. What we have is always from his hands, what we receive is always by his grace.
As James reminds us: 'God opposes the prod but shows favour/grace to the humble.' (4v6) Don't ever forget who we are - we always need a saviour and Christ is our sufficient and perfect priest.
*Reflections from: 'None Greater' by Matthew Barrett