Uzziah Reigns in Judah
26 And all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king instead of his father Amaziah. He built Eloth and restored it to Judah, after the king slept with his fathers. Uzziah was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper.
He went out and made war against the Philistines and broke through the wall of Gath and the wall of Jabneh and the wall of Ashdod, and he built cities in the territory of Ashdod and elsewhere among the Philistines. God helped him against the Philistines and against the Arabians who lived in Gurbaal and against the Meunites. The Ammonites paid tribute to Uzziah, and his fame spread even to the border of Egypt, for he became very strong. Moreover, Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate and at the Valley Gate and at the Angle, and fortified them. And he built towers in the wilderness and cut out many cisterns, for he had large herds, both in the Shephelah and in the plain, and he had farmers and vinedressers in the hills and in the fertile lands, for he loved the soil. Moreover, Uzziah had an army of soldiers, fit for war, in divisions according to the numbers in the muster made by Jeiel the secretary and Maaseiah the officer, under the direction of Hananiah, one of the king’s commanders. The whole number of the heads of fathers’ houses of mighty men of valor was 2,600. Under their command was an army of 307,500, who could make war with mighty power, to help the king against the enemy. And Uzziah prepared for all the army shields, spears, helmets, coats of mail, bows, and stones for slinging. In Jerusalem he made machines, invented by skillful men, to be on the towers and the corners, to shoot arrows and great stones. And his fame spread far, for he was marvelously helped, till he was strong.
Uzziah’s Pride and Punishment
But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the LORD his God and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. But Azariah the priest went in after him, with eighty priests of the LORD who were men of valor, and they withstood King Uzziah and said to him, “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. Go out of the sanctuary, for you have done wrong, and it will bring you no honor from the LORD God.” Then Uzziah was angry. Now he had a censer in his hand to burn incense, and when he became angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead in the presence of the priests in the house of the LORD, by the altar of incense. And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and behold, he was leprous in his forehead! And they rushed him out quickly, and he himself hurried to go out, because the LORD had struck him. And King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death, and being a leper lived in a separate house, for he was excluded from the house of the LORD. And Jotham his son was over the king’s household, governing the people of the land.
Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, from first to last, Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz wrote. And Uzziah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the burial field that belonged to the kings, for they said, “He is a leper.” And Jotham his son reigned in his place.
2 Chronicles 26 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Obedience is a lifelong act. It is not the flash in the pan type of obedience but one that continues throughout our lives to the very calling Jesus has for us. Unfortunately, Uzziah is just another example of one who starts so well but finishes in disgrace.
At 16, he took the throne. He was mold-able, dependable, God entrusted much to him and he flourished. He had tremendous successes because he trusted in His God. He was a successful warrior, builder and did well at organizing and delegating responsibilities. But something began to happen. He lost his first love.
Through his growing accomplishments, his heart grew cold and filled itself with pride. Much like the disease that eventually overtook his body, the pride of his heart began to grow and spread. Not only on the outside was it evident through the disease but decisions he made revealed the disease of his ego and self-sufficiency growing. Destruction would follow.
One writer draws much of what happened to him all the way back to his lack of thankfulness. Nowhere in Scripture does it reveal that he had a grateful heart to God for all He had done. Instead, the good things he was able to do through the help of God became the catalyst for wrong thinking that he was the one in control. Successes were owned by him not giving credit back where it was due.
An ungrateful heart is groundwork for pride to take root. It is the place where attitudes change. Oh yes, destruction follows. Sadly for Uzziah, he is not remembered for the great reforms he brought about but about the end of his journey as he was struck with leprosy and ostracized. The living example of this king is such a reminder of our own call to lifelong obedience. We are called to stand firm to the end, not stand firm here and there.
Does any of this resonate with you? How much time do you spend in your prayer time thanking God for all He has done? How much of your intercessions are for success in some situation rather than being open and mold-able to Him whatever you are facing or going through? You know, many times when all is said and done people remember the things we’ve done but what sticks is the outcome of our life when we pass. Meaning, will you be remembered for your faithful lifelong obedience or for your downfall?
2 Chronicles 26 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
It may not seem like a big deal to us, but in that time, it was not a king’s role to enter into the temple. This was a duty assigned to the priests. In other religions, especially in eastern culture, it was expected that the most significant person in the community (usually the king) would also be the one who would represent the people before their god. With God’s people, going back to Aaron (the first high priest), it was never the duty of a king.
This wasn’t the root issue, though. It was pride.
But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the LORD his God, for he entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.2 Chronicles 26:16 NASB
When he became strong, his heart became proud. This says a lot. How many times have we looked at what others have and wished that we were them? Often, it is the bigger and better that peaks our interest. Here, we have a story of a man who became strong by his works but suffered terrible consequences spiritually. It stands as a warning that we cannot sacrifice spiritual growth for worldly gain.