Uzziah was a good king. The Lord helped him because he sought him. We have a great example of how life can be if we depend on God. On the other end we see how it is if we lean on ourselves. We have a tendency to lighten up on prayer and dedication when things are going well. We’re not as mindful of the Lord. It was a mistake for Uzziah. When he died they called him the leper king because he lifted up his heart. He usurped the power of the priests’ office by trying to offer incense. God struck him with leprosy.
It is one thing to say “I couldn’t get by without the Lord’s help” but another to really depend on God. He helps us regardless of how life goes. Our relationship with God is eternal. Testing and battling times come. Our dependence on him to be our helper should never change. It should be like wedding vows: for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part–EXCEPT that death doesn’t part us from God.
II Chronicles 26:15 And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong. 16 But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the Lord his God, and went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense upon the altar of incense. 17 And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the Lord, that were valiant men: 18 And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the Lord, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the Lord God. 19 Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord, from beside the incense altar. 20 And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the Lord had smitten him. 21 And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the Lord: and Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land. 22 Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and last, did Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, write. 23 So Uzziah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the field of the burial which belonged to the kings; for they said, He is a leper: and Jotham his son reigned in his stead.
Uzziah was 16 years old when placed on the throne. He would just be getting a driver’s license here in the US but he was responsible for driving the kingdom. He reigned 52 years. Imagine being president of the US at that age and reigning 52 years. That’s a long time. He was young and scared but not afraid to sit on the throne. He made a conscious choice to depend on the Lord. This decision guided him most of those years. We too choose whether to do right or wrong. Sometimes it’s easier to do wrong. When we choose the right, the adversary is against us. Israel had a tendency to wander from God and worship idols. They would stop trusting the Lord and following the Word of God. We’re faced with the same today. We’re still under a duty to do what’s right before God. Uzziah knew he didn’t have it within himself. He needed strength so he depended on God. We have to depend on God as well to stop us when we make wrong decisions. The hand of God touches and heals but that same hand will “pop us” when we need correction. Uzziah wanted God to keep him in line to fulfill his duty. Verse 15 says he was well-known and one of the most successful kings of Israel and Judah. God’s blessings were on the country because of this. The Lord gave victory in battle. He’ll do the same for us if we are depending on him. Anytime Israel depended on God they won their battles. Judah grew and advanced during his reign. From the lay of the towns to pipin in water. He brought in smart people, great craftsmen and engineers. They made equipment and machinery for protecting the people. God showed them how. Uzziah was no rocket scientist but God worked through him and Israel prospered all because he depended on God.
Fifty-two years of depending on God and it was going well. Why did he do what he did? Everything changed when he began to notice that people noticed him. His fame was spread abroad. Popularity happens and woes come. When everyone speaks highly of you, it’s not a sin but many quit depending on God and start depending on self. Uzziah was foolish. That fact smacked me across the face. It could happen to me. Never think you’re above doing something foolish. If we quit depending on God and lift up our heart we will be in trouble.
Uzziah thought he could step out of his role as king and step into the role of priest. He had no business doing this. He was reminded that the tribe of Levi were the only ones who could perform this role. Uzziah knew this. The mistake of Israel’s first king was now his. Are you capable of doing something wrong? Yes! We must keep trusting God. See yourself as God sees you not as how others do. Uzziah listened to the crowd instead of God. When he took the sacred censer to burn incense, 80 priests stood their ground to caution him. He got mad and insulted because he was challenged. He was the king after all and thought he could do what he wanted. Maybe he wanted to help God out. He couldn’t help God.
Look what happened when he depended on himself. All those 52 years of success fell in a moment. There was a black mark in his history. Why? Was God mad at him? No. Uzziah did what he wanted and destroyed himself. God struck him with leprosy, the thing he probably dreaded most. It eats a person physically from head to toes. In fact, it began in his forehead. The rest of his days were lived in an infirmary in quarantine. He saw his family from a distance. He never wore the robe of king again. He spent his last days there and died by himself. They could have buried him and put on his epitaph: “here lies a great king who depended on God” but instead it said he was a leper.
It’s important to never quit depending on God. His grace has brought us safe thus far and it will lead us home.