The Slide of Pride

Uzziah was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-two years in 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… 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 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. But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the Lord his God.” 2 Chronicles 26:3-5,9-11,15-16

Like father, like son. Had Uzziah followed his father’s early example, he would have remained true to his God, but sadly, he, too, fell prey to the lure of elevating self above the God Who had called, exalted, and prospered him. Uzziah was widely gifted, and used his God-given talents to build up Israel’s military and reputation, to lead them to the cutting edge technologically, and to make the land fruitful. But when he’d reached the pinnacle of success, he got antsy and wanted to try his hand at the priests’ role, so he entered the temple to offer sacrifices. God graciously sent eighty priests to warn him, but now his soul, engorged with pride, erupted in rebellious anger. His consequent curse of leprosy excluded him from the house of the Lord until death. He who had been marvelously helped now marvelously fell, at his own hand of willful unfaithfulness.

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It is true that once we exercise new roles and gifts, we become more proficient, yet rather than our success conveying license to act independently from God, it should compel us to depend all the more on Him to fulfill His design for us. God Almighty had conferred a great stewardship on this king, and Uzziah ended up squandering his trust. Sadly, the sum of his life was how he finished, far from the Lord. It is interesting that the prophet Isaiah, after Uzziah’s death, saw a magnificent vision of God glorified as King in the temple- He is always Victor. (Proverbs 3:3-7; Isaiah 6:1-5)

“Thou that hast given so much to me, give one thing more- a grateful heart.” ~George Herbert (1593-1633)

Good Father, may I daily set myself to seek You and be a grateful and steadfast steward of all You entrust to me. Instruct me to be generous in my resources, industrious and fruitful in my talents, humble and wise in every grace. May I live and serve for Your purposes and glory, faithful to the end.

 

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