Uzziah (also called Azariah)
We are never closer to failure than during our greatest successes when we fail to give God credit for that achievement. Uzziah’s achievements brought him fame. He was successful in war and peace, in planning and execution, in building and planting. He did so many things well that a consuming pride gradually invaded his life like the leprous disease that finally destroyed his body. Uzziah’s pride was rooted in lack of thankfulness. We have no account of him ever showing appreciation to God.
Verse 2 – One of the first things Uzziah did was to rebuild the seaport of Eloth, at the northern tip of the Red Sea. This meant that Judah once again had access to the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.
Verse 5 – This Zechariah is not the son of Jehoiada (24:20) or the prophet who has a book of the Bible named after him. Uzziah sought Zechariah’s advice as long as he was alive, but when Zechariah died, Uzziah’s commitment to the Lord weakened, but he never strayed into idolatry.
Verses 11-15 – Uzziah had a different philosophy about the army than his predecessors. In the past, the idea had been to accumulate more and more men. Uzziah had roughly the same number of men at his disposal as his father, but he organized them into more flexible divisions, and he made sure they had effective weapons.
Verse 16 – Uzziah over-stepped the authority that God had denied to any person who was not a descendant of Aaron of the tribe of Levi. He took it upon himself to go into the holy place and burn incense, something only the priest was allowed to do.
Verses 17-21 – When people have money and power, they often think the law doesn’t apply to them. He soon found out when he was confronted by Azariah, a priest, and 80 of his colleagues, that he was dead wrong in his actions. Uzziah still had the fir-pan in his hand when the priest came in. Instead of stopping what he was doing, he continued. He was punished immediately with a skin disease on his forehead. He was led out of the temple and had to live apart from everyone the rest of his life. There are always consequences for disobedience. His son Jotham was placed in charge. Scripture never records of a repentance. He was given a royal burial when he died though.