Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah.
2 Chronicles 26:15
I. Uzziah's marvellous prosperity. He was a clever, enterprising, busy, practical man, just the sort of man to advance the arts of civilisation, to develop a country's resources, and further its prosperity. And indeed this is what he did. God made him to prosper. "He was marvellously helped till he was strong."
II. His marvellous presumption. "When he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction." Not satisfied with being king, he must be high-priest also. Horror-struck with his profanity, Azariah, the real priest, with a band of faithful coadjutors, entreated him to go out of the sanctuary. But he persevered in his impious attempt, when suddenly an awful judgment from Heaven arrested him. He was smitten with a loathsome leprosy, and in terror and dismay rushed forth from the courts he had desecrated.
III. The note of warning. A man may be "lifted up to his destruction" (1) by the pride of money; (2) by the pride of intellect; (3) by the pride of wit. Our place of security is at the foot of the Cross.
J. Thain Davidson, Forewarned—Forearmed, p. 107.
References: 2 Chronicles 26:15.—G. Matheson, Moments on the Mount, p. 190. 2 Chronicles 26:15, 2 Chronicles 26:16.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. x., p. 266.
2 Chronicles 26:16-20Notice some of the ways in which the guilt of presumption in the worship of God is often incurred in modern times.
I. It ought not to provoke a smile when the first is named as that of sleeping in God's house. That man coolly insults God who needlessly composes himself to slumber when professing to be a suppliant for mercy at His feet.
II. Similar is the presumption of neglecting to participate in Divine worship when present in God's house. Negative sins are sometimes most intensely sinful; heedless sins are sometimes most fearfully fatal.
III. Presumption in worship may take the form of frequenting the house of God as a place of entertainment merely.
IV. We are guilty of presumptuous sin in worship if we endeavour to conceal from ourselves hidden sin under cover of scrupulous devotion.
V. We are guilty of presumptuous worship when we offer to God services in which any essential truth of God's being is denied or ignored. The place of worship where Christ is denied is no place for us. Prayer offered otherwise than in His name cannot be prayer for us. Our fellowship is with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.
A. Phelps, The Old Testament a Living Book, p. 79.
2 Chronicles 26:16-21Rightly to apprehend Uzziah's sin we must remember through what barriers he had to break before he could resolve to do this thing. He had to disregard the direct command of Jehovah that the priests alone should burn incense on His altar; he had to despise the history of his people, to defy the holy name by which he himself was called. Therefore it was because his rebellion was so great, his defiance of his convictions and of his God so flagrant, that the Lord smote him; and he bore till death the mark of the curse that fell on him for his impiety.
I. We see here prosperity and pride. Mere worldly prosperity is often the prelude to daring impiety. Uzziah was a good king, but he was a bad priest; he was not the priest whom God had chosen. Statecraft and policy have no claim to spiritual direction. The spirit of the Gospel is not that of the successful worldling, but that of the little child of the kingdom.
II. We see here pride and punishment. It is part of God's order of nature that bodily pains should often reveal and rebuke the workings of an ungodly soul. The solemn truth that pride and passion are destroyers of man, the remembrance of those who have been destroyed by them, are admonitions to us. "Verily He is a God that judgeth in the earth."
III. Punishment and shame. Hope concerning Uzziah is given in the record of his hasting to go out of the Temple. His proud heart was broken; he was smitten with shame. A man is not altogether lost while he can feel shame. God quickens the "sorrow of the world, which worketh death," into "godly sorrow, working repentance to salvation, not to be repented of."
A. Mackennal, Christ's Healing Touch, p. 16.
He built Eloth, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept with his fathers.
Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem.
And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did.
And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.
And he went forth and warred against the Philistines, and brake down the wall of Gath, and the wall of Jabneh, and the wall of Ashdod, and built cities about Ashdod, and among the Philistines.
And God helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabians that dwelt in Gurbaal, and the Mehunims.
And the Ammonites gave gifts to Uzziah: and his name spread abroad even to the entering in of Egypt; for he strengthened himself exceedingly.
Moreover Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the corner gate, and at the valley gate, and at the turning of the wall, and fortified them.
Also he built towers in the desert, and digged many wells: for he had much cattle, both in the low country, and in the plains: husbandmen also, and vine dressers in the mountains, and in Carmel: for he loved husbandry.
Moreover Uzziah had an host of fighting men, that went out to war by bands, according to the number of their account by the hand of Jeiel the scribe and Maaseiah the ruler, under the hand of Hananiah, one of the king's captains.
The whole number of the chief of the fathers of the mighty men of valour were two thousand and six hundred.
And under their hand was an army, three hundred thousand and seven thousand and five hundred, that made war with mighty power, to help the king against the enemy.
And Uzziah prepared for them throughout all the host shields, and spears, and helmets, and habergeons, and bows, and slings to cast stones.
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.
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.
And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the LORD, that were valiant men:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and last, did Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, write.
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.