2 Chronicles 26

2 Chronicles 26
by Pastor Mark Hudson

In our chapter we have another king who starts well but ends poorly.  These are sad stories to read but not new.  Uzziah was made a king and served as co-regent starting at age 16.  Uzziah accomplished some spectacular feats in the area of military, building projects, and agriculture. He was helped by Zechariah who tutored him “in the fear of God.”  A simple declaration reminds us that God does bless people due to faithfulness (v. 5) and He disciplines in ways that we are clearly manifest (v. 19ff).

Uzziah needed his instructor Zechariah.  As long as he had outward influence he did fine.  We might wish for an internally motivated dedication but that was not the case.  And, in some measure, it was enough for God to bless Uzziah.  It may sound simple but “as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper” (v. 5).  In verse 7, “God helped him” may have been something the younger king knew but sadly forgot in his later years.  As the years passed, God seemed to move to the background.  Those God-given accomplishments became to be viewed as successes he completed through his own skill and abilities.

Granted, his reign was 52 years, yet Uzziah seemed eager to work, build, and grow things.  He was strengthened militarily in every area of Judah except north since Israel was strong at this time.  Judah and King Uzziah became well known for his military strength and victories.

Not only did Uzziah see success in battles, “ he loved the soil” (v. 10).  In our age, many of us may not appreciate that love of farming.  But King Uzziah employed many farmers and vinedressers and took interest in what was planted, growing, and the harvest.  He also fortified tower, cities, and built cisterns.  He also seemed to gather military experts who made machines for war.  While we don’t exactly know what these were, those machines helped “his fame” to “spread far” (v. 15).

Why Uzziah became proud, we don’t know but sadly, he “grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the Lord” in v. 16ff.  For Uzziah, his sin was in the area of worshiop.  God is serious about worship.  He expects His word to be obeyed and when it isn’t, grave consequences follow.  The king had his sphere of influence and authority and that did not extend to any priestly duties.  Not at all.  But Uzziah took it upon himself to burn incense on the altar.  Well, a group of priests were not going to stand by and let that happen.

Azariah, the spokesman, along with 80 priests, all “men of valor” had enough.  They withstood the king, putting their own lives on the line.  “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense . . . .”  Notice, there are no “O King, may you live forever” or “King Uzziah, may we have a word with you please.”  Their words are direct and confrontational.  They tell him to get out.

Worse yet, the king gets mad at the priests.  Immediately some skin disease appears on his forehead.  The priests usher him out of the temple with Uzziah almost running out.  He never went back into the temple again.  He lived the rest of his life in a home by himself.  All because he wanted to be more than a king.  Uzziah was not content to be the King of Judah.

There is a lot to reflect on in this passage.  First, as we have seen, ending well after a good beginning is not a given.  Many start college but don’t finish.  Many start exercising, diets, promising to get more rest, eat less and for a variety of reasons do not continue to completion.  But in your spiritual life, God will never let you down.  But you have a part to play.  Keep fighting for a good ending.  Make sure your spiritual life is thriving not merely existing.  Read, meditate, study, pray, worship.  Discipline yourself to attend worship.  Be two hour people: Sunday school and worship.  Serve others.  Apply yourself to grow.  Work at it.

Then, consider what God has given you.  You may not be the boss, manager, or owner.  You may not have a title at church or be the favorite in your family.  But God has given you a place.  God has also given other people a position, a calling, and a job that may be over you in terms of authority.  Your parents, your pastors/elders, politicians, etc.  Be thankful for what you have.  Don’t seek what has not been granted you.

Guard your heart with all diligence says Proverbs 4:23.  Pride is always trying to push God off His rightful throne so you can reign.  Pride is hateful to God.  Proverbs says “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven are an abomination to him: haughty eyes . . . .”  God hates pride.  God calls pride an abomination.  Watch your thoughts and attitudes.  Do you look down on others.  Do you think more about how others view you than thinking about others to love and pray for them?

Finally, do you care enough about God and His standards to risk anything at all?  We don’t need to confront everyone all the time.  We do need to love everyone all the time.  But, sometimes, sometimes, you do need to confront someone.  Not to defend yourself but to defend the honor of God.  No one can say when that will be before an event happens.  Are you the type of person who loves God enough and is willing to risk something valuable to stand up for God?  You might want to think about that.

Our dear, loving, heavenly Father.  We approach You through the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ name.  We ask that You help us to end our lives in love to You, obeying You to the very end.  We ask that You root out the pride that has found a home in our heart.  We admit we cover that pride up and get angry when we get caught in our pride.  Finally, help us to strive to know You and be content with our sphere of influence.  Keep us from wanting what You have not given us but have given to others.  For the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen