Uzziah thought his power and ability caused his great success. He felt he didn’t need to live by God’s rules. Uzziah had pride and, or pride and (plus). He felt he was irreplaceable. He was Uzziah – a priest brining in the presence. From this destruction came.
By Pastor Delbert Young
Pride and a Leprous Moment
Pride and a Leprous Moment
Scriptures: 2 Chronicles 26:1-5, 1 Corinthians 15:10, 2 Chronicles 26:8, 2 Chronicles 26:15, 2 Chronicles 26:15, 2 Chronicles 26:5, 2 Chronicles 26:15-16, Deuteronomy 8:11-14, Deuteronomy 8:17-19, 2 Chronicles 26:16-18, 2 Chronicles 26:19, 2 Chronicles 26:20-21
We’re talking about the destructive power of “PRIDE AND” We all struggle with pride and…, so we all need to be aware of its destructive powers. Today I want to talk about an obscure individual in the Bible who you likely are not familiar. His name is Uzziah. He was a king of Judah around 800 BC. He was an amazing man who the destructive power of pride devastated and all but destroyed. After 2,800 years we continue to not understand the destructive power of pride and…
2 Chronicles 26:1-5 Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, WHO WAS SIXTEEN YEARS OLD, and made him king in place of his father Amaziah. He was the one who rebuilt Elath and restored it to Judah after Amaziah rested with his fathers. Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem FIFTY-TWO YEARS. His mother’s name was Jecoliah; she was from Jerusalem. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, JUST AS his father Amaziah had done. He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. AS LONG AS HE SOUGHT THE LORD, GOD GAVE HIM SUCCESS.
Uh-oh! The last sentence hints of something unsaid. It said, “As long as he sought the Lord…”Why would this be added? Doesn’t this mean time or times, came when Uzziah didn’t seek the Lord? Did God pull back Uzziah’s success? Every wonder why sometimes we don’t have success? Do you ever have times when you do not seek the Lord? Why is this? Isn’t it because we feel we don’t need the Lord. We say, “I got this. I can handle everything in my life.” Is that pride? Beware! Not seeking the Lord is a first indication of the haughty spirit of pride.
The previous verses give us a bunch of thoughts about Uzziah. First, what did this sixteen-year-old have going for him? What does it require for people to place a sixteen-year-old into a position of ruling a nation? What would it take for you to submit to a sixteen-year-old? My point is Uzziah was obviously a special, gifted, and extraordinary young man. Uzziah was something extraordinary, but why? You are something special, but why? What makes us who we are?
1 Corinthians 15:10 BUT BY THE GRACE OF GOD I AM WHAT I AM, and his grace to me was NOT WITHOUT EFFECT. No, I worked harder than all of them — yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
Uzziah was special because of the grace of God on his life. You are special because of the grace of God. You have special gifts and talents. You have abilities both natural and spiritual. These gifts are given you by God’s grace (Rom 12:3-8; 1Co 12:1-11), but pride tells us we are special by our own power, strength, and abilities. God says don’t think this. You will stop seeking me and pride will destroy you.
Uzziah’s father, Amaziah, was assassinated (2Ch 25:27) as was his grandfather, Joash (2Ch 24:25). Both were kings who began well following the Lord but turned away from following the Lord. We’ve talked about pride being a haughty spirit (Pro 16:18). It will come upon us from our parenting unless we recognize it.
Let’s take a look at Uzziah’ success. He was a great builder. He built up Jerusalem and rebuilt surrounding cities. He was also a great military leader. He conquered enemies and taxed them. He was an amazing military leader greatly responsible for the termination of the archenemy the Philistines (2Ch 26:7).
2 Chronicles 26:8 The Ammonites brought tribute to Uzziah, and his fame spread as far as the border of Egypt, BECAUSE HE HAD BECOME VERY POWERFUL.
Both in domestic and foreign affairs, Uzziah experienced tremendous success. Any country today would appreciate their president or their most prominent leader, to be like Uzziah. Uzziah was a brilliant leader.
Uzziah put great emphasis on defense and protection for God’s people. He built security towers both in Jerusalem and in the desert to detect any enemy’s attacks. He fortified the walls of Jerusalem. He developed a well-trained and well-armed army with 2600 trained commanders and 307,500 soldiers. I googled Israel’s front line numbers for today. It’s 176,500. They have 445,000 in reserve, but 2,800 years ago Uzziah’s army was massive. He equipped them with the best armor and weapons (v14).
2 Chronicles 26:15 In Jerusalem he made machines designed by skillful men for use on the towers and on the corner defenses to shoot arrows and hurl large stones…
Uzziah was an amazing leader with a heart to defend, protect, and equip God’s people. God blessed him with the abilities to do it. If we want the blessings of God, we need to defend, protect, and equip God’s people.
Uzziah also made certain there was food for God’s people with much livestock fields and vineyards. If we want the blessings of God, we need to provide God’s people spiritual food and help with other needs as well.
On every front, Uzziah was an amazing leader. He greatly increased the economy. He was at the top militarily. Things had never been better for the people since the days of King David and King Solomon. Uzziah would have been spoken of in the same breath as David and Solomon. People were blessed and prosperous under Uzziah’s leadership. They became wealthy again. God blessed Uzziah as he sought the Lord. Of course, Uzziah became wealthy, and influential (2Ch 26:10). His achievements seemed nearly… supernatural, didn’t they?
2 Chronicles 26:15 …His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped UNTIL…
What? Until what? We’ll finish reading this verse shortly. Uzziah was a sixteen-year old boy who became the most respected, influential, powerful, prosperous, successful, wealthy, supernaturally inspired man in all the region. “Uzziah” had become a household name and conversation. Everyone was captivated with Uzziah. But, why was Uzziah so respected, influential, powerful, prosperous, successful, wealthy, and supernaturally inspired? Why was life so good? Remember verse 5?
2 Chronicles 26:5 He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. AS LONG AS HE SOUGHT THE LORD, GOD GAVE HIM SUCCESS.
Have you had a verse 5 in your life? The Lord was responsible for Uzziah’s unprecedented success. The Lord God gave him success, but only as long as he sought the Lord. Let’s finish reading verse 15 now.
2 Chronicles 26:15-16 …His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped UNTIL HE BECAME POWERFUL. But after Uzziah BECAME POWERFUL, HIS PRIDE LED TO HIS DOWNFALL. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God…
Uzziah became powerful. He believed his great accomplishments were from his own power. Uzziah began following the paths of his father and his grandfather. Both became proud after major accomplishments. They forgot the Lord. The same thing happened with Uzziah. What was the problem? Pride! Can people who once sought the Lord, were amazingly gifted by God and blessed, become prideful? Yes! God warned us this will happen and what would happen if we allowed its spirit to take control.
Deuteronomy 8:11-14 BE CAREFUL THAT YOU DO NOT FORGET THE LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, THEN YOUR HEART WILL BECOME PROUD and you WILL FORGET the LORD your God…
The Lord warned us we would struggle with faithfulness to God when God blesses our lives. Why? Your heart will become proud – not might. Your heart will! It’s the natural reaction.
Deuteronomy 8:17-19 You may say to yourself, “MY POWER AND THE STRENGTH OF MY HANDS HAVE PRODUCED THIS WEALTH FOR ME.” But remember the LORD your God, for IT IS HE WHO GIVES YOU THE ABILITY TO PRODUCE WEALTH, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today. IF YOU EVER FORGET THE LORD YOUR GOD AND FOLLOW OTHER GODS and worship and bow down to them, I TESTIFY AGAINST YOU TODAY THAT YOU WILL SURELY BE DESTROYED.
We don’t realize the destructive power of pride. Pride’s power, as we’ve seen, shuts God and people out of our lives. Here we actually see pride has the power to cause you to forget the Lord your God and pursue other gods – other things more important than God – self-gratification. Pride will always come when we prosper and are blessed by God. We will always want to say, “My abilities produced this success. Who needs God? I don’t need God! I got this.” We do exactly what Uzziah did and with it comes destruction.
The world tells us there’s nothing wrong with pride.Shouldn’t I be proud of my success – influence, wealth, respect, and prosperity? Shouldn’t I be proud of my nice clothes, my possessions (house and car), my education, my family, and my occupation? What’s wrong with pride? The problem with pride, as we’ve seen, is God hates it (Pro 6:16; 8:13; 16:5 – see http://www.lifegatechurch.com/_CSS/pride/1-pride-god-hates-it-page.html). Pride destroys people. Pride is a haughty destructive evil spirit (Pro 16:18). Jesus taught against pride by teaching a radical humility of serving. (see http://www.lifegatechurch.com/_CSS/pride/2-pride-and-the-secret-of-humility-page.html) What’s wrong with pride? Destruction! There’s nothing wrong with success and possessions as long as we know it was God who gave us the ability to have them.
Uzziah had forgotten the Lord and became unfaithful. He is a perfect picture of what happens when a person when the haughty spirit of pride takes over. Uzziah was unique, but special because of the grace of God. He felt special because of his power. He felt he was different. Uzziah felt he had achieved so much through his own power on his own he could do anything he wanted. Uzziah thought, “I’m so important and powerful, the normal rules for everyone else do not apply to me. I’m pretty powerful. In fact, I’m so powerful God needs me. No one can replace me and do what I can do. Come on. Look around. Look what I’ve done.”
2 Chronicles 26:16-18 But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. AZARIAH THE PRIEST WITH EIGHTY OTHER courageous priests of the LORD followed him in. They confronted him and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. LEAVE THE SANCTUARY, FOR YOU HAVE BEEN UNFAITHFUL; AND YOU WILL NOT BE HONORED BY THE LORD GOD.”
Without going into a lot of unnecessary detail about the Old Covenant priesthood, only specific people were to burn incense inside the temple. (Here are some references: Num 18:7; Exo 30:7; Deu 33:10; Num 3:10; 16:35; 1 Chr 23:13). In the New Testament, you are “a holy priesthood” (1Pe 2:5, 9). You don’t need a priest to confess your sins or burn incense (prayer) for you. You are to go straight to Jesus, our High Priest (Heb 8:1; 9:11).
The point is the rules for everyone else no longer pertained to Uzziah. He was too powerful and too necessary.
2 Chronicles 26:19 Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, BECAME ANGRY. WHILE HE WAS RAGING AT THE PRIESTS in their presence before the incense altar in the LORD’s temple, LEPROSY BROKE OUT ON HIS FOREHEAD.
Eighty-one people attempted to stop Uzziah from making the largest mistake he could ever make, but when the spirit of haughty pride has got you, no one can stop you. Uzziah lost it and went nuts – ballistic. We can imagine what he sarcastically said, “I’m not honored by the Lord God? Do you know who I am? I am King Uzziah! I’m large and in charge. To whom do you think you’re talking? You don’t tell me what to do. Look around at what I’ve done! What have you done? I’m the king. I don’t care what you say.” While he was raging and in their presence, God said enough is enough. God has a line, and when we cross the line the hammer comes down.
“You can take a step after step towards the cliff edge and no harm is done. You can reject God’s guidance time and time again, and it appears not to matter. But eventually these steps take you to the edge of the cliff, and at that point, it only takes one step to take you over.” In the midst of his pride and… – leprosy broke out on his forehead.
2 Chronicles 26:20-21 When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests looked at him, they saw that he had leprosy on his forehead, so they hurried him out. Indeed, he himself was eager to leave, BECAUSE THE LORD HAD AFFLICTED HIM. KING UZZIAH HAD LEPROSY UNTIL THE DAY HE DIED. He lived in a separate house – leprous, and excluded from the temple of the LORD. Jotham his son had charge of the palace and governed the people of the land.
God sent eighty-one people in an attempted to stop Uzziah. Had he listened, leprosy would have never happened. How many times do people attempt to stop us from making a leprous mistake? Do we listen? Why don’t we? Pride and… Uzziah was now forced by God to listen to those he refused to listen. If he ever entered the temple again, if he ever came into public again, he must pass the priest’s inspection (Deu 24:8).
In what area of your life are you a raging star? Where is it you don’t need God? You are too powerful and too important and too necessary to need God. You got this! If anything God needs you. Where is it in your life you would say, “Who do you think you are correcting me? Look at what I’ve done.” You best realize you are about to experience a leprous moment, and it will last for the rest of your life. Or, you could stop and think, “By the grace of God I am what I am and have what I have. The Lord has given me the ability and power and ability to make wealth. I think I’m going to humble myself under the mighty hand of God (1Pe 5:6) and avoid Pride and a leprous moment.” It’s always pride and…
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