“As long as the king sought guidance from the Lord, God gave him success” (II Chronicles 26:5, NLT).
“But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall. He sinned against the Lord his God by entering the sanctuary of the Lord’s Temple and personally burning incense on the incense altar. Azariah the high priest went in after him with eighty other priests of the Lord, all brave men. They confronted King Uzziah and said, ‘It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord. That is the work of the priests alone, the descendants of Aaron who are set apart for this work. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have sinned. The Lord God will not honor you for this!’” (II Chronicles 26:16-18).
What Uzziah was doing was no minor infraction – it was an abomination. Azariah, along with “eighty other priests” bravely “confronted King Uzziah.” Not only were they upset over what Uzziah was doing, they also knew that the repercussions of this sin would be devastating. But Uzziah had become too full of himself to regard the high priest’s warning.
“Uzziah, who was holding an incense burner, became furious. He was standing there raging at the priests before the incense altar in the Lord’s Temple” (II Chronicles 26:19a).
Uzziah waltzed into the Temple and performed a priest’s function, yet God did nothing to stop him. Instead, He allowed His representatives, the priests, to do the confronting. Uzziah’s response? He “became furious.” Still, nothing happened. But then he began “raging at the priests before the incense altar.” Not only was he screaming at God’s appointed Temple leaders, he was doing so in the Temple at the altar. God had had enough.
In the midst of his screaming tirade, “leprosy suddenly broke out on his forehead” (II Chronicles 26:19b) and Uzziah saw the horror on the faces of the priests around him.
“They rushed him out. And the king himself was eager to get out because the Lord had struck him” (II Chronicles 26:20).
It was forbidden for a person with leprosy to be inside the Temple. Honoring the Law, the priests rushed Uzziah outside. Uzziah, terrified at what was happening to him, readily complied.
“So King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in isolation in a separate house, for he was excluded from the Temple of the Lord. His son Jotham was put in charge of the royal palace, and he governed the people of the land” (II Chronicles 26:21).
People of God, second only to accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is the call to finish strong. Whether you’re 30 or 90, if you’re still on this planet, you’re to be about the Father’s business. In the Kingdom of God, the retirement plan is out of this world, not in it.
Don’t tell me about what you used to do for the Lord. Tell me about what you’re doing right now. I’ve often offered up my deep philosophy on life and I’ll state it here again: Life is a forward journey; dang the history.
Do what you’re doing right here, right now for the glory of God. Uzziah stayed focused on God as long as he was up to his eyeballs in conflicts and construction. It was only after things had settled down that he forgot his purpose. You and I, just like Uzziah, can avoid some very painful lessons if we’ll only keep our eyes on the Savior.
“My life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus – the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God” (Paul speaking, Acts 20:24).
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates