“Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. Uzziah sought God during the days of Zechariah, who taught him to fear God. And as long as the king sought guidance from the Lord, God gave him success” (II Chronicles 26:3a, 5, NLT).
“Uzziah sought God during the days of Zechariah.” As an infant, Joash, Uzziah’s grandfather, had been rescued from certain death by the wife of the priest Jehoiada and was then hidden and brought up in the Temple by Jehoiada and his sons. After coming to power, Jehoiada repaid this kindness by ordering the murder of Jehoiada’s son Zechariah for delivering God’s message about the disobedience of Joash and the people of Israel. Some scholars believe the Zechariah that was such a positive influence in Uzziah’s life was a descendant of this son of Jehoiada.
Note, unfortunately, that we have the same problem with Uzziah as we’ve seen with Joash and so many other rulers: “Uzziah sought God during the days of Zechariah.” If things hadn’t changed after Zechariah was out of the picture, there’d be no need for such a statement. Clearly even the good king Uzziah didn’t stay on the right pathway.
“And as long as the king sought guidance from the Lord, God gave him success.” While Uzziah followed God’s guidance, his rule was blessed with many successes: “Uzziah declared war on the Philistines and broke down the walls of Gath, Jabneh, and Ashdod. Then he built new towns in the Ashdod area and in other parts of Philistia. God helped him in his wars against the Philistines, his battles with the Arabs of Gur, and his wars with the Meunites. The Meunites paid annual tribute to him, and his fame spread even to Egypt, for he had become very powerful” (II Chronicles 26:6-8).
“God helped him.” Just as He does with us today, the Lord blessed Uzziah when he depended on Him and obeyed Him. These successes, in turn, made Uzziah “very powerful.”
“Uzziah built fortified towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate, at the Valley Gate, and at the angle in the wall. He also constructed forts in the wilderness and dug many water cisterns, because he kept great herds of livestock in the foothills of Judah and on the plains. He was also a man who loved the soil. He had many workers who cared for his farms and vineyards, both on the hillsides and in the fertile valleys.
Uzziah had an army of well-trained warriors, ready to march into battle, unit by unit. This army had been mustered and organized by Jeiel, the secretary of the army, and his assistant, Maaseiah. They were under the direction of Hananiah, one of the king’s officials. These regiments of mighty warriors were commanded by 2,600 clan leaders. The army consisted of 307,500 men, all elite troops. They were prepared to assist the king against any enemy.
Uzziah provided the entire army with shields, spears, helmets, coats of mail, bows, and sling stones. And he built structures on the walls of Jerusalem, designed by experts to protect those who shot arrows and hurled large stones from the towers and the corners of the wall. His fame spread far and wide, for the Lord gave him marvelous help, and he became very powerful” (II Chronicles 26:9-15).
As Uzziah continued to walk in the teachings of his mentor “Zechariah, who taught him to fear God,” Uzziah saw more and more successes come his way, so much so that the Bible says “the Lord gave him marvelous help.” “Marvelous” – from the root word “marvel.” It was irrefutably evident that God was the reason Uzziah was being blessed in so many ways.
Why would Uzziah do anything that would cause him to lose such a blessing? Proverbs 16:18 holds the answer: “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” Uzziah, I’m afraid, was headed for disaster.
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates