In my adventure through Chronicles, I bumped into great kings and awful kings–all men with flaws, yet some seemed to sink into sin and others remained faithful to the end.
Uzziah started well. He didn’t finish well. Why? Pride. Read on to see what awful things he did all because of pride.
“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 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 sons 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!”
Uzziah was furious and refused to set down the incense burner he was holding. But as he was standing there with the priests before the incense altar in the LORD’s Temple, leprosy suddenly broke out on his forehead. When Azariah and the other priests saw the leprosy, they rushed him out. And the king himself was eager to get out because the LORD had struck him.
So King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in isolation, 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.” 2 Chronicles 26:16-21 NLT
Honestly, this is my number one fear as an author. I’ve seen it happen far too many times. An author starts out small and humble, willing to learn the ropes. Then he/she gains a modicum of success and it shoots straight to the ego, enlarging it beyond what it should be. Pride enters in. The author becomes a Me Monster, unable to hear or receive criticism.
The person who was initially excited about writing words to build God’s kingdom morphs into a person hell-bent on their own kingdom.
Uzziah did this. He let pride have its awful way. And it literally ruined him. He became so proud, he violated the sanctuary of God, elevating himself to a priest, thinking he was above reproach. Though the priests begged him to leave, he didn’t.
So God struck him with leprosy, which meant he couldn’t even participate in the community of God. Exiled because of his condition, he died in humiliation.
Pride kills, folks. There is no room for it in the kingdom. Whether you’re a speaker, author, pastor, or ministry leader, it can subtly entice you. Don’t let it.
Q4U: Have you ever experienced someone becoming too big for their britches? What happened? Why do you think it’s hard for prideful people to repent?