Bible Topics
in the Christian Library
UZZIAH – From Royalty To Leprosy
2 Chronicles 26

 1. Our lesson focuses on one of the most successful Kings of the Southern Kingdom. His name literally means “Jehovah is strength” and his life illustrates the meaning of his name. Uzziah became Judah’s eleventh King at age 16 and held the second longest tenure as Judah’s monarchy (52 years). NOTE: He is called “Azariah” in the historical record of 2 Kings.

  a. Early in his career he was victorious over all enemies. He strengthened his kingdom and improved the economic status of his nation.

  b. An interesting fact about Uzziah is revealed in 2 Chron 26:15. The King was an intelligent military tactician. He was able to conceive and construct weapons. He became famous for these inventions.

  c. He was a superb organizer and his fame spread even to the Egyptian Dynasty. 

  d. During his monarchy the nation enjoyed a bright spot in the world’s history.

  e. There cannot be a better success story than King Uzziah. Tragically his biography does not end on the note of success but of failure. Instead of being buried in the sepulcher of the Kings in Jerusalem, he was buried in a field outside of the city. It is this ironic twist in Uzziah’s career that deserves our concentration. One would expect a marvelous accolade to be chiseled into the grave marker of Uzziah. However, the eulogy is stated with four simple words, “He is a leper.” 

 f. Consider the history of this “successful failure.”

2. Uzziah in his YOUTH (2 Chron 26:1-5).

  a. His early years were marked by the significant influences surrounding him.

  1) His father was King Amaziah (2 Chron 26:4).
   The inspired historian notes that Amaziah “did right in the sight of the Lord” (2 Chron 25:2). He was a father who was concerned with what God commanded. He would thus be a father whose example would be influential in guiding his son in God’s will. “Right” refers to one recognizing that God’s commands must be followed. An interesting illustration of this decision to follow God’s will is found in 2 Chron 25:6-9. Amaziah had organized a military expedition against Edom. He had gathered a large army from Judah but had also hired 100,000 Israeli mercenaries. God’s prophet confronted Amaziah about this fellowship and bluntly told him it was unacceptable to God (25:7). The King dismissed those whom God refused to recognize (this situation is a valuable lesson itself and deserves study).

   Amaziah’s influence upon young Uzziah was important. However, there is a somber footnote to Amaziah’s dedication to God – “yet not with a whole heart.” Even though he knew that God expected wholehearted devotion, he did not offer such to the Almighty. This inconsistency revealed that Amaziah did not recognize God’s total sovereignty and this would have a drastic impact upon his son. NOTE: How many fathers since Amaziah have also admitted the need to “do right in the sight of the Lord” BUT they have not done so with their whole heart? Consequently their children have been impacted for the worse! Historical tragedies are often repeated by those who refuse to learn. (Cf. Dt 6:5). Fathers, have you allowed God’s sovereignty to control all of your life?

  2) His respect for God’s messenger (2 Chron 26:5).
   A key to Uzziah’s success is his desire to seek God. It seems that the influence for this is attributable to a prophet or priest named “Zachariah.”  This unknown prophet was able to know, understand, and explain God’s will so the King (and others) would understand and obey.

  b. As long as Uzziah was influenced by these forces to follow God’s will, he knew success and happiness. It was a good time for Judah!

3. Uzziah in his role as STATESMAN (2 Chron 26:6-15).
 No politician could dream of a better tenure as a chief executive of a nation. Prosperity was enjoyed in all areas of life.

  a. POLITICALLY Uzziah’s leadership resulted in amazing successes. His armies were victorious (v. 6-8). His projects and programs were successful (v. 9-10). He could do nothing wrong! What an enviable position he had!

  b. MILITARILY Uzziah’s leadership was superb (v. 11-15). He was an amazing military mind – organized, prepared, and inventive. Everyone studied his maneuvers and learned brilliant strategies of warfare.

  c. PERSONALLY Uzziah’s fame spread throughout then entire known world. He was famous and recognized. His “strength” was envied by other Kings (v. 8b, 15b). 

4. Uzziah as a REBEL (2 Chron 26:16-18).
 One would expect King Uzziah’s biography to continue with listing amazing accomplishments and citing renown achievements. What else would we expect from one with such an amazing beginning? But it would not be!

  a. The slippery slope of decline began when Uzziah allowed his father’s “heart problem” to interfere with his devotion to God. What happened? The King’s eyes were taken from God and placed on self.  Maybe Zechariah died and the godly instruction ceased. Whatever initiated the problem the result is one cited by ancient history (cf Dt 8:11-18a).  Prosperity and success blurred the King’s vision and he failed to see that God was the Cause for success. Uzziah began to think he was personally responsible!

  b. The tragedy is stated in 26:15b – “until” is the point of apostasy. The King lost consciousness that Jehovah God was responsible for his success. The King’s pride blinded him to the need of humility (v. 16a).

  c. What caused him to enter into the Temple and offer incense? (v. 16b). We are not told and it is not necessary to know. What we do know is that the King knew he was doing wrong. The priests knew the King was doing wrong. The entire nation knew their King was doing wrong. Pride could not make a wrong action “right”!

   1) All of his godly obedience was erased! All of his successes were eclipsed by folly! 

   2) Why? Because he thought he could modify God’s expressed commands! He thought he was superior to God in deciding how the worship was to be conducted.

  3) It was all due to his PRIDE! 
   “It was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind . . . As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you” C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).

   4) Great successes, world renown, fantastic prosperity all were lost because Uzziah refused to follow God’s commands!

5. Uzziah as a LEPER (2 Chron 26:19-23).

  a. Uzziah believed himself to be bigger than God. God was fashioned in the King’s mind to be a convenient object, not the controlling focus! 

  b. And so his eulogy does not read of success, prosperity, military genius, or one who followed God’s commands. It is short – “He is a leper.”

  c. His pride prevented him from being buried with the previous Kings of Judah.

6. What does King Uzziah’s biography mean for modern believers?

 a. True Success is found in following God’s commands.

  b. Genuine Success comes from the Almighty God, not the “almighty dollar.”

  c. Lasting Success comes to those who refuse to compromise God’s clear commands.

  d. Blessed Success can be lost by the subtle sin of pride, self-sufficiency, and self-willed religion.

  e. Godly Success can be sacrificed for Self and eternity be spent in a miserable destiny.

 7. What instruction from God will prevent us from ruining success as King Uzziah did? Joshua 1:7-8. Notice how repulsed our Father in Heaven is by arrogant pride (cf Pr 6:16-19).

Copyright 1999 by John L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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