Pride Is Uzziah’s Undoing
16 But when he became strong, his heart was so [m]proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the Lord his God, for he entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17 Then Azariah the priest entered after him and with him eighty priests of the Lord, valiant men. 18 They opposed Uzziah the king and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful and will have no honor from the Lord God.” 19 But Uzziah, with a censer in his hand for burning incense, was enraged; and while he was enraged with the priests, the leprosy broke out on his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord, beside the altar of incense. 20 Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and behold, he was leprous on his forehead; and they hurried him out of there, and he himself also hastened to get out because the Lord had smitten him. 21 King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death; and he lived in a separate house, being a leper, for he was cut off from the house of the Lord. And Jotham his son was over the king’s house judging the people of the land.
22 Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first to last, the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz, has written. 23 So Uzziah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the field of the grave which belonged to the kings, for they said, “He is a leper.” And Jotham his son became king in his place.
This passage shows so clearly the consequences of allowing pride to gain a foothold in our hearts. Uzziah’s reign was flourishing while he followed God, and while he remembered the true source of his strength.
But from the moment he allowed pride to control him, everything changed. It drove him to defy God himself, in what looked like a holy act, but was rebellion at heart. Uzziah’s story is yet another reminder of where our strength comes from, and how important it is to always focus on God.
Our flesh is always seeking opportunity to gratify itself, and we can only keep the flesh at bay by seeking God first. When we put our own agenda, and our own esteem secondary to our Lord, our perspective will remain clear, and our vision unclouded.