Uzziah (called Azariah in 2Kings) was almost one of the great kings of Judah. Unfortunately, “almost” can sometimes be a long ways from accomplishment. Uzziah’s pride and reckless ambition got in his way.
Uzziah’s father, Amaziah, had died at the hands of his own people in the 29th year of his reign. But, unlike Israel, where new (and often short-lived) dynasties routinely replaced one another, Judah had been promised an unbroken chain of kingly succession. So, Amaziah’s death did not bring the end of his dynasty. Instead, Uzziah – who had probably reigned as coregent for several years – was crowned king of Judah.
I. His Accomplishments (2Chron. 26:1-15)
Uzziah got off to a good – not great – start. He enjoyed military success and gained fame for his innovative weaponry. He even extended Judah’s territory, regaining access to the Red Sea via the Gulf of Aqaba. His country secure, Uzziah set about strengthening Jerusalem’s defenses. He was an accomplished builder. The entire nation prospered for most of his 52yr reign. He received a largely favorable assessment from the writers of both 2Kings & 2Chronicles, even though he failed to remove the “high places” where people offered their own sacrifices.
Isaiah cites the nation’s mourning of his death in Isaiah 6.
II. His Arrogance (2Chron. 26:16-23)
Unfortunately, Uzziah – who had once taken counsel from a godly teacher named Zechariah – let his success go to his head. He became proud and sought to inject his influence into the priestly arena. Uzziah paid dearly for his overreaching. God struck Uzziah with leprosy, a humiliating disease that rendered him ceremonially unclean – unable to fulfill his kingly duties or to set foot in the temple ever again.
A lifetime of good and wise living can be marred by even a single moment of foolishness. Are you walking with God? Ask God for the grace to finish your race with humility and obedience.
* Many people begin well, but not all will always end well.
You can read Uzziah’s story in 2Kings 15:1-7; 2Chronicles 26:1-23.