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King Uzziah

How his death contributed to the call of the prophet Isaiah.

In II Chronicles 26: 1-15 we see mention of King Uzziah (mentioned in the book of Kings as Azariah). He had an extremely long reign of 52 years representing a period of stability for both Israel and Judah. I fought against the Phillistines and God gave him the victory. He is known for various inventions in that period such as little hollow towers to enable his archers to shoot without placing themselves in much danger. It is even suggested that he invented the catapult. He was a king who loved the soil and as such developed the agriculture of his kingdom to such a level that his fame spread rapidly. Here was a king who found favor with the Lord indeed and then. Pride. He stopped looking at God as his source and started to depend on his own strength. He committed a great sin when he decided to burn incense in the temple to God. He was confronted by the high priest Azariah and eighty others who told him [paraphrase] It is not right for you to burn incense unto the Lord, but it is the duty of the sons of Aaron who are consecrated to do so. Get out of the temple , for you have trespassed and you will not receive honor from God for this act He got angry, refused to put down the censer and was struck with leprosy till the end of his days. His pride caused him to be cut off from the house of God. It is interest to note that he was not struck with leprosy until he became angry at the confrontation / correction of the priest. It seems that King Uzziah sought absolute power by his action. The principle of God when dealing with Israel is that no king would be a priest. Hence Uzziah sought to add this privilege to his other privileges as king. Had he repented and humbled himself he would not have been cut off from the house of the Lord. As a leper he was so humbled that he was unable to enter the very place that he displayed his arrogance as king. How then did his death enable Isaiah to see God as he should have been seen. It is common knowledge that with the exception of a remnant Israel follows the example of their kings. If their kings practice idolatory, so do they, etc. Could it be then in the 52 years of prosperity the reign of King Uzziah the people including Isaiah became complacent about their prosperity? Could it be that they turned away from seeking God and started to trust in their own strength? As a result they were seeing God from a vantage point that did not give them any advantage at all. The death of King Uzziah must have caused some people (Isaiah also) to start to examine their lives and their actions before the Lord. For surely if the King who for the years of his reign enjoyed the favor of God could be so struck why not me? I believe that this introspection caused Isaiah to seek God from the point of view of an almighty God who has favored him and his countrymen not the other way around. Sure while King Uzziah was struck with leprosy, there might have been hope that he would be

healed perhaps still not recognizing what caused him to be in that position in the first place. Sometimes we encounter problems, seek somewhere to place the blame, but do not check our heart position first to see if we are the cause of something that has happened to us. For some people the possibility of being out of the presence of God has never entered their minds. It is a spiritual death that is far from desirous and so many would not even want to think of the possibility.. Now here was an example of a living death right before their very eyes. Enough to cause a turn of heart? For Isaiah - surely. For he counted himself a man of unclean lips and as one who dwells in the midst of a people of unclean lips. He repented, his sins were atoned for and he offered himself to be used by God.