We are never closer to failure than during our greatest successes. If we fail to recognise God’s part in our achievements, they are no better than failures. Uzziah (also called Azariah) was a remarkably successful king. His achievements brought him fame. He was successful in war and peace, in planning and execution, in building and planting.
Uzziah overestimated his own importance in bringing about the great achievements he experienced. He did so many things well that a consuming pride gradually invaded his life like the leprous disease that finally destroyed his body. In trying to act like a priest, he took on the role that God did not mean him to have. He had forgotten not only how much God had given him, but also that God had certain roles for others that he needed to respect.
Uzziah’s pride was rooted in his lack of thankfulness. We have no accounts of this king ever showing appreciation to God for the marvellous gifts he received. Our accomplishments may not compare with Uzziah’s, but we still owe a debt of thanksgiving to God for our very lives. If God is not getting the credit for your successes, shouldn’t you start looking at your life differently?
Strengths and accomplishments:
- Pleased God during his early years as king
- Successful warrior and city builder
- Skilful in organising and delegating
- Reigned for 52 years
Weaknesses and mistakes:
- Developed a proud attitude due to his great success
- Tried to perform the priests’ duties, in direct disobedience to God
- Failed to remove many of the symbols of idolatry in the land
Lessons from his life:
- Lack of thankfulness to God can lead to pride
- Even successful people must acknowledge the role God has for others in their lives
- Where: Jerusalem
- Occupation: King of Judah
- Relatives: Father: Amaziah. Mother: Jecoliah. Son: Jotham
- Contemporaries: Isaiah, Amos, Hosea, Jeroboam, Zechariah, Azariah
Key verses: “In Jerusalem he made machines designed by skilful men for use on the towers and on the corner defences to shoot arrows and hurl large stones. His fame spread far and wide, for he was grealy helped until he became powerful. But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense” (2 Chronicles 26:15, 16).
Uzziah’s story is told in 2 Kings 15:1-7 (where he is called Azariah), and in 2 Chronicles 26:1-23. He is also mentioned in Isaiah 1:1; 6:1; 7:1; Hosea 1:1; Amos 1:1; Zechariah 14:5.