A Self-Made Man.
“But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall.” – 2 Chronicles 26:16 NLT
King Uzziah was a successful king. Like Solomon before him, he seemed to have it all: power, prestige, possessions, and an ability to succeed at just about anything he put his mind to. He experienced great military victories. He oversaw significant construction projects. He had abundant flocks and herds, vineyards and farms. His standing army consisted of 307,500 elite troops. Civic improvement projects were everywhere in Judah, thanks to Uzziah. We are told that “his fame spread far and wide … and he became very powerful” (2 Chronicles 26:15b NLT). This guy had it all, including a reign that lasted five decades.
But Uzziah had one major problem: Pride. He failed to recognize and realize that his fame, power, and success were the direct result of God’s intervention in his life. He took the throne at 16 and was mentored by Zechariah, “who taught him to fear God” (2 Chronicles 26:5 NLT). And it seems that Uzziah did fear and seek God. And as long as he did, God gave him success. We are told that “God helped him in his wars against the Philistines (2 Chronicles 26:7 NLT). His fame and power were from God, “…for the Lord gave him marvelous help” (2 Chronicles 26:15b NLT). He owed all his power, success, fame, and wealth to God. But rather than thank God and acknowledge His hand in his life, Uzziah sinned against Him. He became so convinced of his own significance and self-importance that he thought he was above God’s law. He didn’t have to live according to God’s rules. As a result, he entered the temple of God and attempted to offer sacrifices on his own. This was clearly a violation of God’s law and when the priests tried to stop him, he became angry. He threw a temper-tantrum right in the temple. As he held an incense burner in his hand, he raged at the priests for attempting to stop him from doing what HE wanted to do. It’s funny that the burning of the incense was supposed to be an act of worship, a pleasing aroma to God, but here was Uzziah, throwing a fit in the temple – an action that was anything but pleasing to God. As a result of his actions, Uzziah is struck with leprosy. He is rushed out of the temple and is quarantined in a separate house for the rest of his life. He is no longer able to enter the temple of God. When he dies he is buried in a separate field, apart from the rest of the kings. His pride led to his destruction (Proverbs 16:18). His failure to show gratitude to God for His providential participation in his life resulted in Uzziah’s prideful arrogance and ultimate fall. He bought the lie that he was a self-made man. He ended up worshiping self more than he worshiped God. He respected his own wishes more than he did those of God. His will was more important than God’s. What a temptation for each of us. God is active in each of our lives. Any success we have is a direct result of His hand. Any joy we experience is from Him. All that we have comes from Him. Even the next breath we take. And when we fail to recognize His provision, we can begin to think that we are self-made and self-sustaining, leading to a love of self that is ultimately self-destructive. “As long as the king sought guidance from the Lord, God gave him success” (2 Chronicles 26:5b NLT). Keep your eyes focused on God, not self. Seek Him. Serve Him. Obey Him. Thank Him. You are nothing without Him.
Father, how easy it is to believe the lie that I have made myself what I am. I can take credit for my own successes, then blame You for my failures. I want to think that I am something special, when in reality, I am nothing without You. Open my eyes to the reality of Your providential presence in my life each and every day. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men