‘Uzziah the father of Jotham’ Matthew 1:9
Read: 2 Chronicles 26:1-23
King Uzziah did right. He sought the Lord. He prospered. He became famous. So famous, the Scriptures here repeat it twice (2 Chronicles 26:8, 15). Is it subtly reminding us that pride comes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18)?
This gifted, impressive man (no doubt who’s books we would buy and conferences attend) forgot where his leadership talent came from. The stronger he got, the prouder he became. ‘He grew proud’ we’re warned, ‘to his destruction’ (2 Chronicles 26:16).
Uzziah arrogantly thought he didn’t need God, the priests, to burn incense, to sacrifice in the Temple, he was holy enough in his own right. It’s like David bringing the ark of the covenant back into Jerusalem on a cart, proudly presuming it was a more pragmatic solution than caring enough to consult how God has stipulated the embodiment of his holy presence should be transported (see 2 Samuel 6 and Numbers 4:5-6, 15, 17-20). When challenged, Uzziah proudly pushed back, instead of humbly repenting. He became angry. ‘How dare they question me, a mighty king, after all the good I’ve done,’ he probably thought.
But God inflicted him with leprosy; a humbling condition that would help Uzziah kill his pride. God cares more about the sweetness of our characters than the success of our careers. This leper king reminds us of the dangers of pride; a leprosy that affects us all.
‘Pride’, the brilliant CS Lewis said in Mere Christianity, ‘is the complete anti-God state of mind…As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.’ We all suffer from this blinding sickness. We think we know better than God, and others. We think we don’t need God, or others. We forget God when things are going well for us, when our fame is spreading, and when our fortunes are growing. We forget that every good and perfect gift comes from him. How is pride manifesting in your life today?
We all need the healing touch of the great physician of souls, the friend of lepers, Jesus, to make us well.
Forgiving God, I am so sorry for my pride: for the times I think I don’t need you; for the times I think I know better than you; for the times I look down on others in judgement, thinking I know better than them. Thank you for healing lepers. Please forgive and cleanse me from my pride leprosy. Thank you for judging my pride at the cross. Thank you for choosing to be afflicted with the leprosy of my sin so I can escape judgement. Thank you for promising to forgive me. Teach me humility. Help me to thank you for your favour, blessing and good gifts. Please enable me to give you the glory for all that you do through me. Amen.