Uzziah and the King Who Is Also High Priest
Uzziah (called Azariah in 2 Kings 15) is the fifth king after Jehoshaphat. He was 16-years-old when he became king. It is said that he did right in the eyes of the LORD during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God (2 Chronicles 26:5). Throughout the Chronicles, we find kings who make either godly or blasphemous decisions, based on the counsel of advisors (see the striking examples of Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 10:6-19) and Joash (2 Chronicles 24:1-22)). In our passage, King Uzziah is said to have done right under the instruction of Zechariah. Godly counselors are often gifts to our sanctification (Titus 2:3-4). Consider then who your teachers are.
As long as Uzziah sought the LORD, God gave him success (2 Chronicles 26:5). The king’s “fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful” (2 Chronicles 26:15). But power exposed pride and pride led to destruction (Proverbs 16:18). Puffed up by his success, Uzziah presumed himself to be as great as God; he boldly entered the temple of God to burn incense, an honor given solely to the priests, the sons of Aaron (Exodus 30:7). Miriam was struck with leprosy at the height of her pride and so was Uzziah (Numbers 12:10; 2 Chronicles 26:20-21). The leprous king lived the rest of his life in isolation, humbled by the God who makes great and brings low.
Perhaps you remember Uzziah’s name from the account of Isaiah’s commission in Isaiah 6:1. In the year that King Uzziah died, Isaiah saw “the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of His robe filled the temple.” The juxtaposition of a prideful Uzziah--made low by his unsanctioned dealings in the temple--and an enthroned King, seated in the temple, is stunning! There is only one king appointed to serve as priest. King Jesus alone offers sacrifices for sins on behalf of His people (Hebrews 5:1-10). And to Him the Scriptures say we can approach with confidence in our time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).
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