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 26:16
What were you doing at the age of sixteen?
For most of us, our teenage years were typical. Our time was consumed with dating, school, sports, and getting our driver’s license. Uzziah didn’t have a typical teenage experience. By the time he was sixteen, Uzziah was ruling the nation of Judah.
Uzziah was a great king. But the legacy he left behind is that arrogant pride will result in personal ruin. His name means the Lord is my strength and early in his reign Uzziah lived up to that name. He followed God faithfully. He lived in humble obedience before the Lord. As long as he did, God gave him tremendous success. Uzziah became the greatest ruler since Solomon.
Unfortunately, greatness went to Uzziah’s head. He forgot that the Lord’s hand, not his own, had achieved these great things. In arrogant pride, Uzziah forgot his place, strutted into the temple, and took over. The priests tried to stop him. Uzziah lost his temper. God struck him with a skin disease that stuck with him. He had to live out the rest of his reign in quarantine.
Uzziah serves as a reminder for all of us: In all things, give God glory. He is the source of all our successes. His hand, not ours, accomplishes great things for us. We would have nothing if God did not give it to us.
But even when pride goes to our head, and we fall flat, God remains faithful in his goodness. He lifts our eyes so we can see Jesus, who lived in perfect humility before God, as our substitute. And although he was without sin, God inflicted him and caused him to suffer the guilt of our arrogant pride.
So, whether it is success we have in this life or our hope of eternal life in heaven, we owe it all to God. May this reality keep us thankfully humble.
Lord Jesus, make me mindful that all I have is a gift from you. Amen.