Some kings in the history of Judah reigned for only a brief time. We have considered in an earlier chapter the account of Ahaziah who was king in Jerusalem for only one year. Ahaziah was followed by Joash who was followed by Amaziah. The next king, the great-grandson of Ahaziah, Uzziah, served as king for fifty-two years in Jerusalem. He followed in the ways of the Lord, despite a disappointing moment toward the end of his time in power. We are told that “as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.”
Once again we see the familiar pattern that the Lord brought much success to the king in international relations and domestic projects when Uzziah was faithfully following the Lord. His strength came from God. But when he became strong, he also became proud, and his pride was his downfall.
This great king who had accomplished so much over so many years was no longer content to be limited to the duties that came with his exalted office. He insisted that he be able to burn incense to the Lord, which only the Levitical priests were allowed to do. But when the priests withstood him and he resisted them, the Lord gave him leprosy. He lived as a ceremonially unclean leper until the day of his death.
Uzziah’s son, Jotham, shared the kingship with his father during these years of leprosy. Uzziah’s pride led to his demise, though he was still counted as a good king of Judah.
We now have a new King of the Jews who did not come in pride. Jesus had the power to cleanse lepers. He has freed us from the leprosy of our own pride and sin. We are His sons, and we shall reign with Him throughout all ages.
Our Lord was opposed by the priests and the teachers of the Law in His day, not because of any pride in Himself, but because of their envy. They claimed to be able to judge Him as a blasphemer, but they ignored the plain fact that He was bringing a new age of eternal life to the world through His teaching and His miracles. He has created a new holy temple of those who have been cleansed through the power of His blood. He alone is the Lord.