Thursday, June 14, 2012

Leadership can siphon character

He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper.
2 Chronicles 26:5

Uzziah was a good king who faithfully sought God. His reign was long (52 years) and marked with prosperity. Threats to Judah were eliminated in Philistia and Arabia. It was looking well. Defenses were strong. The wall of Jerusalem were well defended with the newest technologies (catapults and arrow machines). It was a good time to be in Judah.

Uzziah worshiped God. His sin was never idolatry. But his reign still did not end well. For some reason toward the end of his reign he felt compelled to usurp a priestly role. The text says nothing about circumstantial motivation. It just says he was proud. And in his pride he challenged God and the priests by entering the temple to burn incense on the altar. That was a job solely for the priests. Uzziah crossed a line.

Azariah and the priests confronted Uzziah and immediately God struck the king with leprosy. He was rushed out of the temple and was excluded from temple worship by health law the rest of his days (2 Chronicles 26:19-21). He lived out his days an isolated leper with limited contact, his pride demolished as God turned the tables on him. He died like one of the lowest members of the social scale of his day.

So many of these leaders in Judah start well, but end so very poorly. Leadership puts a drain on character evidently. And that is a lesson I want to pay attention to as I probably have less ministry ahead of me as I do behind me now.

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