Wednesday, July 27, 2005

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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Alone in a Castle

I'm curious about King Uzziah who began his reign when he was 16 years old. Later in life, stricken with leprosy he spent his time alone. The brief account is in 2 Kings 15:1-7 and the longer version of his life is in 2 Chronicles 26. The Holy Spirit's description of him is "He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD" (2 Chronicles 26:4).

Uzziah's bio: gained throne at age of 16; when young he was instructed by Zechariah "in the fear of God" (vs 5); became very powerful; defeated enemies; he designed machines that would shoot arrows and hurl stones; loved the soil; "His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became very powerful" (vs 15); title-king for 52 years.

An important fact is left out of that bio. Pride rooted in his heart and one day he decided he would offer incense on the altar. Azariah the priest and eighty other courageous priests of the Lord followed him in . . . and confronted him" (vs). They warned that only the descendants of Aaron had been consecrated to burn incense. Angry, Uzziah raged at the priests.

Immediately, the Lord struck Uzziah with an isolating leprosy or skin disorder on his forehead. The priest hurried him out. "Indeed, he himself was eager to leave, because the LORD had afflicted him" (26:20).

Until the day he died, he lived alone in a separate house, "excluded from the temple of the LORD" (21). His son Jotham took over the palace and After his death, he was buried in a field near the kings because of his leprosy.

God holds leaders to a high standard. A high standard of respect for Him. The Holy Spirit summed up Uzziah's life and his son's by saying just as his father Uzziah had done, "Jotham did what was right in the eyes of the LORD" (27:2).

The walk-with-God path is the high road. The trail to pride is a downward trail away from God's purposes. God gave the powerful king Uzziah time to think, alone in a house, while his godly son ruled next door. The warrior, inventor, the soil-lover spent his last days in a house by himself.

Did he have servants? Any niceties? Who cared for his needs? Forced hermitism is not a bad thing when the alone time brings ones focus back to the throne of God, under his scepter.