Haughty is Unholy (2 Chronicles 26)

Haughty is Unholy
(2 Chronicles 26)

Sometimes, when serving the Lord, we can become so excited about it that we forget we don’t do it alone. Believers are part of a Body. And when one part of the body becomes so swollen that it interferes with other parts of the body, we may become deathly ill. This is as true spiritually as it is physically. And this is the lesson King Uzziah teaches us today.

King Uzziah is the new king of Judah. And for a while he did very well. He served the LORD in the same ways his father served the LORD. And, as the LORD had promised since Moses, the LORD blessed those who served Him. But, also like his father, Uzziah betrayed the LORD even after all the success the LORD had given him. His father worshipped foreign idols. But King Uzziah worshipped himself.

The king became so haughty that he went into the temple and made sacrifices only the priests were allowed to make. The priests formed an army, marched inside the Temple and faced the king down. They ordered him out. And when he became angry, the LORD struck him with leprosy.

It is significant that the leprosy broke out on the king’s forehead. This is where the high priest who should be making the sacrifice and was facing the king wore a gold band. That gold band was engraved with the saying “Holy to the LORD.” The leprosy on the king falsely acting as priest showed that what he did was unholy. Perhaps Uzziah could see the leprosy on his forehead in the reflection on the priest’s headband because when the army of priests grabbed him to take him out he ran out with them.

Jewish scholars say that Uzziah lived as a leper in a house in the king’s cemetary for the rest of his life while his son, Jotham, ruled Judah in his place. And when Uzziah died he was buried in that cemetary but not in the honored tomb of the kings.

Uzziah allowed his pride to take control of him. We have seen this before in Miriam, the sister of Moses, who claimed to be equal to Moses, and in Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, who tried to collect a reward for the LORD healing Naaman. And in all three cases the LORD used leprosy, rotting of the body, to teach a lesson about the Spiritual Body of Believers.

Christians each have a part in the Body of Christ. We each have a role. When we try to enlarge a little further than it is we are in danger. We swell with pride and hamper the walk of other Believers. We may even become like a cancer, interfering with other parts of the Body. Or blocking their usefulness which is greater than ours.

As Paul explains many years later, Christ is always the Head of His Body, the Church. No matter what our roles as parts of His Body we are all equal to each other. We may not have the visibility of other Believers to anyone else but Christ. But whatever our role, it is an honorable one, because we serve Him.

The king learned the hard way that he could not take the role of the priest. And Christians today are one Body serving the Head, the great High Priest and King, Jesus Christ.

But before we leave this chapter there is one more bit of good news. We hear the name Isaiah. And we remember Isaiah 6:1 where he says “in the year King Uzziah died, I saw the LORD, sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up!” Isaiah reminds us that only GOD is King. And it is Isaiah who will prophesy the coming of Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Who rules from the heart of every Christian, united as His Body, to serve Him, glorify GOD and love one another without haughtiness.

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