Do we find ourselves angry at the commands and prohibitions of God? Do we find ourselves grizzling under his good Law? Then, do we also find ourselves irritated at our ministers, elders, and friends who point out our transgressions and call us to repentance? If so, we should stop for a moment and consider our haughtiness. For in 2 Chronicles 26, God painfully disciplined King Uzziah for his angry and arrogant attitude.
The Lord has been so kind and generous towards Uzziah. God sovereignly allows him to be raised with all the benefits of aristocracy, then God continues to bless him by allowing him to become the king of Judah at the age of sixteen. Furthermore, unlike many of his fathers, Uzziah is privileged to sit on the throne of David for fifty-two years. During this reign, he is personally tutored by Zechariah, and his legacy is one of great prosperity. King Uzziah is especially noted for expanding, defending, and improving the nation of Judah. He seeks the Lord; God helps him; and God makes him prosper. (2 Chronicles. 26:1-15)
However, as King Uzziah grows in strength, he also grows in arrogance. The sacred text puts it like this:
But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For 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)
Uzziah thinks too much of himself, and takes to himself the rights and responsibilities of the Levitical priesthood.
If we remember the story of King Saul, we recall how greatly Saul was cursed by God and set aside for his arrogance in committing the same transgression. However, in Uzziah’s case, God is abundantly gracious. God does not strike him dead for offering forbidden fire. God does not remove the kingdom from him. Instead, God allows Azariah and eighty other ministers to approach the errant monarch and encourage him to repent. God, again, is offering one of his children amazing grace that is undeserved.
But Uzziah response is not right. He becomes angry at God’s precepts, God’s prohibitions, and God’s ministers who only sought his own welfare. Therefore, not in response to his actions, but in response to his attitude, God strikes him with leprosy, and determines this condition will plague him till the day of his death. God painfully disciplines King Uzziah for his angry and arrogant attitude.
Therefore friends, let us not become too enraptured with our successes. Let us not be puffed up, become legendary in our own eyes, and forget who is God. Regardless of our prosperity, we are only subjects of the King of Kings. Our duty is to submit to his sovereignty by performing the right actions with the right attitude; regardless of our personal preference. As we reign for Him, let us not be arrogant kings but humble servants.
And let us not be angry at his good Law. We may not understand all the benefits of his requirements and prohibitions, but they are good, wise, and we will more likely prosper as we honor his will. His commandments are not burdensome, but are another aspect of his gracious love for his own people. Like King David, let us learn to say, “O how we love your Law.”
Finally, let us not be angry at our faithful friends, elders, and ministers who confront us with our compromises. May we treat them as lovers and not label them “legalists” when they call us to repentance. Faithful are the wounds of a friend. It is a delightful thing when someone turns an arrogant and errant friend from his path of destruction. Let us not be arrogant and angry at our covenant family, but always willing to reform ourselves based upon the counsel of good friends who are encouraging us to keep the good Law of the good God.