King Uzziah of Judah was probably the most successful king from a standpoint of maintaining his popularity and the productivity of his nation. His reign of 52 years was marked with notable accomplishments and he was consistent in his program of development. Unlike kings David and Solomon, Uzziah did not amass a great fortune or take numerous wives. He was a man of the people and was respected far and wide.
King Uzziah sought direction from the LORD through the prophet Zechariah (2 Chronicles 26:5). Zechariah was what was known as a seer. Zechariah had the ability to see things from God’s perspective. He understood what was going on from a spiritual perspective and could identify problems that needed Uzziah’s attention.
One of king Uzziah’s main areas of focus was Judah’s military. Uzziah engaged in military conflicts in order to solidify and secure Judah’s borders. It says in 2 Chronicles 26:6-7 that “he went forth and warred against the Philistines…and God helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabians that dwelt in Gur-baal, and the Mehunims.” As a result of these conquests, Uzziah’s reputation spread as far as Egypt “for he strengthened himself exceedingly” (2 Chronicles 26:8).
Uzziah’s military consisted of approximately 300,000 men who were well equipped and experienced in modern warfare. It says that Uzziah “made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and up on the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal” (2 Chronicles 26;15). In addition to this, king Uzziah received supernatural help from God. Most likely, the LORD’s heavenly host fought alongside Uzziah’s army conquering their spiritual enemies at the same time that physical warfare was going on.
Uzziah’s success eventually got the best of him. It says in 2 Chronicles 26:16, “But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction, for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense.” The Hebrew word translated lifted up, gabowahh means to be arrogant (1364). Uzziah thought he was above the law, that he could worship the LORD whenever and however he pleased. He did not need to follow the methods dictated by the LORD.
Uzziah became very angry with the priests when they tried to stop him, “and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, from beside the incense altar” (2 Chronicles 26:19). From that time forward, Uzziah was banned from the temple and was forced to live under quarantine for the rest of his life.