BITES

Judah has been blessed with godly kings, but they lack endurance.  I can relate in my Christian experience as I grow older.  I find that my initial zeal is fading as pain and loss seem to steal my joy.  I am tempted to be bitter and angry with others, not reflecting the promises that make my future bright.  We should have assurance after knowing the messiah, but the Old Testament is a reminder to us of the end of unbelief.  King Uzziah will follow his father’s leadership now.

Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah.  He built Eloth, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept with his fathers.  Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem.  And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did.  And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.  2 Chronicles 26:1-5

I notice the connection between cause and effect as God honors the faithful king.  Uzziah grows and Judah prospers in this season.  This king managed the economy as well as his faith.

And he went forth and warred against the Philistines, and brake down the wall of Gath, and the wall of Jabneh, and the wall of Ashdod, and built cities about Ashdod, and among the Philistines.  And God helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabians that dwelt in Gurbaal, and the Mehunims.  And the Ammonites gave gifts to Uzziah: and his name spread abroad even to the entering in of Egypt; for he strengthened himself exceedingly.  Moreover Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the corner gate, and at the valley gate, and at the turning of the wall, and fortified them.  Also he built towers in the desert, and digged many wells: for he had much cattle, both in the low country, and in the plains: husbandmen also, and vine dressers in the mountains, and in Carmel: for he loved husbandry.  2 Chronicles 26:6-10

Uzziah has understanding of livestock and agriculture as his forefathers did.  David was a shepherd who learned how to care for his people as well.  And like David he managed the military defenses of Judah well.

Moreover Uzziah had an host of fighting men, that went out to war by bands, according to the number of their account by the hand of Jeiel the scribe and Maaseiah the ruler, under the hand of Hananiah, one of the king’s captains.  The whole number of the chief of the fathers of the mighty men of valour were two thousand and six hundred.  And under their hand was an army, three hundred thousand and seven thousand and five hundred, that made war with mighty power, to help the king against the enemy.  And Uzziah prepared for them throughout all the host shields, and spears, and helmets, and habergeons, and bows, and slings to cast stones.  And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong.  2 Chronicles 26:11-15

He was helped until he was strong.  Now his help is not there for him.  Has God changed?  Something has changed.

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.  And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the LORD, that were valiant men:  And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the LORD God.  Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: 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.  And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the LORD had smitten him.  2 Chronicles 26:16-20

Uzziah has decided to trespass in the house of God to perform a sacrifice reserved for the priests.  Azariah the high priest and other Levites resisted his trespass.  Uzziah expresses anger with the priests instead of acknowledging the authority of the priesthood and of the Lord.  God still wielded his authority and Uzziah tasted the wrath of the Lord in his infection with leprosy.  He was unclean to be in the temple, and he knew he was punished by God immediately.

And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD: and Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land.  Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and last, did Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, write.  So Uzziah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the field of the burial which belonged to the kings; for they said, He is a leper: and Jotham his son reigned in his stead.  2 Chronicles 26:21-23

Leprosy was an unclean condition; being contagious all were shunned from society and from the temple.  Uzziah was buried with the kings as only one transgression separated him from a righteous life. 

We watch our friends and family avoid prosperity in Christ and wonder how they can miss such an obvious blessing.  Even with Christ some allow the flesh to rule a part of their lives.  Some sin is like the insect life of Middle America.  Chiggers and ticks are more annoying than more painful varmints because they will not stop their attack.  Most poisonous creatures are not aggressive, and strike only in self defense.  The smaller beasts are seeking blood and will not avoid confrontation.  They bite and leave long term memories. 

In the flesh of man, the smaller sins may do the greatest damage, as do the ticks and chiggers.  They are a part of nature, but we need the supernatural to deliver early treatment.  Without treatment lime disease (like leprosy) can cause death. 

Under the law judgment was swift and final.  Under free will we can reject the wisdom of God to be self willed to death.  It’s only natural.  Under grace we can turn to the great physician Yeshua for daily treatment of our minor failures.  It’s superior to natural.

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