Read 2 Kings 14
Compare the kings of Israel and Judah. Some of the kings of Judah did . . . that which was right in the sight of the Lord (II Kin. 14:3), but none of the kings of Israel did. Some not only disobeyed the Word of God, but promoted idol worship.
Azariah, otherwise known as Uzziah, was a king who sought God (II Chr. 26:5). He also was a friend of a godly prophet named Zechariah. He was marvellously helped (26:15) by God against the Philistines, the Arabians, and others.
It's amazing how easily a person can become so successful, but then somehow "forgets" it was God who prospered him, and he lets pride take over. As long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper (26:5). This reminds us also that God said: Them that honour Me I will honour (I Sam. 2:30). King Azariah had done more to restore lost territory and strengthen the prestige of Judah than any king since the kingdom divided. His great success corresponds with his two names: Azariah, meaning "Jehovah has helped" and Uzziah, meaning "My strength is Jehovah." Sadly, his great military success and popularity may have caused him to lose sight of the fact that, although he was a powerful king, he was merely a servant of God.
In later years, after becoming very successful, Azariah, like his father Amaziah (II Kin. 14:10), became lifted up (II Chr. 26:16). Azariah was not content with his kingly power and success but seemed to desire being first everywhere. Consequently, we see him invading the priestly office (26:16-19). No one was allowed to sacrifice or to burn incense (26:16) or even to enter into the sanctuary except the priests the sons of Aaron (26:18). The king had his functions to rule, to judge, to decide on peace or war, to lead armies, and to direct the whole policy of the nation; but one thing he was not permitted to do was to usurp spiritual responsibilities in the Temple of God.
Azariah assumed the duties of a priest — a privilege which God had restricted to the Levitical priesthood (Num. 3:10). Then he refused to yield to the high priest who urged him not to perform ceremonies that only the Levites were allowed to do. And the Lord smote the king (Azariah), so that he was a leper unto the day of his death (II Kin. 15:5). He became an outcast, lost his authority as king, and was even forced from his castle to live in an isolated house the rest of his days as an outcast where he was required by Law to shout: Unclean, unclean (Lev. 13:45) if anyone came near him.
God clearly reminds us that pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall (Prov. 16:18).
Thought for Today:
The Lord liveth; and blessed be my Rock; and exalted be the God of the Rock of my salvation (II Sam. 22:47).
When the Lord struck King Azariah with leprosy and thrust him out from being king (II Kin. 15:5-7). This foreshadows the time when Christ shall reign upon the earth and all who have ignored or refused His merciful gift of salvation shall be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15).
14:10 lifted thee up, made you proud; 14:12 put to the worse, defeated; 14:25 sea of the plain, the Dead Sea; 15:5 a several house, a separated house; 15:20 exacted, assessed, taxed; 15:25 in his room, in his stead, place.
Pray for International Broadcasts in memory of Letha Hash • Government Official: Sen. Richard Shelby (AL) • Country: Ethiopia (60 million) in eastern Africa • Major languages: Amharic and Tigrinya • Unsettled after overthrow of communist regime • 41% Eastern Orthodox; 35% Muslim; 10% Protestant; 10% animist; .7% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to enable you to endure temptation (James 1:12).
Optional Reading: Romans 9
Memory Verse for the Week: Proverbs 28:9