Uzziah the Pariah – Today’s Youth Devotion

Uzziah the Pariah

Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles 26:1, 16-21

Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2

MOST KIDS WOULD be happy just to have clear skin and a driver’s license when they reach the age of sixteen. But Uzziah got to be king. Cool, huh? And he handled it pretty well for a while.

Then one day something got into Uzziah. He knew that burning incense and offering sacrifices to God in the temple could only be done by the priests, but he was king and figured he could pretty much do what he wanted. Maybe he thought he could do a better job than the priests. Or maybe he just thought, Hey, nobody can tell ME what to do-not even God!

Anyway, Uzziah decided he was going to break the rules and show those priests who was boss, so he headed to the temple. The priests (about eighty of them) heard he was coming and found out what he intended to do. The Bible says that “they followed him in.” Several hundred people clogged the streets, whispering that the king wanted to burn incense in the temple. Priests tried to talk him out of it, guards tried to guard him, advisors tried to advise him, and Uzziah ignored all of them. He picked up the incense burner; the protests of the priests became louder and louder. Uzziah got angry. He turned and started yelling at the priests.

“Who do you think you are to tell me what to do? I should have your heads cut off!” While he raged, the Bible says God got his attention. Suddenly the skin on his forehead started to bubble and flake, and within seconds his face was covered with scaly white patches-the telltale signs of leprosy!

The showdown ended, and the priests rushed Uzziah out of the temple. He returned to the palace a leper. He had to live in a separate house the rest of his life. He never again got to enter the temple, and his son took over his throne. Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He was even buried in a separate graveyard from the rest of his family because of his leprosy.

All that happened because, “when [Uzziah] had become powerful, he also became proud” (2 Chronicles 26:16). Pride can make a mess of things. It can really mess up your judgment and make you do stupid things. It can ruin friendships. It can make you look silly. Being prideful never earned honor, respect, or friendship for anyone. In fact, it most often destroys those things-just like it did for Uzziah.

REFLECT: Do you think Uzziah could have taken pleasure in his accomplishments without being sinful? If not, why not? If so, how? Can you take pleasure in your abilities and accomplishments without being prideful? If not, why not? If so, how?

PRAY: “God, I don’t want to be ruined by pride. Help me to remember that no matter how well I do, I can still be humble and should always be grateful to you for any success I enjoy.”