“But when he (King Uzziah) was strong, his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.” The priest Azariah, with eighty priests of the Lord, withstood King Uzziah and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord.” (This was assigned only to the descendants of Aaron.)
Then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead. He was hurried out because the Lord had struck him. (2 Chronicles 26)
King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death.
Now Proverbs 16:18 says that pride precedes a fall….and it most definitely did with Uzziah. The message was that even the king could not overstep his bounds……or live above the law.
The Lord judged Uzziah’s refusal to heed the law. Yet the Lord’s mercy is also viewed in that Uzziah did not immediately die. The king was now under Levitical law which stated that because of his leprosy, Uzziah would live out his remaining days isolated from all others.
As King Uzziah, before this incident, did what was right in the sight of the Lord, except that the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. Because of pride, he assumed a role that was not God approved nor God ordained. (2 Kings 15)
Uzziah’s wrong actions are a word of warning to the all men who usurp their assigned roles of leadership.
And yet Uzziah’s experience also makes it quite clear that the kings role was distinct from the God ordained role of those assigned to interpret and perform spiritual functions and duties. The beginning of wisdom is to fear the Lord. It therefore behooves kings and rulers of governments to take heed to the roles and functions of leadership as God Himself has prescribed.