Humility vs. Pride – The Lesson of Uzziah

Proverbs 11:2 (NIV) When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.


2 Chronicles 26 tells of the life of Uzziah, who became king of Judah at the age of sixteen and ruled for fifty-two years. He sat under the spiritual mentoring of the prophet Jeremiah, and followed Jeremiah’s counsel. King Uzziah led Judah to many great conquests, strengthened the walls of Jerusalem, built cisterns, and caused the land to prosper.
2 Chronicles 26:3 (NIV) As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.
The connection seems very clear. Uzziah relied on the Lord for direction, help and strength. He humbled himself even though he was a king. God is not impressed with titles that humans bestow on each other. God was then—and still is —more concerned about our ability to understand that we can do NOTHING without Him. Our foolish plans, our weak strength, and our inability to see the future continually point to our need to depend on the Lord. As Uzziah’s story continues, his army became extraordinarily powerful and possessed the most current technology. The surrounding armies feared them.
2 Chronicles 26:5 (NIV) His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful.
Notice the turning point for Uzziah:
2 Chronicles 26:6 (NIV) But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall, and he was unfaithful to the Lord his God.
In his pride, Uzziah placed himself above God’s established authorities (the priests). He went into the temple and presented his own offerings before God – something only the priests were allowed to do. Pride convinced him that he was above everyone else and answered to no one; he was the king, after all, and could do whatever he wanted. Notice God’s strong response to Uzziah’s pride and arrogance. Eighty courageous priests confronted him in the temple as he offered incense to the Lord. His reaction? “He flew into a rage and while raging the Lord struck him with leprosy” (2 Chronicles 26:19). The chapter closes with Uzziah clinging to pride right up to the sad and difficult end of his life.
2 Chronicles 26:2 (NIV) King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in a separate house, leprous and excluded from the temple of the Lord. Jotham, his son, had charge of the palace and governed the people of the land.
What did Uzziah’s pride and arrogance do for him? It brought God’s judgment, separation from the house of God, separation from those he loved, and greatly reduced the scope and length of his reign as king. Uzziah became a prisoner to his own pride and arrogance. Compare Uzziah’s life, eventually destroyed by pride, with the life of Moses, who Scripture describes as “very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). Moses always came to the Lord on behalf of the people of Israel, but could see himself for who and what he was in God’s eyes. He was always willing to confess his own sinfulness and his need for God.


All of us would like God to pour out His blessing and favor on us. Consider that “God sets Himself up against the proud, but He shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6, NLT). What does this verse mean? Resist means “withstand; oppose; fend off; stand firm against, withstand the action of, oppose actively; work against.” Imagine God resisting those of us who continue in a spirit of pride and arrogance. No wonder our lives lack power and the favor of God! Now look at what God does for the humble of heart and mind. Favor means to “approve, support, endorse; regard or treat with special advantages, special privileges, preferred treatment.” Wow! We all want to receive the favor of the Lord! Gerry Fry, author of “In Pursuit of His Glory” defines humility as: a. Willingness to be known for who we really are. b. Total dependence on God’s sufficiency. c. Complete submission to the Lordship of Christ. d. Absolute obedience to the Word and truth of God.


Psalm 8:27 (NIV) You rescue those who are humble, but you humiliate the proud. Psalm 25:9 (NIV) He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. Proverbs 8:3 (NIV) To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Proverbs 3:0 (NIV) Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. Proverbs 6:8 (NIV) Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 29:23 (NIV) Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor. Mark 7:2-23 (NIV) For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you and make you unacceptable to God.” James 3:4 (NIV) But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 2 Peter 2:8-9 (NIV) For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.


Walking in Humility is obviously our desire. We should be able to proclaim the statements below without wincing. They should be our hearts cry and a passion to see fulfilled in our lives. I will view myself as a servant to everyone. I will grow in the character of Christ. I will look for opportunities to see others lifted up. I will see myself in accord with the ways God sees me. I will acknowledge my shortcomings and sins in the presence of others so I can be encouraged in my walk with the Lord. I will acknowledge that all that I am, all that I have, and all that I do, comes to me from the Lord. I can take no claim for myself. I will pray consistently for God to reveal any pride or arrogance that may be hidden in my life. I will understand that my only hope is in complete dependence on God and obedience to Him. Pounded down or discounted. This is an excerpt from the Freedom Resource Manual developed by Revalesio Ministries used with their permission.  I would suggest the next two posts you read be: The epidemic of Immaturity and the Undiscovered Truths about Prayer]]>


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