Royalty and Ruin


Prophet With a Message of Hope

For many years King Uzziah ruled wisely over Judah and Benjamin. He rebuilt and fortified cities, and the riches of the nations flowed into Jerusalem. Uzziah’s fame “spread far and wide, for he was marvelously helped till he became strong.” 2 Chronicles 26:15. RR 112.1

Spiritual power, however, did not accompany the outward prosperity. The temple services continued, and multitudes assembled to worship the living God, but pride and formality took the place of humility and sincerity. Of Uzziah the Bible says, “When he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God.” Verse 16. In violation of the Lord’s plain command, the king entered the sanctuary “to burn incense on the altar.” Azariah the high priest and his associates rebuked him: “You have trespassed!” they told him. “You shall have no honor from the Lord God.” Verses 16, 18. RR 112.2

Uzziah was filled with anger over being reproved. But he was not permitted to profane the sanctuary against the united protest of those in authority. While standing there in hot rebellion, he was stricken with leprosy. To the day of his death he remained a leper, a textbook example of the folly of departing from a plain “Thus says the Lord.” He could plead neither his position nor his long service as an excuse for the presumptuous sin that brought the judgment of Heaven on him. God shows no partiality. See Numbers 15:30. RR 112.3

Uzziah’s son Jotham ascended to the throne after his father’s death. “He did what was right in the sight of the Lord; he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done. However the high places were not removed.” 2 Kings 15:34, 35. RR 112.4

The reign of Uzziah was drawing to a close when Isaiah, a young man of the royal line, was called to the prophetic role. He was to witness the invasion of Judah by the armies of Israel and Syria; he was to see the Assyrian armies camped before the chief cities of the kingdom. Samaria was to fall, and the ten tribes were to be scattered among the nations. Judah was to be invaded by Assyrian armies and Jerusalem suffer a siege that would have resulted in her downfall if God had not miraculously intervened. The divine protection was being removed, and Assyrian forces were about to overrun Judah. RR 112.5