The story of Uzziah's long reign of fifty-two years is most interesting and remarkable. He was a man of strong character, and the early part of his occupancy of the throne was characterized by true prosperity. He was at once victorious in his campaigns against the enemies of the people, and remarkably successful in his internal development of the resources of the nation. A man of war, and a lover of husbandry, he was an ideal ruler. During these early years he went quietly forward in dependence on God.
There came a break, and the story of it is told by the chronicler in the words, "He was marvelously helped till he was strong." How consistently in the pages of history we are taught the perils of prosperity. Man depending upon God is ever independent of all else. In the moment when the heart begins to feel independent of God in its own strength, the strength fails; and unless there be repentance ruin is inevitable. The last years of the reign, so glorious in its beginnings, were years of suffering and sadness. In an evil moment of pride Uzziah entered into the sacred courts, and violated the ordinances of God concerning the offering of sacrifices. He was smitten with leprosy, and lived for the last part of his life a prisoner, isolated from his fellow men.
the Second Week after Epiphany