A Good King Stumbles

Read: 2 Chronicles 26:1-23

As long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper. (v. 5)

We all face the challenge of ending our careers, retirement and lives well. In this reading we have the tragic story of Uzziah, who walked in fellowship with God for many years, had a remarkable record of accomplishments, but failed miserably at the end of his life.

His failure might seem minor to us—performing a religious ritual that was to be done only by a designated priest. However, this was a serious transgression, setting himself apart from and above the God-appointed religious order of the temple. Isaiah clearly identifies two root causes for this failure: pride and unfaithfulness to God. Worse, when rebuked, Uzziah seethed with rebellion. He lashed out at those who confronted him. God’s judgment was immediate and severe. Uzziah became a leper, isolated from society. He was not able to perform his duties as king and was buried in a field rather than in the royal tombs. What a tragic end to a fruitful life!

The lessons for us are clear. We need God’s grace in special measure when we are blessed with success and when God rebukes us through a friend. God calls us to walk with humility and gratitude in our successes, always willing to heed his rebuke. We will note in Isaiah 6 how this national tragedy had a profound impact on Isaiah during his formative years. —Gordon Van Wylen

As you pray, ask God to help you walk in humble obedience in both success and disappointment.

About the Author

Gordon Van Wylen
Gordon Van Wylen

Gordon Van Wylen served as the Dean of the Engineering School at the University of Michigan, and was the President Emeritus of Hope College. Dr. Van Wylen died in 2020.