What does it say?

Ahaziah is one of Judah’s good kings and his story begins 2 Kings 15. The same story is told in 2 Chronicles 26 where he is called by his other more familiar name Uzziah. His long reign is one of political strength as he defeats several neighboring nations and strengthens the defenses of Jerusalem. Only seven verses are given to him in 2 Kings 15, but he is the focus of all of 2 Chronicles 26 where much more detail appears. Sadly, like several other kings before him, Uzziah is overcome with pride later in his life and assumes to himself the role of priest and is consequently smitten with leprosy until his death.

2 Kings 15 moves the focus back to the north, describing a quick succession from one king to another that leads to the complete destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel under Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria in the eighth century B.C. The final verses of 2 Kings 15 abruptly shift south and describe the reign of good king Jotahm of Judah.

What does it mean?

Following the division of the kingdom into Israel and Judah after Solomon, the northern kingdom had ample and repeated opportunities to turn back in obedience to Jehovah God, reconcile with the south and advance the kingdom. From what we have seen at this approximate halfway point in our reading, there is no reason to suppose that mankind in general or God’s people in particular would be consistently successful long-term in obeying God. Those who repeatedly reject God’s control are eventually crushed and eliminated like Israel. Those who despite their sins and flaws lay hold of God’s grace to repent and learn from mistakes are blessed to be a blessing.

Uzziah and others are a powerful warning against a common human tendency. Early success can result in the onset of fatal pride if one’s spiritual perspective does not remain strong and biblical.

How will I respond?

Do I learn from my failures, or do I allow myself to be consumed by pride and sidetracked from God’s plan? When was the last time I learned from failure and what did I learn? Does that lesson have specific application for my life today?