2 Chronicles 26:16, “But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense.”
What followed for Uzziah was a time of disobedience, rebellion, and ultimately failure before the Lord. A man whose life had been marked by honouring and pleasing God took a sharp turn in the wrong direction and he made a mistake that affected him the rest of his life. When we finish reading this passage of Scripture, we learn that God struck Uzziah with leprosy and he finished his reign as king in a leper colony. What a disappointing and sad way to finish life!
When we read a verse like this, we can see the context of the events and understand why the Lord gave us this information. He is giving us a solemn warning concerning our hearts when we become strong. Man-kind’s natural tendency is to have a heart that is lifted up when we are strong. A heart that is lifted up has its beginnings in self-sufficiency and pride. The end of a heart that is lifted up is destruction. The Bible records this happening time and time again. Even Satan’s fall as the covering Cherub was preceded by a heart that was lifted up. As the Bible describes the fall of Satan, it says, “Thine heart was lifted up…” (Ezekiel 28:17). Was Lucifer (Satan’s name before his fall) strong be-fore his heart was lifted up? Absolutely. He was the most privileged Cherub in heaven, occupying a place of authority and power.
Throughout the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles, we read of king after king who failed the Lord in their hearts and it usually followed a time when they were strong or when they did not guard their hearts before the Lord.
It is common for us to desire to be strong. Most people do not enjoy being “weak.” Weakness is counted as a thing to be avoided by most of us. No one enjoys being weak. The reasons for avoiding weakness are varied, but the fundamental issues remain the same. Self-reliance, pride, arrogance, and the such like are at the core.
The Holy Spirit addressed this issue of strength and weakness in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10, in which the Lord told Paul that His strength was made perfect in Paul’s weakness. Paul, like most of us, desired the thing
that had been causing him to feel weak to be re-moved. But the Lord knew better. God knew that it was in strength that some of His best servants failed. So the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, left Paul’s weakness in order to remain Paul’s source of strength.
I do not know what it is that causes you to feel weak. Some of you may be battling some-thing very serious and difficult in your lives. What I do know is that the Lord wants to be your strength. Do not let it be said in your life, “but when he was strong,” and be-come like so many of God’s choice servants who failed. Relying on your own personal strength as you serve the Lord will be the very thing that turns your heart and actions against the Lord. We need Christ to be our strength! (Phil. 4:13).