This is a story about a wonderful, God-honoring leader who began to believe his own press reports; spent too much time admiring himself in his royal mirror. He morphed into a narcissistic blowfish (pufferfish), with leprosy on his forehead. Not a good ending.
“Then Uzziah prepared for them, for the entire army, shields, spears, helmets, body armor, bows, and slings to cast stones. And he made devices in Jerusalem, invented by skillful men, to be on the towers and the corners, to shoot arrows and large stones. So his fame spread far and wide, for he was marvelously helped till he became strong.
But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the LORD his God by entering the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. So Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him were eighty priests of the LORD – valiant men. And they withstood King Uzziah, and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have trespassed! You shall have no honor from the LORD God.” Then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, before the priests in the house of the LORD, beside the incense altar. And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place. Indeed he also hurried to get out, because the LORD had struck him. King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death.” (2 Chronicles 26:14-21 NKJV)
Uzziah was quite a guy, until he got too big for his britches. He served the Lord, and the people of God, until he became headstrong and obstinate.
It’s as though he spent too much time looking in the mirror, admiring himself and his accomplishments.
He puffed up like a pufferfish, believing he was bigger than life itself.
“To his destruction.”
By the way, almost all blowfish, or pufferfish, are highly poisonous! The puffer fish, any one of the family of tetraodontidae, protects itself in the wild by gulping down water and swelling up its belly to make itself look bigger. It does this because, apparently, it can’t find a way to communicate the simple message, “I am poisonous.” These fish are considered the second most poisonous vertebrates in the world. They contain a toxin 1,200 more deadly than cyanide. It’s in their skin, their ovaries, their gonads, and their liver. One fish can kill thirty people.
Their bite can actually ruin or kill the work God wants to do. Or get too close to them and find yourself poisoned! (For more info on pufferfish see – http://io9.com/5879406/how-the-puffer-fish-gets-you-high-zombifies-you-and-kills-you# )
It’s great to have self-confidence, but it is self-destructive to believe and venture beyond your calling. No one is that important!
Find your place “in Him”, and be whom God intended you to be. Step away from that self-centered mirror, and instead, do what you can to encourage others.
Leprosy on the forehead will halt your actions, mark you as unclean, and isolate you from the work of God. It will defile your image, and someone else will have to take your place.
Be content to be “marvelously helped”. Enjoy and be thankful for what God has given you to accomplish.
And put that mirror down!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” (Proverbs 3:5-7 NLT)