2 Kings 15 … Consider His Compassionate Correction

The Lord struck the king, so that he was a leper to the day of his death. And he lived in a separate house, while Jotham the king’s son was over the household, judging the people of the land, (15:5).

No explanation is offered for the LORD’s seemingly harsh dealing with the king. However, the readers at the time would have been very familiar with this event. We can find the backstory fully explained in 2 Chronicles 26.

God had mightily blessed the military endeavors of King Azariah (also referred to as King Uzziah. NIV Study Bible notes state that “it is likely that Uzziah was a throne name, while Azariah was his personal name.” The use of the name Uzziah also provides clarity in this text, as the priest who served under the king bore the same name, Azariah the priest: see 2 Chr. 26:16).

God helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabians who lived in Gur-baal, and the Meunites. The Ammonites also gave tribute to Uzziah, and his fame extended to the border of Egypt, for he became very strong. Moreover, Uzziah built towers… 11 Moreover, Uzziah had an army ready for battle… (2 Chronicles 26:7-8, 11).

And the LORD further blessed him with weaponry and innovated inventions to greatly increase and strengthen his arsenal.

Moreover, Uzziah prepared for all the army shields, spears, helmets, body armor, bows and sling stones. 15 In Jerusalem he made engines of war invented by skillful men to be on the towers and on the corners for the purpose of shooting arrows and great stones. Hence his fame spread afar, for he was marvelously helped until he was strong, (2 Chronicles 26:14-15).

And as Uzziah’s fame spread throughout the region, due to God’s marvelous favor, it also spread to his head, corrupting his thinking, and ultimately his actions. But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the Lord his God, for he entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense,” (2 Chronicles 26:16).

Pride; it so distorts one’s ability to discern. And we see the king bowing to his pride, perverting his perception of rightly approaching Holy God, presuming to take upon himself the office of priest in absolute disregard of the urging of eighty priests and God’s explicit commands.

Then Azariah the priest entered after him and with him eighty priests of the Lord, valiant men. 18 They opposed Uzziah the king 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 been unfaithful and will have no honor from the Lord God.” 19 But Uzziah, with a censer in his hand for burning incense, was enraged; and while he was enraged with the priests, the leprosy broke out on his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord, beside the altar of incense. 20 Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and behold, he was leprous on his forehead; and they hurried him out of there, and he himself also hastened to get out because the Lord had smitten him. 21 King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death; and he lived in a separate house, being a leper, for he was cut off from the house of the Lord, (2 Chronicles 26:17-21).

Consider His Compassionate Correction

Chronicles describes Uzziah as becoming enraged when being corrected by priests who were communicating God’s truth, and as a result leprosy broke out on his forehead for all to see, “…and while he was enraged with the priests, the leprosy broke out on his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord… (2 Chronicles 26:19).

But in today’s reading we learn, “The Lord struck the king, so that he was a leper to the day of his death,” (15:5).

In the Hebrew language, this word translated “struck,” definitely carries the idea of afflicting or reaching out in judgment; but there is something very intriguing about the underlying meaning.

From Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance: “Struck, afflict 5060. נָגַע nāg̱aʿ: A verb meaning to touch, to reach, to strike. The basic import of this verb is physical contact from one person to another. Since interpersonal contact can come in one (or more) of many varieties, this verb carries a range of semantic possibilities…”

Behind His strike was His touch, His interpersonal contact with a king who did right, yet let his pride get the best of him. And in His Compassion, He Himself reaches out to touch a king with His Correction. And in His touch is another reminding revelation of His absolute Sovereignty and Holiness, coupled with yet another Compassionate offer to return in repentance.

How do we respond to His Compassionate Correction?

According to the NIV Study Bible notes, King Uzziah is remembered as a “godly and powerful king.” And yet, he found himself a victim of his pride.

Let us learn the lesson so graciously provided in these accounts. None of us are beyond temptation.

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it, (1 Corinthians 10:13).

And God is faithful and always provides a way of escape.

  • He repeatedly and Compassionately warns us of the disastrous ramifications of pride:
    • When pride comes, then comes dishonor,
      But with the humble is wisdom,
      (Proverbs 11:2).
    • Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
      Assuredly, he will not be unpunished,
      (Proverbs 16:5).
    • Pride goes before destruction,
      And a haughty spirit before stumbling,
      (Proverbs 16:18).
  • He also Compassionately provides the remedy against pride:
    • Before destruction the heart of man is haughty,
      But humility goes before honor
      , (Proverbs 18:12).
    • But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you, (James 4:6-10).
  • Let us not deceive ourselves, but daily ask Him to examine our hearts.
    • Search me, O God, and know my heart;
      Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
      24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
      And lead me in the everlasting way,
      (Psalm 139:23-24).
    • For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself, (Galatians 6:3).

And when we need His discipline, let us accept His Compassionate Correction, knowing His touch is always intended to bring forth His fruit, that we would grow in His peace and righteousness.

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Hebrews 12:11).

Let’s Grow Together!

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