You don't remember Uzziah (c. 792-740 BC) having a problem with women?
Nor do I.
But he did have the same problem as some women.
Check 2 Chronicles 26:16-21 —
But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the LORD his God and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17 But Azariah the priest went in after him, with eighty priests of the LORD who were men of valor, 18 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. Go out of the sanctuary, for you have done wrong, and it will bring you no honor from the LORD God."Uzziah (aka "Azariah") had been a godly king. He had served the Lord faithfully in many ways. Before the excerpt above, we read that Uzziah "did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done" (2 Chronicles 26:4). Further, Uzziah "set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper" (v. 5). Precious few kings warranted such commendation.
19 Then Uzziah was angry. Now he had a censer in his hand to burn incense, and when he became angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead in the presence of the priests in the house of the LORD, by the altar of incense. 20 And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and behold, he was leprous in his forehead! And they rushed him out quickly, and he himself hurried to go out, because the LORD had struck him.
21 And King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death, and being a leper lived in a separate house, for he was excluded from the house of the LORD. And Jotham his son was over the king's household, governing the people of the land.
Nonetheless, the text tells us that Uzziah was "unfaithful," that he knowingly committed treachery against the law of Yahweh. He did what he knew Yahweh had forbidden to him: he acted as a priest.
The motivation we're given is "pride." Uzziah was toppled by that force that has ruined both man and angel, both great and small: pride. Worse, by spiritual pride. No man is so pathetic and unaccomplished that he is a stranger to pride, and Uzziah was neither pathetic nor unaccomplished.
With pride finding a receptive ear for its whisperings, no doubt Uzziah convinced himself that his treachery wasn't really treachery. Perhaps he reasoned the same way Dathan, Abiram and On did in Numbers 16:
The whole congregation is holyOr perhaps Uzziah reasoned that there were "two horizons," doncha know, and Times Had Changed. Culture had changed. Moses was dealing with his situation, but Uzziah's was totally different. Moses had given the Law new and fresh, and delivered it to an ignorant and untaught people — but Uzziah was the beneficiary of much instruction and teaching. So how could he, Uzziah, deny the leading of the Holy Spirit, just because of an ancient text given in a different setting to a different audience under different circumstances?
I am a member of the congregation
Therefore I am holy — and entitled to do anything I feel led to do!
Uzziah was a king, not a commoner! He was a worshiper of Yahweh, not a Baalist nor an Ashtorite! He had shown his love and ardor for Yahweh! No one could doubt that.
Surely King Uzziah had every bit as much right to burn incense on the altar as... well, as women have to be pastors in our day!
And indeed, he did. Every bit as much.
Uzziah was soundly rebuked by the godly priests. How did he respond? Not as a wise man would have done (Psalm 141:5; Proverbs 9:8b-9). Uzziah did not humble himself under God's mighty hand, acknowledge the word and righteousness of God, repent, kill his sin, and do what was right. Pride motivated him, so Uzziah's response was anger. How dare they cross his will? How dare they oppose him? And for this, Yahweh judged him severely.
Clothed in the finest of robes, treachery is still treachery.
One of the oddest features of our day is the equation of Biblical faithfulness with pride. Let a man stand with the Word, over against the fitful currents of culture, and he is damned as "proud."
The Word itself makes the opposite connection. It is the man (or woman) who wanders off from God's commandments, after his own fancies and notions, who is arrogant (Psalm 119:21, 85). By contrast, the genuinely humble person is the one who trembles at God's Word (Isaiah 66:2).
And the test is always found at the juncture where God's word, and our will, cross.
Postscript: note that the text does not wink at this act, though Yahwistic kings were relatively rare and wonderful in Israel's history. This is condemned as an act of sheer hubris, and as unfaithfulness. It led to Uzziah's destruction, his ruin.
"Ruin"? We might think that the text was suggesting that Yahweh struck him dead — but He did not. Instead, Yahweh struck Uzziah with leprosy. Uzziah was ruined as far as participating in temple worship was concerned. So far from leading worship, Uzziah was banned from worship. His rebellious act of pride led to a shameful mark that humiliated and disciplined him.
He was excommunicated, if you will.