Narcissist Case Study – Uzziah

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When seemingly “normal” people become arrogant and abusive after they get a little power or success, we may reasonably wonder whether the seeds of that pride were latent in their heart prior to their success.  Uzziah, King of Judah is a case in point:

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2 Chronicles 26

26 And all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the place of his father Amaziah…….

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 He did right in the sight of the Lord according to all that his father Amaziah had done. He continued to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding through the vision of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God prospered him…….

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……15 Hence his fame spread afar, for he was marvelously helped until he was strong.  16 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. 

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17 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.” 

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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. 

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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. And Jotham his son was over the king’s house judging the people of the land.

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There is a tendency for narcissists to show one face to their superiors – that of a loyal and faithful subordinate – and another to their subordinates.  As a sixteen year old new king, and with the influence of his father Azariah and the godly prophet Zechariah, Uzziah followed Zechariah’s lead in seeking the Lord.  The Lord responded by prospering Uzziah – honoring what Uzziah was doing, irrespective of potential seeds of pride in his heart.

However, two things changed significantly.  Zechariah was at some point no longer on the scene, thereby removing one of the external constraints holding back Uzziah’s heart.  Second, Uzziah prospered beyond any king before him with the exception of Solomon and Jehoshaphat.  Somehow the fame from his huge success along with the removal of Zechariah’s godly moderating restraint resulted in the seeds of Uzziah’s heart going well past a normal pride of accomplishment to “insolent pride”.

When Uzziah entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense, he knowingly violated God’s rules regarding temple worship.  This was an insolence to his pride that said “I can do what I want, without consequences.  I am a law unto myself”.   This was total rebellion against the Lord.

When Azariah and 80 priests courageously confronted him, Uzziah’s outrage at their appropriate intervention further showed the extent of his insolent pride.  It is highly probable that Uzziah would have killed them, but God immediately intervened – not only to save the priests, but to immediately pass judgment on Uzziah.  His leprosy meant a precipitous fall from fame and power, to the complete depth of  humiliation as an outcast like the other lepers of the day.

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Proverbs 16:18

18 Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before stumbling.

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For more on what this blog is about, please see “PerspectivesPutting Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism Into Perspective

 

 

 

 

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