Uzziah was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem.
He went out and made war against the Philistines and broke through the wall of Gath and the wall of Jabneh and the wall of Ashdod, and he built cities in the territory of Ashdod and elsewhere among the Philistines. God helped him against the Philistines and against the Arabians who lived in Gurbaal and against the Meunites. The Ammonites paid tribute to Uzziah, and his fame spread even to the border of Egypt, for he became very strong. Moreover, Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate and at the Valley Gate and at the Angle, and fortified them. And he built towers in the wilderness and cut out many cisterns, for he had large herds, both in the Shephelah and in the plain, and he had farmers and vinedressers in the hills and in the fertile lands, for he loved the soil. Moreover, Uzziah had an army of soldiers, fit for war, in divisions according to the numbers in the muster made by Jeiel the secretary and Maaseiah the officer, under the direction of Hananiah, one of the king’s commanders. The whole number of the heads of fathers’ houses of mighty men of valor was 2,600. Under their command was an army of 307,500, who could make war with mighty power, to help the king against the enemy. And Uzziah prepared for all the army shields, spears, helmets, coats of mail, bows, and stones for slinging. In Jerusalem he made machines, invented by skillful men, to be on the towers and the corners, to shoot arrows and great stones. And his fame spread far, for he was marvelously helped, till he was strong. II Chronicles 26:3a, 6-15 ESV
Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to the royal son!
May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice!
Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness!
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the children of the needy,
and crush the oppressor!
May they fear you while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!
May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth!
In his days may the righteous flourish,
and peace abound, till the moon be no more! Psalm 72:1-7 ESV
Many, many years ago a man named Alfred ruled in Wessex, which is part of today’s England. It was a time of war with Viking raiders, who were plundering the coasts of England and building their own settlements there. Alfred built a fortified base against Vikings that had settled in his area of England, then he defeated them in battle. Alfred became a great king. He made peace with the other Viking settlements, built more fortresses and strengthened his armies, and gained territory for his kingdom. He also promoted education and learning among his people. Today people call this king Alfred the Great.
Long before King Alfred, Uzziah was the king of the southern kingdom of Judah. He was from David’s line, and he was a great king like his ancestor David. He strengthened his armies and won battles against the Philistines and other nations. His kingdom was so strong that some nations paid tribute to him, and even the nation of Egypt heard about his fame. Uzziah built fortresses to strengthen and defend his country, and he even invented some war machinery to shoot arrows and sling huge stones at the enemy. But Uzziah wasn’t only a man of war. He also loved his land, and he did a lot to strengthen farming in his kingdom. He built cisterns to supply water for his herds of animals and he had fields of grain and vineyards of grapes. Times of peace gave him a chance to make his country strong and prosperous.
Great kings in David’s line were a gift of God to his people, and they also pointed ahead to the one great King who was coming. God had said that the promised Savior would come from David’s line and would be the greatest king of all. Jesus is our promised Savior, but when he came he didn’t have an army or fields of grain. He went to battle by himself against the biggest enemies of his people, sin and death. He defeated all the forces of evil by dying on the cross and rising again from the dead. Everyone who believes in Jesus is part of his kingdom, and he rules us with his love. One day he will come back and take us to his heavenly kingdom, a kingdom that will last forever.
Dear Jesus, thank you for being our great and good king. Amen.