Judah did away with Amaziah and placed his son Azariah in his place. He was 16 when he became king. He was a godly king. And he was a leper.
The most important thing about Azariah was that “he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” (verse 3a). He unfortunately also left the high places intact. I wonder if we will see another king in our list who tears them down. A king whose heart is like that of David. I guess we will have to wait and see as we progress through them.
The most astonishing thing about Azariah is that he was a leper. We are not told at what age he became leprous, at least not in our reading today, but he continued on as Judah’s king in spite of his condition. He made changes to his life and how he ruled Judah but he was never put out of the city or removed from the throne.
Azariah’s son Jotham helped care for the kingdom during his father’s illness. He was probably the one who met with the people seeking an audience with the king. “And Jotham the king’s son was over the household, governing the people of the land” (verse 5b).
Did he bring matters to Azariah? Was Azariah’s voice heard in the edicts and decisions rendered? Did the power of the throne rest equally on the two of them?
In my ‘timeline of the kings’ it shows Azariah, also known as Uzziah, was a godly king but it doesn’t show this for his son. What happened in the relationship between God and Jotham? Was he angry at God for allowing his father to have leprocy? Was he hurt by the long and protracted death of his father? Did he offer sacrifices and prayers for his father’s healing? Was he angry that those prayers went unanswered?
And how did this illness affect the lives of the people? Did the king and kingdom have more compassion on the lepers during Azariah’s reign? Did the people feel that Azariah had committed some sin that brought about his disease? Did they treat him with disdain, pity, or respect? How was this king who was hidden away affect the hearts of the people?
We are told; “the Lord touched the king, so that he was a leper to the day of his death” (verse 5a). Why? What was His purpose? Was it for a sin he had committed? Was it to keep him humble? The arrogant kings are the ones who pulled away from the Lord in the end of their reign. I’m hoping for more answers when we get into Chronicles.
Ok, I admit to reading ahead just now. We DO find out the reason for Azariah’s leprosy in 2 Chronicles 26. But that is a story for another day. Suffice it to say for now, he came about his disease by his own actions. He did not end his walk with God as he started it.
Father God, keep me from Azariah’s sin of pride. No matter what happens with our journal time and the blog that comes from it, YOU are the one doing all the work. Keep me coming back for more stories every day! Thank You too that many of my questions will be answered in a bit.