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. But Azariah the priest went in after him, with eighty priests of the Lord who were men of valor, 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 LordGod.” 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. 2 Chronicles 26:16-19
King Uzziah is a great reminder to us as men.
It is hard to believe that Uzziah understood in the moment the inner struggle that would overwhelm him. If I am honest with myself, this has also been my struggle as well. You’ll notice the exact moment that this king likely realized his error: when he faced the consequence of his actions. And this is my experience as well. So how does a man avoid realizing mistakes too late in the game?
Uzziah could have saved face when confronted. His first option would have been to admit fault, leave the temple, and humble himself. His decision was to react in anger and experience humility in a more painful way. Both outcomes demanded humility and one of them much more severe. The point is humility is better when we choose it as a response to confrontation. Be humbled now or later, but either way, all of us will be humbled because all of us experience pride.