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A Practical Commentary On Holy Scripture by Frederick Justus Knecht D.D.

[2 Paralip. 26. 4 Kings 15]

OZIAS was one of the few faithful kings who reigned in Juda. He reigned fifty-two years, and did that which was right in the sight of the Lord. And God directed him in all things. Unhappily prosperity made him proud, and he carried his audacity so far as to usurp the priestly office. One day, going into the Temple, he went to burn incense upon the altar. Eighty priests, with Azarias, the High Priest, at their head, opposed the king, and prevented him from burning incense.

Ozias, being very angry, threatened to strike the priests with the censer which he held in his hand. No sooner had he raised his hand than he himself was stricken with leprosy, which appeared on his forehead before all the priests. And they, seized with horror at this sudden and awful punishment, took hold of the king and put him out of the Temple.

The king was terrified, and feeling the leprosy spread all over his body hastened away from the Temple to shut himself up in a palace apart from all others. He remained a leper till the day of his death. Such was the fearful punishment which God inflicted on an otherwise faithful king, because of his sacrilegious attempt to perform an office that belonged only to priests.

After pride comes a fall. The case of Ozias, like that of Saul, shows us that it is easy for a man to be made proud by prosperity, power or riches. To be king, no longer satisfied him; he must be priest as well This led him to sin grievously against the law of God, and as a punishment for his pride he lost even his royal position, and led a sad and solitary life. No doubt, in his solitude, he renounced his pride, and heartily repented of his crime. “Everyone that exalteth himself shall be humbled” (Luke 14:11).

Temporal and spiritual authority. Even in the Old Testament God, in His wisdom, separated the spiritual or priestly from the temporal or royal authority, perpetuating it in Aaron and his descendants. In the New Testament our Lord instituted a special priesthood, entrusting its authority to the apostles and their successors. Both Church and State represent God’s authority, and they ought mutually to respect each other, and work together for the good of the people, but neither of them ought to usurp the prerogatives of the other. The severe punishment which followed the crime of Ozias ought to serve as a warning to temporal rulers in all ages not to encroach on the rights of the Church; and it ought to show all men that it is a sin not to respect the spiritual authority instituted by God, to set themselves up against it, or blame or abuse its decrees.

Lawful obedience. The High Priest did his duty in undauntedly opposing the king in his sinful purpose. This was a case when it would have been wrong for him to obey the king, for he commanded a thing which God had forbidden.

APPLICATION. Remind yourselves of the cases in which you are not bound to obey your parents and those set in authority over you.








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