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The Tragic Flaw

In literature, a tragic flaw is a character trait that causes the downfall of a story’s hero. That was true of Uzziah, who was crowned king of Judah at age 16. For many years, he sought the Lord; and while he did, God gave him great success (2 Chron. 26:4-5). But things changed when “his fame spread far and wide, for he was marvelously helped till he became strong. But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction” (vv.15-16).

Uzziah entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar (v.16), openly defying God’s decree. Perhaps pride convinced him that God’s rules applied to everyone except him. When Uzziah raged against the priests who told him this was not right, the Lord struck him with leprosy (vv.18-20).

In literature and in life, how often we see a person of good reputation fall from honor into disgrace and suffering. “King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death. He dwelt in an isolated house, . . . cut off from the house of the Lord” (v.21).

The only way we can prevent the nectar of praise from becoming the poison of pride is by following the Lord with a humble heart.

Humility’s a slippery prize
That seldom can be won;
We’re only humble in God’s eyes
When serving like His Son. —Gustafson
The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives. —Proverbs 27:21 NIV