Uzziah was the second longest reigning king of Israel, surpassed only by Manasseh. The Chronicler says he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and “sought the Lord” and the result of his faithfulness was that God gave him success. A good portion of chapter 26 is devoted to his success. He was successful militarily and politically – his fame (mentioned twice) spread as far as Egypt. Unlike his father, he was respected by the people he governed. He was a builder and successful in business.
All of this came about by God’s blessing (“he was greatly helped” – vs. 15).
Reading chapter 26, you have to wonder what else Uzziah could have possible wanted after so much success. But it becomes evident beginning in verse 16 that he coveted the one thing he could never have: the priesthood. Entering in to the temple, he proceeded to offer incense to the Lord, a daily offering permitted only to the priests, descendants of Aaron. When rebuked for his effrontery, he went into a rage and was struck with leprosy.
Two sins characterized Uzziah: “pride” and he was “unfaithful” to the Lord.
Martin Selman observes that leadership is not a right, but a gift. Uzziah failed to understand that. To be given the opportunity to lead is an unmerited favor of God. Anyone who leads in God’s service must keep that in mind.