The Kings of Israel and Judah fascinate me. These kings had every opportunity to follow God and do good. Some chose to follow God . . . some chose to go the opposite direction, with devastating results.
For example: Kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. A great-grandfather, grandfather, father, and son who each reigned over Judah. All descendants of King David.
King Uzziah: Became king at age 16 and started off seeking God and God blessed him. He became very powerful and famous. But he also became very proud. His pride led to his downfall and God gave him leprosy as his punishment.
King Jotham: When his dad got leprosy, Jotham was put in charge and became king at age 25. He did what was pleasing to God, just like his father Uzziah, but Jotham didn’t let his pride go to his head. He also became very powerful, but he was careful to live in obedience to God. But even though he was obedient to God, the people under him continued in their corrupt ways.
King Ahaz: I’m not sure what killed Jotham, but if my math is correct, he died at age 41 and his son, Ahaz, became king at age 20. Ahaz went the complete opposite direction of his father and grandfather. He worshiped idols. He sacrificed his own son to Baal. He encouraged the people of Judah to sin. He destroyed items for the Lord’s Temple and shut the temple doors.
King Hezekiah: What would you expect of Hezekiah, having a dad like Ahaz who had even sacrificed his brother to an idol? But Hezekiah didn’t follow in his father’s footsteps. He followed the Lord. He reopened the Temple. He commanded the people of Judah to turn back to God and God gave the people of Judah the heart to obey. He was successful and powerful, but with time he also became proud. But instead of having his pride become his downfall like it had his great-grandfather, he recognized the pride, humbled himself, and repented.
If you keep reading on in 2 Chronicles you’ll see the pattern continue to repeat itself. Unfortunately with all the good Hezekiah did, his son, Manasseh, was an evil king. And the pattern goes on and on.
Life Lessons from Judah’s History
- Godly Mentors Make an Impact: Uzziah had a mentor – the high priest Zechariah. We don’t know much about Zechariah, but he taught Uzziah to fear God.
Uzziah sought God during the days of Zechariah, who taught him to fear God. And as long as the king sought guidance from the LORD, God gave him success.” 2 Chronicles 26:5
- Mothers Matter: We also don’t know much about these mothers, but one interesting note is that the evil king Ahaz had a wife name Abijah who was the mother of the godly king, Hezekiah. She was also the daughter of the high priest Zechariah. I wonder if this was a godly woman – married to an evil man – who was determined to do everything in her power to teach her son about God in spite of the evil around them.
- Destiny Isn’t Determined by Parents: While parents have influence on a child, the child’s relationship with God is his or her choice. Whether your parents love God or hate him . . . your relationship with God is all your own. Christian parents may have atheist children and atheist children may have Christian children.
- God Forgives and Leads: Whenever the king sought God or humbled himself before God, God led and God forgave. He also gave the kings who sought him victory in battle, wealth, and success.
When I read the list of kings and chronology in the Bible sometimes it is easy for me to skim through the names and forget these were real people. But they were. Humans with baggage and history and choices. Parents. Husbands and wives. Leaders and followers. Lovers of God and haters of God.
Regardless of the circumstances they were born into they had choices to make.
Just like me.