TODAY’S READING: II CHRONICLES 27-31
The reign of Jotham; the reign of Ahaz; Syria and Israel defeat Judah; the death of Ahaz; Hezekiah’s reign; worship is restored in the Temple; Hezekiah destroys idolatry and paganism in Judah; the tithes and offerings of the people.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
As chapter 26 came to a close in yesterday’s reading, Uzziah had been stricken with leprosy because of his sin of pride in going into the temple to burn incense, and had been made an outcast from the Temple and even his own palace. In chapter 27, Uzziah’s son, Jotham, begins to reign in Judah. Verse 2 says that he followed in the footsteps of his father, doing that which as right in the sight of the Lord, but did not make the mistake his father had made in going into the Temple. Despite his personal devotion to the Lord, the people of Judah were living “corruptly” (27:2).
When Jotham died, his son Ahaz came to the throne. To say that he didn’t follow in his father’s footsteps might be the understatement of the year! He was the most wicked king that Judah had yet known. He plunged the entire nation headlong into idolatry, even burning his own children as sacrifices! Because of his unbelievable wickedness, the kingdom of Judah continued to suffer more and more loss of territory. The Edomites took over in the southeast; the Philistines had raided the cities of the southwest and were now occupying them (28:17-18); and thousands upon thousands of his people were taken as slaves into other countries. Rather than these things causing Ahaz to cry out to the Lord in humility and repentance, it caused him to become more wicked and to trespass against the Lord to an even greater degree. (See 28:22). By the time he died, the Temple of the Lord was in shambles, and the entire kingdom of Judah was completely engulfed in idolatry (28:23-25).
Remarkably, Ahaz’s son Hezekiah comes to the throne upon his wicked father’s death, and he is one of Judah’s greatest kings! For all who had a wicked father, take refuge and courage in the fact that God can enable you by His grace and power in you to intersect that cycle of sin, and cause you to be a holy servant of the Lord Jesus Christ! What a blessing Hezekiah is! Four entire chapters are devoted to his reign in II Chronicles (29-32).
Rather than bemoan his terrible upbringing and plight in life, or allow bitterness toward his godless father (or God for that matter!) to rule him, when given the opportunity, Hezekiah chose to put the past behind him and simply made decisions that were in accordance with God’s will and Word. To put his mode of operation into the words of Paul, “Hezekiah forgot those things which were behind him, and went reaching for the things that were before him, pressing toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13-14).
In the very first month of his reign, he reopened and repaired the house of the Lord, restored the long-neglected priority of Temple worship and the observance of the Passover, and passionately sought to remove any and all idol worship or pagan practices in Judah. His obedience to God and His Word, manifest through the reforms he set in place brought about the wonderful blessing of God. The days of Hezekiah were the greatest time (30:26) since the glory days of Solomon’s reign (I Kings 10; II Chron. 9). God’s epitaph of him is worth noting and striving toward: “Hezekiah...wrought that which was good and right and truth before the LORD his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered” (31:20-21). What a guy!
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
Through KING HEZEKIAH who offered intercessory prayer for everyone in his kingdom that was seeking God – II Chron. 30:18-19 (Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:27, 34; John 17:9).