20 This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. 21 In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.
Friday we were in Chronicles 14 and Asa was king of Judah. He remained king for a total of forty-one years. In his thirty-sixth year as king he made a pact with Ben-Hadad king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus (chapter 16) instead of relying upon the Lord his God. This resulted in God rebuking Asa through His seer Hanani, and putting Judah at war from this time forward. Asa died in the forty-first year of his reign refusing to call upon the Lord during a period illness.
After Asa, his son Jehoshaphat became king and The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the ways of his father David before him (17:3). He was a good king making only two major errors, both involved making alliances with the king of Israel. Nonetheless, he ruled for twenty-five years and his son Jehoram followed as the next king of Judah. Unlike his father, Jehoshaphat, He did evil in the eyes of the Lord (21:6c). As a result he reigned only eight years and died from a disease of the bowels. His youngest son, Ahaziah, became king but only ruled for one year as He did evil in the eyes of the Lord (22:4).
After Ahaziah died, his mother, Athaliah, ruled for six years after killing all the of the royal family except one who was hidden (22). Athaliah was slain with the sword (23:21) and Jehoiada the priest made Joash [who] was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem forty years (24:1). Oddly after Jehoiada died, Joash listened to others and did great evil in the eyes of the Lord. Thus his reign ended and his son Amaziah became king.
1 Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Jehoaddan; she was from Jerusalem. 2 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly. 2 Chronicles 25
Amaziah’s time as king came to an end after he had won a war and brought back idols of those he had defeated and worshiped them. His son Uzziah then became king of Judah.
3 Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother’s name was Jekoliah; she was from Jerusalem. 4 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. 2 Chronicles 26
However, [A]fter Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense (26:16). As a result God afflicted him with leprosy which he had until they day he died. Uzziah’s son Jothan then became king when he was twenty-five years old and reigned for sixteen years. Jotham grew powerful because he walked steadfastly before the Lord his God (27:6). He was succeeded by his son Ahaz as king.
Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years (28:1). Unlike his father Jotham he did not walk steadfastly before the Lord his God. I find it odd both Jotham and Ahaz were given sixteen years to reign, but little is said of Jotham’ reign while much is said of the evil committed during Ahaz’s reign – even going so far as to sacrifice his children in the fire (28:3b). His sins were great and brought much destruction upon Judah. When he died he was buried in the city of Jerusalem, but he was not placed in the tombs of the kings of Israel
and Hezekiah his son succeeded him as king (28:27). Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done (29:1-2).
Read through chapters 29 and 30 to see how serious Hezekiah was about following the Lord his God. There was nothing halfhearted about his desire to follow God. Thus I am not surprised to see that he and Judah prospered during his reign. Hezekiah was determined to follow the Lord even when Judah and Jerusalem came under attack (see chapter 32). In Hezekiah we are given a great example of what it means to submit to the Lord our God.
The question is how are we living our lives? Are we living our lives in submission to God? In thankfulness for the Grace granted through His Son Jesus, our Lord and Savior? Or are we simply going about our business following God halfheartedly? Are we trying to resist the devil on our own or are we following James advice? Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (4:7).
All too often we want to do things our way instead of His way, but if anything is learned from the various kings of Judah, doing it your own way simply does not, will not work.
RileyD, nwJ (to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)