A Series of Unfortunate Events, or a Quick Chronology of Three Kings
by Lori Anderson, Local & Global Initiatives at EFC Southwest
(Read 2 Kings 15-16 and 2 Chronicles 26-28)
King Uzziah: “He did what was right in the sight of the Lord […] He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper” (2 Chron 26:4-5). However, “after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord His God […]” (2 Chron. 26:16).
King Jotham (son of Uzziah): “He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, just as his father Uzziah had done. Nevertheless the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places” (2 Kings 15).
King Ahaz (son of Jotham): “He did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord his God, as his ancestor David had done, but he walked in the way of the kings of Israel. He even made his son pass through fire, according to the abominable practices of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. He sacrificed and made offerings on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree” (2 Kings 16:3-4).
The Bible is rife with examples of the sins of one generation tripping up the generation to follow. It’s not unlike life as we know it today.
Uzziah started out well, but didn’t finish well (2 Chron. 26).
Jotham, who was called upon to rule in Uzziah’s place, began his rule with a mixed parental message. His father had feared and sought the Lord before pride destroyed him and clouded his legacy. Jotham seemed to be weakened as a leader, perhaps in part because of the example of his own father. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but he didn’t take a stand against idolatry. By allowing the high places to remain (altars of pagan worship), he didn’t lead the people toward the one true God. He allowed them to continue their detestable practices of idolatry.
It was the very sin Jotham tolerated in the people under his authority that became the downfall of his own son, Ahaz. Ahaz had access and exposure to unthinkable sin because his father tolerated it in others. Ahaz’s evil sank to the depth of sacrificing his own son in the fires of these high places.
The father allowed corruption to remain—even though he had the authority to have it removed. His own son fell to the very things the father was unwilling to confront.
There are “high places” in our culture that seem far beyond our personal influence. There are also high places that live in my little corner of the world every day. And yours.
Busyness can feed our egos and enable us to avoid some of the deeper things God may want to speak into our souls. Maybe image control and significance has set up a high place in your life. Perhaps your preferred way of “doing church” has become an idol for you or for those around you, causing conflict in your church family.
I have prayed that my kids would be protected from the consequences of my sin. However, that can’t be in place of actually allowing God to root out the sin in me. Hmm…