God is so gracious in holding each person accountable for his own sin and not for the sin of his father. However, what is modeled by the parent almost always shows up in the son—eventually. This was the case in Uzziah’s life. King Uzziah began to rule when he was 16 years old. He started out doing what was right in the eyes of the Lord (2 Chronicles 26:4) as his father had done. “He sought God during the days of Zechariah [not the prophet], who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success (verse 5).” Zechariah must have been a godly priest or counselor. And, that’s all God asks from us is to seek Him in faith. Sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it? But our boastful pride of life gets in the way.
Like Solomon, Uzziah was a builder (verses 9-10). He improved farming practices because he “loved the soil.” He supplied his army well from the national armory (verse 14). And, he had engineers design and build better defenses for the walls around his capital city Jerusalem. “BUT after 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 (verse 16).” That success opened the door for the boastful pride of life to rear its ugly head. He believed the lie that he was the author of his success. Disregarding God’s instructions for who can enter the Holy Place of the Temple (only consecrated priests and levites), he did it. When confronted by 80 priests, Uzziah got angry. “While he was raging at the priests…leprosy broke out on his forehead…the Lord had afflicted him (verse 19-20).” Having leprosy for 10 years removed him from public influence. Now he couldn’t even go to the Temple courts. Uzziah got a long “timeout” for his bad behavior. He was not even buried in the kings’ tomb with David’s other descendants. What a way to ruin a life! That boastful pride of life.
Thankfully, Jotham (Uzziah’s son) did not follow his father’s bad example. At 16, he became co-ruler with his dad. In 2 Chronicles 27:7, we read, “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Uzziah had done, but unlike him he did not enter the Temple of the Lord.” For 10 years, Jotham saw the consequences of his father’s sin (leprosy) and must have determined in his heart not to do that sin of pride and rage. He “grew powerful because he walked steadfastly before the Lord, his God (verse 6).” But, he wasn’t able to lead his people spiritually to give up their corrupt practices (verse 3). The people were still using high places to supposedly worship God with their own sacrifices, however this degraded into inclusion of Baal worship alongside Yhwh worship. How many kings up until now (300-400 years after David) had tried to remove the high places only to have them show up again when the pressure was off? It is so hard to root out bad traditions. Like today’s practice of incorporating the surrounding culture into the church. It looks harmless but isn’t.
Sadly, Jotham didn’t live very long. He must have been ill or weak. During his last 3 years as king, his son Ahaz was the acting king. But equally as sad, Jotham did not raise his son to be faithful to God. Reading through 2 Chronicles 28, you see quickly that Ahaz was very, very wicked! He made idols for Baal worship and worshiped them, and he sacrifice his own son to idols (verses 1-4), something God forbid and never wanted His people to do. Why? What would make a man do this?! To go along with the people rather than fight against them? Bad leader. I’m wondering who his mother was, perhaps one of those foreign idol-worshiping women. It matters who your mama is.
Ahaz went from horrible to worse, if that’s possible. The Lord lifted His hand of protection from Judah so enemies attacked. This was to humble the king and draw him back to God. Yet, “in his time of trouble, King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the Lord. He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus who had defeated him (verses 22-23)” trying to get those gods to help him. “He shut the doors of the Lord’s Temple and set up altars at every street corner in Jerusalem. In every town in Judah he built high places to burn sacrifices to other gods and provoked the Lord, the God of his fathers, to anger (verses 24-25).” Sounds like he was either angry at God or running scared. Panicking. I see fear of the Arameans and Assyrians motivating him. There is no mention of connection in his mind between his bad behavior and the consequences (enemy attacks). No going to the Lord for help through a prophet. Was there no faithful High Priest or prophet to give him counsel at this time? Was there no better son of Jotham to rule? He was 20 when he started ruling. Surely his bad character was evident by then.
Ahaz’s boastful pride of life ran his life and directed his decisions. He did no one any good, least of all himself. The officials of Jerusalem must have hated him for closing the Temple. When he died, he wasn’t buried with the other kings. Though the chronicler didn’t say it here, I bet there was no regret when he died. That’s the legacy of letting the boastful pride of life take control of your heart and direct your decisions. Not a good result.
Author: Melanie Newton
Melanie Newton helps women learn how to study the Bible for themselves through her Joyful Walk Bible Studies. She also teaches online courses for anyone to grow their Bible-teaching skills to help others—all with the goal of getting to know Jesus more along the way. She has lots of resources available on her website melanienewton.com for you to use in your life and ministry. Melanie believes that it’s always the right time for a Dr. Pepper, that her family is the greatest, and being outside for even a few minutes is a daily necessity. Woohoo!