Godly men pray for their children to discover the relationship with the living God.  It provides strength to endure the trials of life.  This is an entrance exam for a much greater life to follow.  This is the only critical decision we will ever face in this life.  Sometimes it falls to the grandchildren to rediscover the wisdom of their parent’s parents though. 

Jotham was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Jerushah, the daughter of Zadok.  And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Uzziah did: howbeit he entered not into the temple of the LORD. And the people did yet corruptly.  He built the high gate of the house of the LORD, and on the wall of Ophel he built much.  Moreover he built cities in the mountains of Judah, and in the forests he built castles and towers.  He fought also with the king of the Ammonites, and prevailed against them. And the children of Ammon gave him the same year an hundred talents of silver, and ten thousand measures of wheat, and ten thousand of barley. So much did the children of Ammon pay unto him, both the second year, and the third.  2 Chronicles 27:1-5

What if a king does right and the people continue in sin?  The king prospers, and his nation is strong during this time.

So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God.  Now the rest of the acts of Jotham, and all his wars, and his ways, lo, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.  He was five and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem.  And Jotham slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David: and Ahaz his son reigned in his stead. 2 Chronicles 27:6-9

Jotham is a good king who enjoyed sixteen years of victory.  This is a short story but what more needs to be said?  He died young, but is that a disappointment?  When God is satisfied with your service you may have an early appointment with him.  An appointment with God is never a disappointment.  Jotham passed his entrance exam and was promoted.  He lives.  His son made other choices though.


Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: but he did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD, like David his father:  For he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made also molten images for Baalim.  Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.  He sacrificed also and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.  Wherefore the LORD his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they smote him, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter.  2 Chronicles 28:1-5

Another king gets sixteen years to demonstrate the way to his people.  He demonstrates every way that does not work, and God demonstrates how that turns out.  Israel was the example of sin to Ahaz, and even they are stronger than Judah now. 

For Pekah the son of Remaliah slew in Judah an hundred and twenty thousand in one day, which were all valiant men; because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers.  And Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, slew Maaseiah the king’s son, and Azrikam the governor of the house, and Elkanah that was next to the king.  And the children of Israel carried away captive of their brethren two hundred thousand, women, sons, and daughters, and took also away much spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria.  2 Chronicles 28:6-8

Two hundred thousand citizens are dragged away as prisoners by their Jewish brethren.  Israel’s rebellion against the heirs of David is complete now, but God has something to say.

But a prophet of the LORD was there, whose name was Oded: and he went out before the host that came to Samaria, and said unto them, Behold, because the LORD God of your fathers was wroth with Judah, he hath delivered them into your hand, and ye have slain them in a rage that reacheth up unto heaven.  And now ye purpose to keep under the children of Judah and Jerusalem for bondmen and bondwomen unto you: but are there not with you, even with you, sins against the LORD your God?  Now hear me therefore, and deliver the captives again, which ye have taken captive of your brethren: for the fierce wrath of the LORD is upon you.  2 Chronicles 28:9-11

Israel that sacrificed to Baalim was warned that their sins did not make them better than their Jewish neighbors.  Judah was being punished by God, and Israel was also stepping into the crosshairs of God’s wrath.  Fortunately some of their leaders could heed the warning.

Then certain of the heads of the children of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, and Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against them that came from the war,  And said unto them, Ye shall not bring in the captives hither: for whereas we have offended against the LORD already, ye intend to add more to our sins and to our trespass: for our trespass is great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel.  So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the congregation.  And the men which were expressed by name rose up, and took the captives, and with the spoil clothed all that were naked among them, and arrayed them, and shod them, and gave them to eat and to drink, and anointed them, and carried all the feeble of them upon asses, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brethren: then they returned to Samaria.  2 Chronicles 28:12-15

Israel remembered enough about the Lord to be warned about their idolatry, and repented of their mistreatment of the people of Judah.  They let the people be comforted and returned to their own territory.  King Ahaz is not so sensitive to the danger of his idolatry though.  He is aware of his vulnerability and asks for help from the wrong source.

At that time did king Ahaz send unto the kings of Assyria to help him.  For again the Edomites had come and smitten Judah, and carried away captives.  The Philistines also had invaded the cities of the low country, and of the south of Judah, and had taken Bethshemesh, and Ajalon, and Gederoth, and Shocho with the villages thereof, and Timnah with the villages thereof, Gimzo also and the villages thereof:  and they dwelt there.  For the LORD brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel; for he made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the LORD.  And Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria came unto him, and distressed him, but strengthened him not.  2 Chronicles 28:16-20

So Ahaz asks the king of Syria for help against his many new enemies.  So the Syrians came but they just added to his problems.  He had provoked the Lord again by asking the Syrians to help, and they too became a threat.

For Ahaz took away a portion out of the house of the LORD, and out of the house of the king, and of the princes, and gave it unto the king of Assyria: but he helped him not.  And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this is that king Ahaz.  For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel.  And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem.  And in every several city of Judah he made high places to burn incense unto other gods, and provoked to anger the LORD God of his fathers.  2 Chronicles 28:21-25

If withholding the tithe is robbing God, how much more is it to raid the temple treasures to bribe heathen armies to rescue you?  When his Syrian gods fail, he has a tantrum and closes the temple and adds to his idolatry.  Now we have seen two kings rule with two different solutions to the same problem.  Each had sixteen years and found different results.  Ahaz was not buried among the kings.

Now the rest of his acts and of all his ways, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.  And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, even in Jerusalem: but they brought him not into the sepulchres of the kings of Israel: and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead.  2 Chronicles 28:26-27