In this passage, we have a very short account of the reign of King Jotham of Judah. For the most part, he was a good king. It says in II Chronicles,
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 (2).
Uzziah, of course, got in trouble because he entered the temple to offer incense, something that only the priests were supposed to do.
Jotham also had great success against his enemies, conquering the Ammonites, and he became powerful because,
He walked steadfastly before the Lord his God. (6)
So why do I say he was almost perfect, instead of perfect? It says again in verse 2,
The people, however, continued their corrupt practices.
What corrupt practices are they talking about? We find it in II Kings.
The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there. (35)
So while Jotham walked steadfastly before God, the people he was supposed to be leading didn’t. And it was for this that prophets like Isaiah and Hosea condemned the people for, as we have already seen.
What’s worse is that Jotham apparently neglected to raise his son Ahaz in the worship of the Lord. And so when Ahaz took over the throne, he led Judah even deeper into idolatry.
What can we learn from this? We may be walking with the Lord, doing his will, but God has given us a sphere of influence. It may be our spouse, our children, our neighbors, or our coworkers. And it’s not enough that we simply live for the Lord. But we are to also make a difference in the lives of the people God has given us.
And if we don’t, God will hold us responsible. Of course, we can’t make decisions for people. We cannot make the people around us serve the Lord. But especially in cases where we have authority over them, namely our children, we are to do everything we can to teach them about the Lord and encourage them to follow him.
Who has God put in your life? Are you satisfied in just serving the Lord yourself? Or are you encouraging the others around you to do the same?