Our devotion to God doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Even in walking steadfastly with God, with blessing coming our ways, our impact on other people and even our own children may not be what we hope. This is the reality of our world this side of heaven…
1 Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. His mother’s name was Jerusha daughter of Zadok. 2 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. The people, however, continued their corrupt practices. 3 Jotham rebuilt the Upper Gate of the temple of the Lord and did extensive work on the wall at the hill of Ophel. 4 He built towns in the hill country of Judah and forts and towers in the wooded areas.
5 Jotham waged war against the king of the Ammonites and conquered them. That year the Ammonites paid him a hundred talents of silver, ten thousand cors of wheat and ten thousand cors of barley. The Ammonites brought him the same amount also in the second and third years.
6 Jotham grew powerful because he walked steadfastly before the Lord his God.
7 The other events in Jotham’s reign, including all his wars and the other things he did, are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. 8 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. 9 Jotham rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. And Ahaz his son succeeded him as king.
Jotham became king when his father, Uzziah, was removed from the throne with leprosy. Uzziah entered the temple to burn incense, angering God and interfering with the role of the priests. Uzziah was moved to a separate residence and Jotham was given the throne.
We don’t have any insight into whether Jotham visited his father or asked him for advice during this time. We do know that Jotham did right in God’s eyes and did not follow his father’s footsteps into the temple. His focus seemed to be on building infrastructure (vs 3-4) and the defeat of the Ammonites, who paid large sums of annual tribute money to the king.
According to vs 6, the reason for his success was that Jotham walked steadfastly before the Lord.
His people, however, kept up their corrupt practices and pagan worship. Even though their king was a follower of God, the people continued their wicked ways. We don’t see this affecting Jotham in this account of his account of his life and reign, yet it reminds me that our devotion to God doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
Where people follow the Lord and their king does not, there can be consequences on the entire nation as God deals with the king. Likewise, where a king follows God and his people do not, sooner or later God will deal with the nation and the king will be caught up in their consequences. Consider the amount of trial and heartache Moses endured because of Israel’s lack of faith…
Jotham’s allegiance to God did not influence his son, Ahaz, enough to carry through that next generation. We will learn in the next chapter that Ahaz does not follow the Lord. And so, we see that even in walking steadfastly with God, with success and blessing coming our ways, our impact on other people and even our own children may not be what we hope.
That’s not a reason to stop following the Lord diligently, yet it is a reality of our imperfect world this side of heaven…