Uzziah and Jothan were two graced men of Judah.
They were graced by being part of the elect southern kingdom, and no nation had been blessed by the Almighty God as had Judah. They were the continuation of David’s kingdom, and as such they were the apple of God’s eye.
They were graced with godly parentage. Both of these fellows had fathers who, at least for a good portion of their lives, “did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord.”
They were graced with an undeserved measure of peace and prosperity. Judah was not skirmish free, but they were not consistently plagued as were their brothers in the northern kingdom.
They were graced with proximity to God’s temple and select priesthood. The holy city, containing the holy house, with the holy of holies, was in their backyard. There, the Spirit of God took up special residence. God’s mediatorial representatives were only a short walk away.
They were graced with an understanding of God’s fantastic moral and civil laws. In their presence was God’s priests, God’s prophets, and God’s book. They were daily acquainted with all God commanded and forbade. They knew well the wisdom of the Almighty.
They were graced with an understanding of God’s undeserved and free Gospel. The slaughtering and sacrificing of animals was performed in their presence. They were consistently made aware of their transgressions before a holy God, and they were constantly being focused on the sacrificial animals that represented the atonement provided them by God. They were sinners, saved by the life and death of another, and this encouraged the joyous feasts which made up their annual calendar.
They were graced with kingly authority, responsibility, and privileges. God was the one who promoted and demoted all political authorities, and he had chosen to ordain these fellows to David’s royal court.
However, despite the grace they enjoyed, they continued sinning greatly against God, and oh, how their sin hurt them, their families, and their constituents.
2 Kings 15:1-5, 32-35
… Azariah (Also known as Uzziah) … began to reign. He was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem … And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. Nevertheless, the high places were not taken away. The people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places. And the Lord touched the king, so that he was a leper to the day of his death, and he lived in a separate house …
… Jotham the son of Uzziah, king of Judah … was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem … And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that his father Uzziah had done. Nevertheless, the high places were not removed. The people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places. He built the upper gate of the house of the Lord.
Their compromise had no affect on their relationship with the Lord. He hated their sin, but he loved their souls. He never stopped looking at them as righteous; this is because their righteousness was not of their own doing. God condemned them not for their sin, and this was because he was storing up his wrath to pour out upon his Holy Son – the someday coming Lamb of God. Their works – good or evil – had nothing to do with their reconciliation and relationship. They were horrid sinners, but they were horrid sinners saved by grace and not by works. Therefore, though they proved at times to be faithless, their Heavenly Father was always faithful to them. They were God’s beloved sons. They were God’s blasphemous and idolatrous rebels, and his undeserved affection never wavered. Unfathomable was the grace of God!
However, great were the consequences of their blasphemous idolatry. Ultimately, it led to the neglect of true worship, the incorporation of corrupt worship, the blaspheming of God’s name and glory, the physical discipline of one man, and the national decline of Judah. In addition, who knows how many souls recklessly wandered from life to death without valuing the Gospel and entering into a relationship with the Gracious Lord?
Friends, like these two fellows, we are recipients of God’s grace. How blessed are we to have enjoyed national blessing, godly upbringing, earthly prosperity, ecclesiastical proximity, the teaching of God’s Law, the reception of God’s Gospel, and ordination to his court. Yes, we are kings and queens in the Kingdom of God. We have quite a bit in common with Uzziah and Jotham. However, like these two graced men, we are prone to toy with that which is terrible.
Therefore, let us look at God’s good Law and be reminded of what holy worship looks like. Go ahead, take a moment and ask the question, “What would living like Jesus look like?”
Let’s be wise, humble, and admit that we have toyed with the terrible. For some reason, we have danced with the devil. Though being called to holiness, we have lusted, thought, and looked too much like hellions. Our flesh has tempted us from within, and we have listened to its voice.
Let’s focus on the Gospel. Jesus Christ lived to accrue over-flowing righteousness. He earned too much for our cup to hold; our righteousness-account bubbles over. Then, he sufficiently died for all our transgressions. All our rank, blasphemous, idolatry has been covered by his sacrificial death. We have no sins for which to pay. We have no righteousness that we must earn. All is a gift, and our pleasure is to glorify and enjoy him as we walk about in our robes of sainthood. Let’s believe the Good News.
Let’s repent in contemplative prayer. Let’s see our sin, confess our sin, pray for a holy hatred, and ask for the Lord’s assistance to tear down the high places — first in our hearts, and then in our hands and houses. Go ahead, take inventory with the Holy Spirit and see what he brings to mind. How have you been a blasphemous idolater today? How has your heart betrayed you? Though being a saint, how have you sinned?
Let’s supplicate and ask the Holy Spirit to work in, through, and with us as he brings forth fruits of repentance. Our minds being transformed, it is time for us to adjust our practices. Let’s quit swimming in the cesspool of sin and tear down Satan’s high places. Let’s stand against the devil, flee temptation, cut off arms, pluck out eyes, say “no” to certain rights, and mortify the flesh. Let’s kill the old man, and male no provision for the lusts of the flesh. Friends, it is time for us to clean house and get rid of that which is not in accordance with our new nature. And when we do, we will find ourselves being a gracious blessing to ourselves, our sons and daughters, and those who follow us in the Kingdom of Heaven. We are royal sons and daughters of the King of Kings, let’s clean house and enjoy the gracious bounty of our Gracious King.