Today: [2 Chronicles Twenty-Seven] Preparing Our Hearts Before the Lord. In this chapter we read about king Jotham. Jotham was the son of Uzziah who died of leprosy because he intruded into the priest’s office. Jotham watched his father suffer for decades under the slow and agonizing rigors of this dread disease. When he comes to the throne he applies the lessons learned from his father’s sins and “prepared his heart before the Lord…” As a result he lives a blessed and prosperous though featureless life ruling over Judah.
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[2Ch 27:1-9 KJV] 1 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. 2 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. 3 He built the high gate of the house of the LORD, and on the wall of Ophel he built much. 4 Moreover he built cities in the mountains of Judah, and in the forests he built castles and towers. 5 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. 6 So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God. 7 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. 8 He was five and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. 9 And Jotham slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David: and Ahaz his son reigned in his stead.
Uzziah dies of leprosy and his son Jotham reigns in his stead. Again we see the mothers of the kings are mentioned as well. This is now the custom since the days of Jezebel and the 6 year reign of her daughter Athaliah. Jotham begins to reign at the age of 25 but he has served as his father’s reagent for years during Uzziah’s long and agonizing death by leprosy. From the days of Joash there has been a rift between the house of David and the priest class that now apparently is improving in light of the fact that Jotham’s mother was a member of the high priestly family.
Jotham learned the lessons of his father and did that which was right in the sight of the Lord. He served God and revered the temple. He refrained from attempting to exert his authority in temple ritual as Uzziah did – however future king’s will follow Uzziah’s policies and intrude upon the temple protocols, eventually wrecking the altar and bringing in pagan shrines into the Holy Place.
Jotham was a righteous king but apparently not an effective spiritual influence because the people continued in the corrupt ways of their predecessors. Jotham prepared his ways before the Lord being a builder of cities and putting the Ammonites under tribute as did his father before him.
What does it mean to prepare your heart before the Lord? The example we can give is that of David. For 400 years during the time of the Judges the people only consulted the Lord twice at Shiloh. Saul was not known to inquire one time of the oracle of the Urim and the Thummim on the breastplace of the High Priest. When David became king and in fact even before he would never make a move without seeking the heart of God and the mind of God in matters both great and small.
God is always speaking whether or not we are listen. He speaks in the still small voice. He speaks to us in dreams. He speaks to us through our spiritual leaders, pastors, prophets, etc. It is up to us to recognize and divine what the Lord is saying. When God speaks He will not always announce Himself so that we know we should be listening. The writer of Proverbs says:
[Pro 25:2 KJV] 2 [It is] the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings [is] to search out a matter.
What that means is God will whisper to us in a loud room as it were and it is up to us to be aware that He is directing. David says in Psa. 32:8 that God will guide us with His eye. In those days a good servant need only look his master in the eye to know exactly what is needed or what is expected. The eye of God is always on us. He wants us to be so sensitive that we need only discern the eye of God upon our lives to know what He desires without speaking. Just because we are not listening does not mean we are not accountable. It is not up to God to break through our distracted thinking and lack of attenuation to His Holy Spirit. He is the Lord and we are called to be His willing and attentive servants. This was the type of man Jotham was and he prospered. David was this type of king and was a man after God’s own heart. We do well to follow their example.
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