As I alluded to yesterday, there are several kings mentioned in chapter 15 and they go in quick succession to one another. Yesterday we read about one of them, Azariah/Uzziah, king of Judah. Today we turn our attention to the kings of Israel during his reign and the reign of his son Jotham. Verses 8-12 describe Zechariah.
“In the thirty-eighth year of Azariah king of Judah, Zechariah the son of Jeroboam reigned over Israel in Samaria six months. 9 And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, as his fathers had done. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin. 10 Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him and struck him down at Ibleam and put him to death and reigned in his place. 11 Now the rest of the deeds of Zechariah, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 12 (This was the promise of the Lord that he gave to Jehu, “Your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.” And so it came to pass.)”
His reign lasted only six months and during that six months he accomplished nothing significant. He is barely mentioned in the Chronicles and was assassinated without an heir to take his place, or at least no heir took his place to fulfill God’s word to Jehu that his son’s would remain on the throne to the fourth generation.
God’s will is always accomplished, always. When God makes a promise, when He speaks His word it is as good as done. His word is never idle chatter, it has purpose. It issues from His mouth on His Breath and does and will be and is. Isaiah 55:11 says it this way,
“so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
Be encouraged. Whatever promises He has made to you, you can thank Him because they are already accomplished. Every word in the Scriptures are sure, every promise certain, every prophecy fulfilled even before they manifest.
Shallum probably felt pretty great about himself for murdering the king and becoming king in his place. God used his evil schemes to bring about His word, but He did not bless or reward the man for his wickedness. Verses 13-16 describe his reign.
“Shallum the son of Jabesh began to reign in the thirty-ninth year of Uzziah king of Judah, and he reigned one month in Samaria. 14 Then Menahem the son of Gadi came up from Tirzah and came to Samaria, and he struck down Shallum the son of Jabesh in Samaria and put him to death and reigned in his place. 15 Now the rest of the deeds of Shallum, and the conspiracy that he made, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 16 At that time Menahem sacked Tiphsah and all who were in it and its territory from Tirzah on, because they did not open it to him. Therefore he sacked it, and he ripped open all the women in it who were pregnant.”
Shallum wanted what he wanted and he didn’t respect anyone else. He wanted to be king so he killed Zechariah. But The Lord did not let him remain in his position. He stole the kingship, it was not his appointing. He used a man even more evil than Shallum to dispatch him. Menahem also wanted what he wanted and he didn’t care what or who stood in his way. Rather than find another route, he pillaged Tiphsah and slaughtered every pregnant woman there. How evil can a man be? He became king in Shallum’s place instead of Shallum’s son. This king had ambitions and it didn’t matter to him if it aligned with God’s will at all. It doesn’t seem he cared what The Lord wanted. But of course that couldn’t stop God from accomplishing his will. Evil cannot stop The Lord. Verses 17-22 tell us about Menahem’s reign.
“In the thirty-ninth year of Azariah king of Judah, Menahem the son of Gadi began to reign over Israel, and he reigned ten years in Samaria. 18 And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. He did not depart all his days from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin. 19 Pul the king of Assyria came against the land, and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that he might help him to confirm his hold on the royal power. 20 Menahem exacted the money from Israel, that is, from all the wealthy men, fifty shekels of silver from every man, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back and did not stay there in the land. 21 Now the rest of the deeds of Menahem and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 22 And Menahem slept with his fathers, and Pekahiah his son reigned in his place.”
The Lord doesn’t negotiate with the enemy. Dark and light have no fellowship together. 1 Corinthians 10:19-22 reads,
“What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?”
God never once told Israel to compromise with her enemies, He ordered them to fight them and overtake them. But Menahem didn’t want to fight a war and risk his life so chose to pay his way out of a war with Assyria. He didn’t use the royal treasury, he didn’t dip into his own money. He extorted the money from the wealthy men of Israel and made them pay tribute to another nation and king. Verses 23-26 describe the next king.
“In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned two years. 24 And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin. 25 And Pekah the son of Remaliah, his captain, conspired against him with fifty men of the people of Gilead, and struck him down in Samaria, in the citadel of the king's house with Argob and Arieh; he put him to death and reigned in his place. 26 Now the rest of the deeds of Pekahiah and all that he did, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.”
Pekahiah’s reign was insignificant except for his continued evil. He and the kings before him did not seek The Lord, they sought power and wealth. They didn’t seek God’s glory, they sought their own. So rather than The Lord blessing them and letting son after son sit on the throne, he let them face the consequence of leading a nation to sin and seek power instead of Him. Pekahiah was assassinated by his captain who also wanted glory, power, and wealth. Verses 27-31 read,
“In the fifty-second year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekah the son of Remaliah began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned twenty years. 28 And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin.
29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came and captured Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and he carried the people captive to Assyria. 30 Then Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah and struck him down and put him to death and reigned in his place, in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah. 31 Now the rest of the acts of Pekah and all that he did, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.”
Menahem did not care about the future of Israel, only about himself and his comfort. He paid tribute to Assyria instead of fight Israel’s enemy. Pekahiah did nothing to rectify the situation. And so while Pekah was king, Assyria marched in and captured many of Israel’s cities. None of those kings cared about Israel or The Lord, only themselves. Israel had followed in Jeroboam’s twisted religion for so long they didn’t even know who God was anymore. We can’t serve money, power, or own glory and also serve The Lord. It is impossible. In Matthew 6:19-24 Jesus said it like this,
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Had those kings pursued The Lord and sought to please Him instead of seeking their own kingdoms, He would have blessed them and given them and Israel everything they needed from protection to food and money (Matthew 6:33). The kings laid up treasures in their kingship instead of Heaven. Their treasures were stolen by the people who killed them. The enemies to whom they handed some of their treasure came in and stole more.
Verses 32-38 turn back to Judah and describe Jotham’s reign, which he inherited after his father Azariah died. He did not steal his kingship, The Lord gave it to him as He had promised David and his line. Jotham was not perfect, none of the kings were and he paid the consequences for the sins he committed. But The Lord still honored his faith.
“In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, Jotham the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, began to reign. 33 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jerusha the daughter of Zadok. 34 And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that his father Uzziah had done.35 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. 36 Now the rest of the acts of Jotham and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 37 In those days the Lord began to send Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah against Judah. 38 Jotham slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father, and Ahaz his son reigned in his place.”
Believer, God is The LORD. He is able. His Word is Almighty because He is Almighty. You do not have to seek power, money, provision, or anything else as long as you seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.