Jotham was Judah’s new king, and unlike his father, he did not presume to enter into an area he was not authorized to enter. He was considered a good king (from God’s perspective) because “he ordered his ways before the Lord.” He reigned for 16 years (27:1-9). In contrast to the two previous kings – kings who had some devotion to the Lord – was the son of Jotham, Ahaz. Ahaz was an evil king that reigned 16 years (between the three kings there was a cumulative reign of over 80 years, but it’s quite likely that Jotham was a co-regent with his father for nearly the last 15-16 years of the life of his father, Uzziah). Ahaz reflected on his father and grandfather’s life and rejected their course of action, not to mention devotion to the Lord. This, consequently, was “the ruin of him and of all Israel.”
Application: In the ESV, 28:22 reads, “In the time of his distress he became yet more faithless to the Lord…” A remarkable and unfortunate remark if there ever was one. In times of distress it is likely that most people will turn to a power greater than themselves even if they are not sure that power exists. Ahaz knew the power greater than himself existed; he knew it because of his heritage, and he knew it because of the Lord’s prophets. In spite of this he rejects any and all things of the Lord. What, pray tell, did he expect in return for this rejection? In times of distress it’s the Lord granting us an opportunity to reflect on what is important and what is not. This includes our standing in a world that is much greater than ourselves. When we do reflect on things greater than ourselves, to whom will we turn? Of course, to the thoughtful one, the answer is apparent.