“Saved Soul, Wasted Life”

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Jotham…did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Uzziah had done (although he did not enter the temple of the Lord). But still the people acted corruptly. (2 Chronicles 27:1-2)
Jotham became the eleventh king of Judah following his father Uzziah’s long and prosperous reign. Jotham was a capable builder and military tactician. He “became mighty”, verse six says, “because he prepared his ways before the Lord”. But verse two tells us that “he did not enter the temple”. This is somewhat understandable, considering that near the end of his reign Uzziah was struck with leprosy, while in the temple (2 Chronicles 25:16-23). Nevertheless, the temple and the sacrifices offered at it  were central to the Jewish worship. Unwittingly, Jotham obeyed God’s word in many areas yet ignored a key portion that he misunderstood. He prepared his ways, verse 6 says, but did not publicly worship.
I wonder if Jotham ever considered that it was not the temple that was the problem, but his dad’s pride? Did Uzziah ever share with his son that he was struck with leprosy for assuming the role of a priest? I doubt it.
As a pastor I often see people blame a church or a pastor for some hurt they, or someone they know, have felt and then, like Jotham, forsake the assembling of the brethren (Heb. 10:25). They react by avoiding the corporate worship. They proclaim they can be Christian without being a part of the church. And they are not completely wrong. The reality is that you can be a Christian and not attend corporate worship, but you cannot be a strong Christian. You may say, that is ok, all I want is to make it to heaven. But here is the piece of Jotham’s story that should cause us to pause and ponder; he apparently made it to heaven without worshipping at the temple, but those around him did not. His people saw no public expression of his faith and so they were unchanged, acting corruptly. Jotham neglected the temple God and his son, Ahaz, robbed the temple of God. Ahaz also, unthinkably, sacrificed his children on the altar of the Caananite god of prosperity, Molech (2 Chronicles 28). 
Two hundred and fifty years ago, John Wesley said, “What one generation tolerates the next will embrace”. Another person once said, compromise leads to corruption. Jotham goes down in history as a good king but not as a great king. He was a saved soul with a largely wasted life. May the Lord give us the heart and faith to keep “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Deut. 8:3, Matt.4:4), not just the words which we can easily embrace or fits with our experience. May we obey His commandments and they not be burdensome to us (1 John 5:3). And may we continually keep on mind that our diligence or tolerance will be replicated and exaggerated by the next generation.
Pastor Mike


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