King Azariah of Judah
(2 Chronicles 26.1-23)
1Azariah son of Amaziah became king of Judah in Jeroboam's twenty-seventh year as king of Israel. 2He was only 16 years old when he became king, and he ruled 52 years from Jerusalem, which was also the hometown of his mother Jecoliah.
3Azariah obeyed the Lord by doing right, as his father Amaziah had done. 4But Azariah did not destroy the local shrines, and they were still used as places for offering sacrifices.
5The Lord punished Azariah with leprosy for the rest of his life. He wasn't allowed to live in the royal palace, so his son Jotham lived there and ruled in his place.
6Everything else Azariah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 7 Azariah died and was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem. His son Jotham then became king.
King Zechariah of Israel
8Zechariah son of Jeroboam became king of Israel in the thirty-eighth year of Azariah's rule in Judah, but he ruled only six months from Samaria. 9Like his ancestors, Zechariah disobeyed the Lord by following the evil ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused the Israelites to sin.
10Shallum son of Jabesh plotted against Zechariah and killed him in public. Shallum then became king. 11-12 So the Lord had kept his promise to Jehu that the next four kings of Israel would come from his family.
Everything else Zechariah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
King Shallum of Israel
13Shallum became king of Israel in the thirty-ninth year of Azariah's rule in Judah. But only one month after Shallum became king, 14-16Menahem son of Gadi came to Samaria from Tirzah and killed him. Menahem then became king. The town of Tiphsah would not surrender to him, so he destroyed it and all the surrounding towns as far as Tirzah. He killed everyone living in Tiphsah, and with his sword he even ripped open pregnant women.
Everything else Shallum did while he was king, including his plot against Zechariah, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
King Menahem of Israel
17Menahem became king of Israel in Azariah's thirty-ninth year as king of Judah, and he ruled Israel ten years from Samaria. 18He constantly disobeyed the Lord by following the example of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused the Israelites to sin.
19During Menahem's rule, King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria invaded Israel. He agreed to help Menahem keep control of his kingdom, if Menahem would pay him over 34 tons of silver. 20So Menahem ordered every rich person in Israel to give him at least 50 pieces of silver, and he gave it all to Tiglath Pileser, who stopped his attack and left Israel.
21Everything else Menahem did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel. 22Menahem died, and his son Pekahiah became king.
King Pekahiah of Israel
23Pekahiah became king of Israel in the fiftieth year of Azariah's rule in Judah, and he ruled two years from Samaria. 24He disobeyed the Lord and caused the Israelites to sin, just as Jeroboam son of Nebat had done.
25Pekah son of Remaliah was Pekahiah's chief officer, but he made plans to kill the king. So he and 50 men from Gilead broke into the strongest part of the palace in Samaria and murdered Pekahiah, together with Argob and Arieh. Pekah then became king.
26Everything else Pekahiah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
King Pekah of Israel
27Pekah son of Remaliah became king of Israel in Azariah's fifty-second year as king of Judah, and he ruled 20 years from Samaria. 28He disobeyed the Lord and followed the evil example of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused the Israelites to sin.
29During Pekah's rule, King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria marched into Israel. He captured the territories of Gilead and Galilee, including the towns of Ijon, Abel-Bethmaacah, Janoah, Kedesh, and Hazor, as well as the entire territory of Naphtali. Then he took Israelites from those regions to Assyria as prisoners.
30In the twentieth year of Jotham's rule in Judah, Hoshea son of Elah plotted against Pekah and murdered him. Hoshea then became king of Israel.
31Everything else Pekah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
King Jotham of Judah
(2 Chronicles 27.1-9)
32Jotham son of Azariah became king of Judah in the second year of Pekah's rule in Israel. 33Jotham was 25 years old when he became king, and he ruled 16 years from Jerusalem. His mother Jerusha was the daughter of Zadok.
34Jotham followed the example of his father by obeying the Lord and doing right. 35It was Jotham who rebuilt the Upper Gate that led into the court around the Lord's temple. But the local shrines were not destroyed, and they were still used as places for offering sacrifices.
36Everything else Jotham did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 37During his rule, the Lord let King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel start attacking Judah. 38Jotham died and was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem, and his son Ahaz became king.
If the book of Kings teaches us anything about leadership, it is that as goes the leader so goes the apprentice. Hence we read statements like:
“Azariah obeyed the Lord by doing right, as his father Amaziah had done.” (2 Kings 15:3)
“Like his ancestors, Zechariah disobeyed the Lord by following the evil ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused the Israelites to sin.” (2 Kings 15:9)
“Menahem… constantly disobeyed the Lord by following the example of Jeroboam.” (2 Kings 15:17-18)
“Jotham followed the example of his father by obeying the Lord and doing right.” (2 Kings 15:34)
Never once do we read about God considering the poor example of others and acquitting someone who followed them of their own responsibility. Neither do we find that the example of others determines what they will be like. There are plenty of examples in the history of the kings that show bad kings rejecting the godly example of those who were before them and vice versa.
It seems that our behaviour is not dictated by those we follow. It is simply influenced. As followers of Jesus we can sometimes wish that Jesus would just change us, that he would dictate what our behaviour should be. We tire of wrestling to obey. Yet this is not how leadership works.
The key to more effectively following the lead of Jesus is to come more fully under his influence. Followers go where their eyes are looking, their hearts are yearning and their mind is contemplating.
The question for those of us who claim to follow King Jesus is; what do your actions reveal about your followership? Where are you not allowing Jesus’ influence to reach?
Lord Jesus help me to own my responsibility in those areas of my life that are not yet under your influence. Today I choose to submit those areas more fully so that I might be changed for your glory. Amen.