In reading through the account of the kings of Judah, I was struck anew by the “diamonds in the rough.” That is, I was impressed once again by those few kings who, after a long line of faithless men, were brought to power and “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD.” It’s astounding how rare this degree of faithfulness was among the ruling men of Judah. (In fact, only 2 men were actually recorded to have “walked in the ways of David his father”: king Hezekiah & king Josiah, 2 Chronicles 29.2, 34.2). Most turned away from the LORD completely to worship the gods of surrounding nations, but there were a few who gave a half-hearted effort to follow after the LORD.
In reading through the account of the reign and rule of one of the few godly kings, I was riveted by the impact that this king had on the entire kingdom of Judah. I plan to look more closely at this in coming posts, but I thought it fitting to begin at the beginning …
See, before we ever even read about this king (2 Chronicles 29-31), we are introduced to someone by the name of Zechariah (2 Chronicles 26.5). Zechariah is mentioned only once and it is during the reign of king Uzziah, approximately 2 generations before the arrival of the king we will look at in greater detail later. It is said of Zechariah:
“And [Uzziah] did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper.” – 2 Chronicles 26.4-5
King Uzziah was personally instructed by Zechariah in the fear of the LORD. The king essentially submitted himself to this man’s instruction and counsel. This implies that Zechariah must have been a very respected and godly man, knowledgable in the ways and law of the LORD. Unfortunately, later in the reign of king Uzziah it is revealed that “… when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the LORD his God…” (2 Chronicles 26.16). However, there is no further mention of Zechariah again until the passing of 2 more kings (each reigning 16 years).
Following the deaths of king Uzziah, Jotham, and Ahaz, our king, Hezekiah, is introduced:
“Hezekiah began to reign when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah.” – 2 Chronicles 29.1
Now, this is just mere speculation, as there is no evidence affirming this fact (known to the author of this post), but it is highly probable that Abijah’s father was the same Zechariah who gave godly counsel to king Uzziah (whom we read about in 2 Chronicles 26). In that time, it was common for kings to form alliances or express their allegiance to others through marriage. It is very likely that king Uzziah would have endorsed the marriage of one of his sons to the daughter of his close confidant and friend, Zechariah. Being such a godly man, Zechariah surely would have instructed his own household, as he did the king, in the ways and Law of the LORD. Abijah, having grown up in such a household, would have rightly understood the importance of following after the LORD and would have likely followed in her father’s footsteps in teaching these things to her own children, like Hezekiah. Since Hezekiah did not actually become king until the age of 25, he would have retained a close relationship with his mother for 25 years, leaving plenty of time for her instruction to become his conviction.
All of this just points to the blessing of a godly heritage. What an encouragement to parents! As the account of king Hezekiah’s reign continues, the impact of his godly heritage is revealed, as God ultimately used this man to turn the hearts of an entire nation back to Himself. May we, as parents, be faithful in teaching and instructing our children that the LORD might be pleased to use them to turn the hearts of others to Himself as well!