Today I am looking at the importance of leadership to inspire the changes that are necessary in any work of restoration.  

As we meditate on portions of 2 Chronicles chapters 25-32.  These chapters chronicle the history of the various kings of Judah and Israel, hence the name, "Chronicles."  Each of them is given a sentence long description of their leadership skills by their God, the God of Israel.

The history of this section focuses on the state of Judah and assesses the nature of each succession of king Amaziah through Hezekiah.  This section of scripture is a great read, many hard turns and tons of exciting adventure.  This part of the Bible, like many other portions, would make for an incredible screenplay in a Hollywood thriller. 

These accounts contain things such as --  huge border conflicts with neighboring nations,  harsh economic  twists and turns, murders of kings and their ambassadors, hidden betrayals, outlandish arrogance, incredible science, expansion of cities through brilliant architecture, internal conflict, and irreverent behavior of a good king, disaster, impending doom, and so on.

In Chapter 25 we learn of king Amaziah.  The bible assesses his leadership this way, "And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a loyal heart" 

Here is how his first 100 days of his reign went, "Now it happened, as soon as the kingdom was established for him, that he executed his servants who had murdered his father the king."

And the historians record this about his heart, "But Amaziah would not heed [good advice], for it [came] from God, that He might give them into the hand [of their enemies], because they sought the gods of Edom."

Now take a look at how Amaziah's reign ends, "After the time that Amaziah turned away from following the LORD, they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem, and he fled to Lachish; but they sent after him to Lachish and killed him there."

Amaziah's son, Uzziah, gets the unenviable job of sitting on his abruptly vacated throne, here is the assessment of his kingly rule, "And he did [what was] right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. He sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God; and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper." 

Take special note of the condition of his prosperity,” as he sought the Lord," God made him prosper.  Who doesn't want prosperity?  We all do, I think?  

But leaders have a special charge to lead their people into prosperity; not personal prosperity to invest on themselves, no,  but a determined effort to bless and prosper the people they govern.  Make special note of our modern day leaders.  

Would you characterize them as self serving or would you say they are determined to bless the people they are called by God to govern?

Uzziah went on to conquer nations, he put Judah back on the map in a big way, here is what happened, "Also the Ammonites brought tribute to Uzziah. His fame spread as far as the entrance of Egypt, for he became exceedingly strong." 

Uzziah went on to do more for Judah then just win wars, he also loved nature, farming, and enterprise, "Also he built towers in the desert. He dug many wells, for he had much livestock, both in the lowlands and in the plains; [he also had] farmers and vinedressers in the mountains and in Carmel, for he loved the soil."

Uzziah reigned for 55 years in Judah, quite long for a king, but he made a fateful mistake that would end his leadership of Judah in ignominious fashion, "But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to [his] destruction, for he transgressed against the LORD his God by entering the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense."  

The bible tells us in several places that God resists the proud but draws near to and gives grace to the humble.

A horde of strong priests, eighty in all, had to kick his kingly rear-end out of the holy place of the temple. Reserved only for Aaron's sons and posterity.  True Levites. 

Uzziah assumed he was worthy because of what he had accomplished, but God had commanded in the law of Moses that only the blood descendants of Aaron and Moses were allowed to enter the holy place and offer burnt offerings to the Lord of nations.  

Uzziah overstepped his bounds as a king because he assessed that all his success was due to his self-derived intelligence or his kingly bloodlines, and his native strength. But to God, the maker of the temple, he stepped in an illegitimate place. 

Uzziah's reign sadly ends on this note, "King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death. He dwelt in an isolated house, because he was a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD."

Imagine, Uzziah's son, Jotham, had to be placed on his rightful throne due to the sad end to Uzziah's reign, the Bible tells very little of Jotham but what it does say is quite complementary, "And he 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). 

I would also imagine that Jotham was instructed by his father to honor the God of Israel....

But still the people acted corruptly."

Even though Jotham is set forth in a positive light historically, the people do not change their ways from the setbacks initiated by his father.  These setbacks were the worship of pagan gods and the worship science and dominance at war.  

It seems so silly that the people would worship any other God but the one who birthed them as a nation under Moses, but it happened over and over again in the times of nation of Israel and Judah.

Jotham went on to extend the walls of Jerusalem; he built strongholds in the mountains and forests of Judah.  Jotham's history is summarized this way, "So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God."

I am captured by this statement of scripture,  "He prepared his ways before the Lord HIS God." Did you get the little article "his" God?  Jotham possessed God. God was his treasure.  He had a heart after God, in spite of the example of his father and grandfather.  The bible does not say much more about this great man, but even in its brevity we can still be assured that Jotham's behavior was pleasing to the Father. 

What separated Jotham from his beguiled lineage?  What made him different?  I suppose his father, Uzziah, was still alive when he reigned, the nation of Judah would not have a leper sit on David's throne, would they?  Maybe Uzziah had the opportunity to warn his son with these words, "whatever you do, please don't go into the temple to offer sacrifices to a very Holy and Powerful God!" 

Remember this one thing, my son, he told little Jotham, God is greater then you and me.  His judgments are critical and very accurate.  His law is unbreakable and not without consequence, we must bow to Him and Him alone. 

Lepersy is a horrible disease!  A leper is an outcast, an embarrassment to themselves and their family; it is very humbling to be a leper, especially if you were a king for 55 years in the greatest nation that ever existed on earth.  A leper's nerve endings stop working and eventually they lose fingers, toes, hands, feet, parts of their face, etc. etc.. 

It's also interesting to note that lepers were ceremoniously unclean and unable to stand to worship God.  So the thing that Uzziah was trying to do in pride, he was never able to do again. 

My friends, there are many sad consequences for sinful behavior, there is no way to get around it, though you and I are forgiven by the confession of our sin,  if you were a leader when you sinned against God's holy law, your respect and reputation are permanently imbued with your moral failure. 

Not only is your reputation sullied, but Uzziah could not go out and enjoy his final days on the earth.  Lepers were also isolated due to the contagion of their disease.  Some were healed, but not Uzziah, he died with this nasty disease eating away his flesh.  Uzziah is a historical example of moral failure and the crumbling effect of pride in the human heart.

On the other hand, Jotham observed the moral decay in the life of his father and God's attitude toward this kind of self centeredness and he gained immeasurable wisdom from watching the hand of God wound his servant, his father, Uzziah. 

Are we able to discern why we are under judgment today?  Have you and I observed carefully the sinful behavior of our political and religious leaders have created for us and our nation?  Or do you suppose that their way of leadership is the right way?  

Why?  Because you observe the benefits of their office littered with nice cars, well endowed pension plans, big houses, fame and fortune, etc etc?

We forgive them for their sins, but we still live in the aftermath of their decisions.   Leadership is a hard and very impactful assignment from God.  Let the reader take note that if they are called to leadership they will be held to a higher standard.

Take it to heart young men and women, do not rush into leadership.  

The bible tells us that good leaders deserve double honor but their mistakes and sins receive double condemnation.  Study with great humility and soberness of heart the sins of our fathers; let us learn from their mistakes.  Jotham did!

Jotham was deliberate in his preparations as a king.  He considered God's will first,. He considered God's mind and law first!  Jotham did not just rule by popular opinion, he got past all the fear of what the people might say, he went for God and His law and long term success.  

He mediated on God's character.  He was a worshiper of the Living God. 

Jotham has a clean record before the Lord based on a very simple principal; he possessed God in His heart!  Next time I will share accounts from his sons.  We will see how God used Jotham's sons to turn the people back to righteous living.

Let us learn from all the historical accounts of world leaders that our God is serious about our worship.  He cares about our decisions, especially those who are called to leadership.  If you believe God is separating you to a leadership position, I strongly encourage you to get on your knees and ask God to make you a man that "possesses God" from the deepest parts of your heart.

Many blessings and peace,