Jotham the Good

Michael Wilcock

READ : 2 Chronicles 27:1-9

. . . a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine . . . (Phil. 2:15)

It is easy to pass by the less eye-catching portraits in this picture gallery of the Israelite kings. You may at some time or other have heard a sermon on Ahab or Jehoshaphat, but Jotham? Who is he? Someone not terribly interesting, to whom neither Kings nor Chronicles devotes much space. True, both accounts are complimentary about him; but being Jotham the Good, he doesn’t even give us the guilty pleasure of wagging our heads over the shocking (but colorful) wickedness of a Bad Man.

Don’t belittle him, though. He made the most of his opportunities. He busied himself with projects that were positive and far-sighted, strengthening the country’s defenses. He dealt with an old enemy who had been snapping at Judah’s flanks for years, and he kept his head when (as Kings tells us) his northern neighbors began to make unfriendly noises. He recognized the virtues of his father Uzziah and made them his own, while recognizing also his faults, and avoiding them.

All too good to be true? Ah, no. Jotham’s own goodness was real enough, but the painful truth lies in the murky background to this portrait of shining integrity. Those who benefitted from it didn’t appreciate it; “the people still followed corrupt practices” (v. 2). Don’t give up, Jotham, but don’t be surprised if you can’t carry everyone else with you.

PRAYER

Thanks, Lord, that your purposes will win out in the end.