We are going to skip a king, Jotham. But there wasn't a lot written about him. I even looked on my computer trying to find some help from maybe somebody a whole lot smarter than me. Even those guys didn't say anything about him so I don't feel so guilty about skipping him. Is that all right? (laughter) .
(2 Kings 16:1-2) This is an introduction to this king's reign. He reigned for 16 years and he began when he was 20. The last king that we studied began when he was 16. This guy is a little bit older but not that much older to be in charge of a nation. What is the age, 35 for a president of the United States? Am I right? I thought my history was correct. Yes, and a U.S. citizen. There is a reason why our forefathers set that age of 35. Twenty is not typically an age to be in control of anything, let alone a country. But this guy here was in charge of a country, and interesting enough, it says he did not that which was right in the sight of the Lord.
In verse 3 we are going to see that his walk was anti-God. (2 Kings 16:3) . It says he walked in the way of the kings of Israel. That's where all the wicked kings were. Judah had some, what we would call good kings, but the line of the kings of Israel had some pretty wicked guys and they were the ones this guy chose to pattern himself after. His walk did not reveal that which God would have him to do. It revealed that which man would have him to do, to the point that he made his son to pass through the fire. That's a human sacrifice. He didn't sacrifice just any human, he sacrificed his own flesh and blood. That should give you an idea where this man's mind was. We think back to ancient times and there is evidence and what have you, and Hollywood has made movies about it, where back then men would sacrifice their own or sacrifice humans.
But you know what, we live in a country today where we sacrifice our youth. I say we, I mean as a country. I had the privilege of being off work Christmas Eve and Christmas, but the day after Christmas I had to go back to work. Boy, that was hard, you know. I left Stephen, Craig, and Preston playing video games, and I knew they were going to be playing the next day and I wasn't going to be able to be there with them. That was tough. I had to go back to work. As I was working that day there were children all through the community where I was working there in Houston. They were playing with their toys outside. They were riding bikes. Have you all seen the little scooters, the new things? There were three black girls (I was centrally located in a black community project, if you will) coming through. Two of them was around Preston's age and one of them was right around the girls' age, maybe even a little younger. They were in the middle of the street riding those things, and I thought, 'Man, my mother would have a heart attack'. Not because of us riding but seeing somebody else's kids. Mother would just be going crazy. I guess being raised by someone like that, I was getting nervous sitting in my truck. I was looking for traffic. Sure enough the smallest one fell off hers. Them other two just kept on going, laughing. I was going to get out and help her and a policeman came around the corner. You know what the little girl did? Jumped up, grabbed her scooter, and ran with it from the cops. She rounded the corner. I had my window down and kind of ducked to the side where the other two were and he just kept on going. They came back out on the road and the two other girls asked the little one, 'Did he say anything to you?' She said, 'Nope, he couldn't catch me.' Where were their parents? The children were not near their home, I'm sure. They kept going a long way. I could see them down that street, and they were taught to be afraid of policemen.
That's just an incident that I saw. You see it. Turn your news on. You can see the way that parents mistreat their children, or stepparents mistreating their children. It's an abomination. So this isn't something from history that we've gotten over. The mistreatment of children happens every day. We are made aware of it more so around the Christmas season but it happens twelve months out of the year. That's anti-God. He doesn't want us to mistreat children, especially not our own, but anybody's child.
This is evidence of how far this guy had sunk, that his walk was anti-God. But it goes on. (2 Kings 16:4) Does that coincide with the way he was suppose to be doing his worship service back in those days, according to what God had said? He was faithful to worship, but he was worshipping everything and everywhere. You see, his worship was anti-God as well as His walk. It wasn't the fact that he didn't want to worship and just laid out and completely was an atheist. No. He was seeking after something besides the truth.
If you aren't here on Wednesday night, (I know he is my dad but I'm going to brag on him a little bit this morning) you are missing a good lesson on the truth -- a lesson I was taught from a child. There are a lot of things dad didn't teach me. There are some failures in his life towards me. He wasn't perfect is what I'm saying, you can look at me and tell that, but he always taught me about the truth -- how important the truth is. This guy was looking through the hills and in the high places for the truth and it was right there in front of him. But his worship, however faithful it was, was anti-God. It had nothing to do with the truth. He was buying into a lie.
Now with all of this we are reading about so far this morning, there hadn't been any trouble yet. This was early in his reign. This was when things were going pretty well for him. (2 Kings 16:5) Even though he had worshipped false gods, and even though he had passed his son through the fire and probably other children, they couldn't take him completely out. Now, if you remember back to II Chronicles last week when we studied, that man was punished with leprosy, almost immediately into his reign. He hadn't been long into his reign and he had gone into the high place where the priests were supposed to go. He was going to do the sacrifice and that's when he was given the leprosy, and it was there for the remainder of his reign.
This guy had been given opportunity after opportunity, even to the point of being under fire from these two kings from Syria and Israel, and they still couldn't overcome them. They couldn't defeat him. You are probably scratching your head like I did. I wonder why? Why did that other king get his punishment? Has God chastened you since you've been saved? Has He chastened and disciplined you? Sure He has. I believe the king we read about before knew God, not just know by knowledge, but I believe he believed in Him and he was chastened for his disobedience as we are chastened. There are several families here who have children. I have three among this church. That's the only three (continued...)