Series of Kings: Azariah (Uzziah) over Judah
15 In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah became king. 2 He was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was [a]Jecoliah of Jerusalem. 3 He did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. 4 Only the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. 5 The Lord struck the king, so that he was a leper to the day of his death. And he lived in a separate house, [b]while Jotham the king’s son was over the household, judging the people of the land. 6 Now the rest of the acts of Azariah and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 7 And Azariah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David, and Jotham his son became king in his place.
Zechariah over Israel
8 In the thirty-eighth year of Azariah king of Judah, Zechariah the son of Jeroboam became king over Israel in Samaria for six months. 9 He did evil in the sight of the Lord, as his fathers had done; he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel sin. 10 Then Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him and struck him before the people and [c]killed him, and reigned in his place. 11 Now the rest of the acts of Zechariah, behold they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 12 This is the word of the Lord which He spoke to Jehu, saying, “Your sons to the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.” And so it was.
13 Shallum son of Jabesh became king in the thirty-ninth year of Uzziah king of Judah, and he reigned one month in Samaria. 14 Then Menahem son of Gadi went up from Tirzah and came to Samaria, and struck Shallum son of Jabesh in Samaria, and killed him and became king in his place. 15 Now the rest of the acts of Shallum and his conspiracy which he made, behold they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 16 Then Menahem struck Tiphsah and all who were in it and its borders from Tirzah, because they did not open to him; therefore he struck it and ripped up all its women who were with child.
It seems Israel just can’t get a break, but so it would be for the tribes who rejected the rule of the kings of Judah. Jeroboam set the mold, and those that came after followed in his example, or worse. Shallum and Menahem took things to a new low, and it seems a dark day for Israel, while Judah is still trying to escape the bondage of the “high places”, at least they had kings who followed God’s ways.
Yet Uzziah did not escape with a perfect reign, though it was long. God struck him with leprosy, a sickness that clung to him to the day he died. This life is imperfect, even when we think we’re going all the things right, and crossing all the boxes. We will not escape the nature of our fallen world, not until Jesus comes back to redeem His people, and to renew the world that was once Eden.
Until then, we press on, through every hardship, every trial, keeping in our sight a return to Eden, walking and talking with our God, in a world un-corrupted.