Pekah over Israel
27 In the fifty-second year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekah son of Remaliah became king over Israel in Samaria, and reigned twenty years. 28 He did evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he made Israel sin.
29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel, [e]Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came and [f]captured Ijon and Abel-beth-maacah and Janoah and Kedesh and Hazor and Gilead and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali; and he carried them captive to Assyria. 30 And Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and struck him and put him to death and became king in his place, in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah. 31 Now the rest of the acts of Pekah and all that he did, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.
Jotham over Judah
32 In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah king of Israel, Jotham the son of [g]Uzziah king of Judah became king. 33 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Jerusha the daughter of Zadok. 34 He did what was right in the sight of the Lord; he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done. 35 Only the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. He built the upper gate of the house of the Lord. 36 Now the rest of the acts of Jotham and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 37 In those days the Lord began to send Rezin king of Aram and Pekah the son of Remaliah against Judah. 38 And Jotham slept with his fathers, and he was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father; and Ahaz his son became king in his place.
Here are two more in what seems a list of unimpressive kings. Those in Israel continuing to follow the example of Jeroboam, and those in Judah continuing to be somewhat half-hearted about serving God. We don’t know exactly why Hoshea killed Pekah, but it appears Pekah pretty much hung an entire tribe out to dry. This is a kingdom that the queen of Sheba once envied, and now the king of Assyria just comes in and takes over an entire tribe like it’s nothing. Of course, we know a big part of this was God allowing judgment on Israel for continuing to serve idols.
But even in Judah, it hasn’t been all sunshine and roses, we see that Pekah, the one who rolled over for Tiglath-pileser, was even attacking Judah along with Rezin of Aram. And you have to feel it has a good part to do with their lack of zeal for God. Sure they did “what was right” in the sight of the Lord. But was that just going through the motions, and avoiding the really big sins? Somehow the kings of Judah had strayed from the picture of David, who danced in the streets because of his fervor for his God.
It shows a sad reality, which is that you can put on a good show, but if you aren’t pursuing God, you’re going backwards. Judah was drifting, albeit slower, toward the same destination as the rest of Israel. Not because they were evil, but because they weren’t being intentional. Serving God had just become a ritual, without the life that God intended.
And truly, that’s about all one could expect from a religion that wasn’t based on more, that lacked the relationship and connection that God intends for us. So don’t settle for less, pursue Him, “tasted and see” that God is good. Don’t just go through the motions, but seek His face, seek to know Him more every day–with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Seek Him as David once did, ignoring the naysayers, and the opinions of our craven world, with zeal and fervor.