Uzziah reigned for 52 years and was considered a good king although he failed to tear down the high places. And toward the end of his leadership he became proud in his heart and acted corruptly by entering the temple to perform the duty of the priest.
His son, Jotham, became king after him and did what was right in the sight of the Lord, except he also failed to tear down the high places. And though Jotham did order his way before the Lord, the Scriptures state that the people still acted corruptly. (II Chr 27: 2, 6)
Ahaz, Jotham’s son, became king and he did not walk in the ways of the Lord. He brought about a lack of restraint in Judah and was very unfaithful to the Lord. (II Chr 28:19) In fact King Ahaz replaced the Lord’s altar in Jerusalem with a design from the pagan worship system in Damascus!
Ahaz’s son, Hezekiah, reversed much of the damage that his father had done. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and tore down the high places of pagan worship as God had commanded. He even destroyed the bronze serpent that Moses had made because the Israelites were burning incense to it! (II Kings 18:4) The people had turned the true worship of God into a ritualistic act of their own choosing.
Isaiah spoke to the people during the end of Uzziah’s reign and throughout the reigns of the other three kings. Initially he warned them that God was not pleased with their observances and sacrifices, the very things He had commanded them to do. In fact God said that their sacrifices were futile. Their appointed feasts His soul hated. And though they would make many prayers, He would not hear them. (Is 1: 12-15) They had an outward observance of the commands of God, but their hearts were far from Him. The Lord said that, “their reverence for Me consisted of traditions learned by rote.” (Is 29: 13, 14) It was the very same words Jesus spoke concerning the religious leaders of His time. (Mark 7: 6, 7)
Three of the four kings made successful attempts at stopping the pagan religious system that had infiltrated the nation. The only thing they could not do was change the hearts of the people. Where is your heart today? Is it caught up in a religious system that requires adherence to the commandments of men? Or is your heart engaging with God daily, seeking Him by faith and being guided by the Spirit through His word?