Azariah is said to have been a “good king who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.” He was not perfect by any means, but he left a positive legacy and the text says that he reigned for 52 years in Jerusalem. Zechariah reigned in the Northern Kingdom during Azariah’s reign, but his reign is described as evil:  “He did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord.”  He reigned in Samaria for six months.  He was murdered by the following King, Shallum, who took his place and reigned for one month.  Each successive king accelerated the worship of the Gods in the land.

So the story goes on and on until the end of the northern kingdom in 721 BC. Each king brought another phase of idolatry and pagan religious practices. They did “evil in the eyes of the Lord.”  It would not be long until the northern kingdom would be no more.  They turned from God, and God turned from them.

Let me quote another speech by President Teddy Roosevelt: In the pioneer days of the West we found it an unfailing rule that after a community has existed for a certain length of time either a church was built or else the community began to go downhill. In those old communities in the Eastern States which have gone backward, it is noticeable that the retrogression has been both marked by and accentuated by a rapid decline in church membership and work; the two facts being so interrelated that each stands to the other partly as a cause and partly as an effect.?  There are those who believe that a new modernity demands a new morality. What they fail to consider is the harsh reality that there is no such thing as a new morality. There is only one morality. All else is immorality. There is only true Christian ethics over against which stands the whole of paganism. If we are to fulfill our great destiny as a people, then we must return to the old morality, the sole morality. … All these blatant sham reformers, in the name of a new morality, preach the old vice of self-indulgence which rotted out first the moral fiber and then even the external greatness of Greece and Rome.?”

What Roosevelt fails to mention is that is exactly what happened to Israel as well during the time of the kings.

“When He comes on that day, He will receive glory from His holy people – praise from all who believe. And this includes you, for you believe what we told you about Him.”  2 Thessalonians 1:10