And on the wall of Ophel he built much.
(J. Parker, D.D.)
So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the Lord his God.
Homilist.I. EVERY MAN IS UNDER GOD'S INSPECTION. How truly did the ancients realise this (Psalm 139.; Jeremiah 23:23, 24; 2 Chronicles 16:9; Job 34:22). We little consider this in the present day.
II. EVERY MAN SHOULD LIVE AS UNDER GOD'S INSPECTION. A man's conduct will be very different if he realises that God's eye is on him. He will avoid sin. He will bear in mind the love of his Father who is in heaven. He will try to please Him in thought as well as in deed.
III. THE RECOGNITION OF GOD'S PRESENCE IS THE FOUNDATION-STONE OF ALL PROSPERITY. It renders a man great, for —
1. It makes him careful not to do that which will disgrace him.
2. It entitles him to Divine protection and help.
3. It fills him with a consciousness of rectitude, which in itself is a panoply of defence.
I. HE WENT RIGHT WHERE HIS FATHER WENT WRONG (ver. 2). Even on the pinnacle of success and popularity, his head was cool, and his heart was clear, and his nerves were steady, for he prepared his ways before the Lord his God.
II. HE COVERED THE COUNTRY WITH FORTIFICATIONS (vers. 3, 4). The man who is spiritual to the core will not be a weakling in the city, and he will not be easily turned aside. This disposes of the idea that to be a praying man and to be a business man do not go together.
III. HE PREVAILED AGAINST HIS ENEMIES (ver. 5). Because, before he fought he prayed.
IV. HIS WEALTH INCREASED (ver. 5). Prayer to God brought him his fortune.
V. HIS HUMILITY EXALTED HIM (ver. 6). Conclusion: What was Jotham after all but a dim, distant, foreshadowing of Jesus Christ? If ever the text was true of any one, it was true of Him.
I. GODWARDNESS: THE TRUE MIGHT AND MAJESTY OF KINGS. Godwardness is the continuous shaping of our thoughts and deeds as under the immediate inspection of God. Let God be first in every consideration, consulted in every transaction, recognised and deferred to on all occasions and under all circumstances.
II. GODWARDNESS: THE TRUE STRENGTH OF EMPIRES. An empire's strength does not depend upon —
1. Riches. Ancient Tyre was rich.
2. Political ability and astute statesmanship. Sparta.
3. Learning. Greece.
4. Legions. Rome. Napoleon Bonaparte. The strength of an empire is in God. Also, the true strength of the soul's empire — the Empire of Self — is Godwardness.
III. GODWARDNESS: THE SECRET OF SUCCESS. The true cause of failure and weakness is often moral delinquency. "Jotham became mighty because he prepared his ways before the Lord."
(T. G. Selby.).