The prophets had carried God’s message to the people: “’You shall not fear other gods, and you shall not forget the covenant that I have made with you. You shall not fear other gods, but you shall fear the Lord your God, and he will deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.’ However, they would not listen” (17:37-40). And, even when the kings sort of did what the Lord commanded, over and over again, it is written that “the high places were not taken away.” I think there is a bit of an analogy, here, for us. The kings and the people might do some good but, always, they were falling short. And, of course, the same can be said of us. That’s why we need a perfect substitute, who not only pays the penalty for our sins, but also gives to us his righteousness, which is full and complete and perfect.
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock.
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh,
stir up your might and come to save us!
Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved! --Asaph (Psalm 80:1-3)