(2 Kings 16 1-20) Ahaz was a particularly evil king. Interestingly he was the son of a good king Jotham and the father of one of the outstandingly good kings Hezekiah.
The evil practices which Ahaz followed were..
He offered sacrifices and burned incense in every high place on hill tops and under every spreading tree.
He even sacrificed his son in fire.
He did not trust God but sent messengers to Tilgath Pilesar, king of Assyria saying, "Come save me from the hands of king of Aram and king of Israel who are attacking me"
He stripped the Lord's house of all its treasures and sent them as gift to the king of Assyria
Above all, while he traveled to Damascus to meet his "savior", Ahaz became fascinated by a Syrian altar which was glorious in workmanship and gigantic in size. He sent sketches of it to Uriah the priest and commanded him to build an altar of the same kind at Jerusalem. Ahaz on his return sacrificed burnt offering, grain offering drink offerings and fellowship offerings on it.
He blatantly removed the bronze altar from its place and placed it at the north side of the new altar.
How daring he was in replacing God's appointed means of approach to Him and replacing the Syrian style as a new means of approach!
Ahaz looked for his salvation from the Assyria rather than from the Lord and that resulted in his downfall.
What about us?
Let us remember always that our salvation comes only from the Lord.
✴So let us be careful not to adopt any other means or
✴follow any other worldly practices or
✴replace any man made methods to obtain our salvation.
Manjula Premraj, Chennai
2 kings 19:6 This is what the Lord says, Don't be afraid of what you have heard.
Sennacherib, king of Assyria came against the southern kingdom of Judah, after capturing Israel.Sennacherib had blasphemed the Lord by equating Him with other gods. Realising the situation, Hezekiah went to the temple with sackcloth and prayed and cried to the lord for help.
Isaiah, the prophet counseled the king,not to be disturbed by the blasphemious speech against the living God.God will move against him.we see God sending an angel and destroying 185000 Assyrian soldiers.Isaiah prophecied that the king would receive a message that he is needed at home.likewise king returned home. Again Isaiah prophecied that the king of Assyria would fall by the sword in his own land. And it was fulfilled, Lord demonstrated to the Assyrian king His superiority.
We should not be afraid of human threats.Prayer should be our first response in any crisis.Our problems are God's opportunities. God's single angel killed so many Assyrian soldiers.That is God's ability to defend His people against the might of the world.So we should never live in fear.
Lord Help us never to be afraid but come to You for help for we know You are sovereign and will see us through our problems.In Jesus mighty name, Amen.
Fearing God and serving only Him
"They feared the Lord but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought..” 2 Kings 17:33.
In 2 Kings 17, Israel, now Samaria, was taken away into captivity by Assyria. New people from other lands were resettled in Samaria (vs 24-41). They knew the land they occupied was the land of Jehovah. They feared Him because of the punishment (the lions) He sent, when in the beginning, they ignored Him. A priest, sent to them, settled down in Bethel and taught them how to worship the true God (vs 28). BUT, they continued serving their idols They had a form of godliness but it wasn't what God desired.
Isn't this a picture of the church? The Israelites rejected the Messiah and are therefore now in exile because of unbelief. We, from other lands, have entered the Church and have occupied it. Are we worshiping Our Heavenly Father in the way He wants?
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as much as in obeying the Lord?” (1 Sam 15:22). Also, John 4:23-24 says that the Father is seeking true followers who worship Him in spirit and truth. When we worship God, we do so because we believe that He is the Truth and everything He says is relevant in our daily life. Our worship thus spills over into our work as we serve Him.
Are we like the people of Samaria? Do we fear and worship God but serve other gods? When others look at us, do they see true followers of God? Do they see people worshiping God, but serving idols of money, property, gold, popularity, career…? Are we worshiping God in obedience to His word or simply following traditions? Are we worshiping God because of our fear of the lions/punishment or because we fear/respect, love and value Him?
No Halfway Measures
2 Kings 18:1-3 In sharp contrast with the reckless rule of Ahaz was the reformation wrought during the prosperous reign of his son.
Hezekiah came to the throne determined to do all in his power to save Judah from the fate that was overtaking the northern kingdom.
The messages of the prophets offered no encouragement to halfway measures. Only by most decided reformation could the threatened judgments be averted.
Man of Opportunity
2 Kings 18:3, 4 In the crisis, Hezekiah proved to be a man of opportunity. No sooner had he ascended the throne than he began to plan and to execute.
He first turned his attention to the restoration of the temple services, so long neglected; and in this work he earnestly solicited the co-operation of a band of priests and Levites who had remained true to their sacred calling.
The Exercise of Faith
2 Kings 19:20 Nothing more quickly inspires faith than the exercise of faith. The king of Judah had prepared for the coming storm; and now confident that the prophecy against the Assyrians would be fulfilled, he stayed his soul upon God.
Doing Evil in the Eyes of the Lord
Around 1400 BC Israelites entered the promised land.
Around 1000 BC King David conquered Jerusalem.
Around 920 BC Israel was divided into two Kingdoms.
Around 720 BC the 10 northern tribes were taken into captivity to Assyria.
In 200 years and 19 Kings after the time of Solomon (the last King over a united Israel) the northern Kingdom of Israel fell.
The King of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. 2 Kings.17:6.
All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the LORD their God. 2 Kings.17:7.
They worshiped other gods and followed the practices of the nations.2 Kings.17:8.
From watchtower to fortified city, they built themselves high places in all their towns and burned incense.17: 9,11.
They set up sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree. 17:10.
They did wicked things and provoked the LORD to anger. 17:11.
They worshiped idols and followed worthless idols. 17:12,15.
They bowed down to all the starry hosts and they worshiped Baal. 17:16.
They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. 2 Kings.17:17.
They practiced divination and sorcery and sold themselves to do evil.2 Kings.17:17.
So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. 2 Kings.17:18.
God brought Israel out of the land of Egypt.Yet they did not remember this. They conformed themselves to the godless nations around them.They rejected the repeated warnings from God.God sent various prophets to His people but they refused to change their evil ways.
He did evil in the eyes of the Lord How many times this is repeated?
What are the areas in which we compromised or following the practices and faiths of the people around us?
Is there some mistakes or sins which we are still continuing?
Are we doing right or evil in the eyes of the LORD?
2 Kings 11 tells us about, Athaliah, the evil queen mother of king Ahaziah who kills all his sons, after his death, except for Joash whom his sister hid, 2 Kings 11:1-3. At the appointed time when Joash turns 7, vs 21, the priest Jehoiada, anoints him and crowns him as king. When the queen mother gets to know about this and arrives on the scene, Jehoiada orders the concerned officers to take her out of the temple and have her executed, vs 14-16. Until king Joash is mentored by priest Jehoiada, 2 Kings 12:2, he does well and even orders for the temple to be repaired, 2 Kings 12. However, when King Hazael of Syria decided to attack Jerusalem, King Jehoash (Joash) of Judah collected all the sacred items that his ancestors had consecrated, as well as his own sacred items and all the gold that could be found in the treasuries of the LORD’s temple and the royal palace and sent it all to King Hazael of Syria, who then withdrew from Jerusalem, vs. 17,18! This shows that in such situations he had not learnt how to seek God for himself!
In the subsequent chapters, as we read the records of the various kings of Judah, (Amaziah, Uzziah/Azariah,Jotham and Ahaz) we see that they did not eliminate the high places where the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense, while the kings of Israel, (Jehu, Jehoahaz, Joash, Jeroboam II, Zachariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, Pekah, Hoshea) did not repudiate the sinful ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat who encouraged Israel to sin!
Finally, after much warning and patience, the LORD rejected Israel just as he had warned he would do through all his servants the prophets and Israel was deported from its land to Assyria, 2 Kings 17:23.
That was indeed a very sad day! Although some of the kings were not entirely bad, yet they blindly followed in the footsteps of their forefathers, without comparing what was being done with the law of God to find out where they had deviated from the same. Thus they also caused the people of Israel and Judah to continue into sin! This shows us the importance of knowing the law of God for ourselves, so that we can check out what any man or woman of God says by comparing it with the Law/Word of God, just like the Berean did in Acts 17:10-12. It was only then that they believed what Paul shared with them. It is only when our faith is founded on God's Word alone, and we choose to walk in obedience to the same, that we can weather any storm that comes our way. However, if we base our faith on what someone else hands down to us, then we are bound to copy their errors and carry the same forward into our lives, as well as, into the lives of those who blindly follow us!
We must ensure that what we are told by people concerning the Word of life, must become something that we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, before we bear witness of the same to others, 1 John 1:1-3. Our witness to others must lead them to the Living Word, who is Christ, Himself, just like the Samaritan woman spoken of in John 4 did. Those who heard her testimony told her that they believed not because of her saying, but because they went and heard Jesus for themselves, and knew that He is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
Had the kings of Israel and Judah done the same, they would have avoided the errors of their forefathers and led God's people into the fullness of the blessings of Abraham that God intended for them to enjoy!
Let him who has an ear, hear!