2 Kings 16
-Ahaz became king of Judah after his father Jotham at the age of twenty and ruled for 16 long years as an evil and vile king of pagan practices and a capitulator to foreign authority. He did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD his God. He went the way of Israel, even to the point of making “his son pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had driven out from before the sons of Israel (2 Kings 16:1-3).” In other words, he was so depraved that he sacrificed his own son to the pagan gods, a practice of the Canaanites whom the people of God were to drive out of the holy land by the LORD’s command. He sacrificed and burned incense on the high places of pagan practice and on the hills and under every green tree (2 Kings 16:4). Therefore, the LORD sent agitators to the kingdom in the form of Rezin, king of Aram, and Pekah, king of Israel. They besieged Jerusalem, but could not overcome it. At that time, Rezin recovered the port city of Elath, down south by the Red Sea (2 Kings 16:6).
-At this point, Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria for deliverance from his enemies making his nation come under the servitude of Assyria with gifts of gold and silver from the house of the LORD and from the treasuries in the king’s house (2 Kings 16:7-8). The king of Assyria listened to them and went along with their cries for help and went up against Damascus, capturing it carrying the people away to exile in Kir. The king of Assyria, Tiglath-pileser put Rezin, king of Aram, to death at this time (2 Kings 16:9). Assyria basically became Judah’s mercenaries.
-Ahaz went to meet the king of Assyria in Damascus and feel in love with an alter he observed there. He had Urijah, the priest, construct one just like it in Jerusalem. Although he did not destroy the bronze alter, which God had specified in His commands to Moses for the building of the Temple, he did capitulate as a vassal state to the pagan practices of the Assyrians, who he looked to for help rather than God (2 Kings 16:10-18). It was traditional to take a conquerors gods as your own when you were coming under their authority in the Middle East. This was a slight against the One-True Living God and was therefore a huge mistake of the part of Ahaz. He became a weak king with a weak and compromising high priest. Judah’s religious system was at this point in shambles, turned over to pagan practices and customs of false gods. Judah’s chief aim at this time was to please those in power and copy the errant religious practices of the enemies of the LORD. How sad. L
-*Application* How often do we capitulate to the world’s system and ways of life? It is easy for us to look down on Ahaz for his mistakes and missteps, but are we guilty of doing the exact same thing? The king of Assyria can be anything that takes us away from the worship, dependence, reliance, and devotion of the One-True Living God who loves us and will care for us much better than any worldly system. Do you go to God or to man when you need real help? Think about it, and ask God to give you His Spirit of confidence and assurance in His provision and care. He is able! Don’t be foolish like Ahaz. Your kingdom (i.e.- your family, career, influence, ministry) will become weak and ineffective if you do.
Verse to Memorize: 2 Kings 16:2-3