Today: [2 Chronicles Twenty-Eight] The Story of King Ahaz. In this chapter we read the story of king Ahaz. Ahaz was an unrepentant idolater. As a result of his sins the southern kingdom of Judah was invaded by Syria in the north. Rather than repent Ahaz pillaged the temple and sealed the door so that no one could approach the altar of God. He rejected God and turned to the Assyrians for relief. Assyria is a type of the Anti-Christ in the scripture. The results ultimately of this action are disastrous as is always the case when we seek the help of man rather than the heart of God in our troubles.
[2Ch 28:1-27 KJV] 1 Ahaz [was] twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: but he did not [that which was] right in the sight of the LORD, like David his father: 2 For he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made also molten images for Baalim. 3 Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. 4 He sacrificed also and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree. 5 Wherefore the LORD his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they smote him, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought [them] to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter. 6 For Pekah the son of Remaliah slew in Judah an hundred and twenty thousand in one day, [which were] all valiant men; because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers. 7 And Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, slew Maaseiah the king’s son, and Azrikam the governor of the house, and Elkanah [that was] next to the king.
We are continuing in this chapter to study the line of Davidic kings. Jotham is dead and his son Ahaz reigns in his place. Ahaz is not a godly king for he did not follow in the example of king David. The character of David’s reign is the benchmark that all the kings of Judah are judged by. According to Acts 13:22 David was a man after God’s own heart and by his example every king after him was benefited and expected to follow. Would that all our leaders set such a benchmark for us to follow. Everyone is a leader to someone. Let us strive to be a leader whose example others would be benefited to emulate.
Verses 2-4 tell us that Ahaz followed after Baalim and also sacrificed his own children by fire. This was a particularly ghastly form of torture employing a fire so hot that the victims were instantly incinerated which made them appear to have been snatched to heaven by the god Chemosh. The name of Baal means “dominative father” which was a contrast to Jehovah who was presented himself as the sweet shepherd of Israel. In our own culture we tend to choose brash and outspoken leaders who make sweeping decisions. Those that are of a humble spirit and a premeditative nature do not last long in the political arena. In American history we can contrast Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson to demonstrate these different spirits of leadership. In our day ideology and political leaning are being usurped by boldness of personality and the ability to out-bluster one’s opponents. This is a Baal mentality.
Because of Ahaz’ idolatries God allowed him to be carried away to Syria. If in the bible Assyria is a type of the anti-Christ, Syria (an altogether different nation) is a type of the secular. Right now in the western world the secular is dominating the church world and running rough shod over it altogether. Ahaz was captive in Syria because of his idolatries. Perhaps we might look at the church world and make the same observation.
When Ahaz fell to Syria over a 100,000 men of Judah were killed. It is certain that not all these men were ungodly. Choices made either by individuals or kings have consequences. Many times godly people suffer the consequences of the decisions of ungodly leaders.
8 And the children of Israel carried away captive of their brethren two hundred thousand, women, sons, and daughters, and took also away much spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria. 9 But a prophet of the LORD was there, whose name [was] Oded: and he went out before the host that came to Samaria, and said unto them, Behold, because the LORD God of your fathers was wroth with Judah, he hath delivered them into your hand, and ye have slain them in a rage [that] reacheth up unto heaven. 10 And now ye purpose to keep under the children of Judah and Jerusalem for bondmen and bondwomen unto you: [but are there] not with you, even with you, sins against the LORD your God? 11 Now hear me therefore, and deliver the captives again, which ye have taken captive of your brethren: for the fierce wrath of the LORD [is] upon you. 12 Then certain of the heads of the children of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, and Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against them that came from the war, 13 And said unto them, Ye shall not bring in the captives hither: for whereas we have offended against the LORD [already], ye intend to add [more] to our sins and to our trespass: for our trespass is great, and [there is] fierce wrath against Israel. 14 So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the congregation. 15 And the men which were expressed by name rose up, and took the captives, and with the spoil clothed all that were naked among them, and arrayed them, and shod them, and gave them to eat and to drink, and anointed them, and carried all the feeble of them upon asses, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brethren: then they returned to Samaria.
Not only did Syria plunder Judah but the northern kingdom of Israel invaded as well. Over 200,000 captives were taken by the 10 northern tribes and forcibly removed from Jerusalem to Samaria in the north. When the army came with their captives a prophet in the north declared this was an ungodly act and that the captives must be released by their brethren. The army resisted this but the honorable men in the northern kingdom stood up against them and in a remarkable show of character demanded and forced the army to release the captives to return to Judah.
This was a rare show of godliness in the northern kingdom. We do not know the name of the prophet who spoke up against this captivity of brother against brother but he was heard and the captives were returned to Jericho and left to make their way home while the army made their way back to Samaria.
The leaders in the northern kingdom knew that a curse would come upon them if they kept their brothers captive. In our day we may not keep actual captives in our society but consider perhaps the manner in which we keep others captive by our opinions? We may find ourselves in a controversy or we may hear a rumor about a brother or sister in Christ. Opinions quickly formed on the slightest gossip then become hard attitudes that are not so soon abandoned. The result is bitterness and suffering upon people we choose to think harshly of. Bear in mind that this captivity in part was because of the idolatry that was rampant in the south. Just because your brother or sister has offended or sinned against God is not a license to abuse and misuse them. Many Christians who practice the Golden Rule toward those they approve of will go to any length to disparage and slander and harm those who don’t fit their expectation of being a righteous believer. Learn the lesson of 2 Chronicles 28 – just because someone sins in your eye does not mean you have permission to assault, abuse, malign or disparage them.
16 At that time did king Ahaz send unto the kings of Assyria to help him. 17 For again the Edomites had come and smitten Judah, and carried away captives. 18 The Philistines also had invaded the cities of the low country, and of the south of Judah, and had taken Bethshemesh, and Ajalon, and Gederoth, and Shocho with the villages thereof, and Timnah with the villages thereof, Gimzo also and the villages thereof: and they dwelt there. 19 For the LORD brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel; for he made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the LORD. 20 And Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria came unto him, and distressed him, but strengthened him not. 21 For Ahaz took away a portion [out] of the house of the LORD, and [out] of the house of the king, and of the princes, and gave [it] unto the king of Assyria: but he helped him not. 22 And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this [is that] king Ahaz. 23 For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, [therefore] will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel. 24 And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem. 25 And in every several city of Judah he made high places to burn incense unto other gods, and provoked to anger the LORD God of his fathers. 26 Now the rest of his acts and of all his ways, first and last, behold, they [are] written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 27 And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, [even] in Jerusalem: but they brought him not into the sepulchres of the kings of Israel: and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead.
Rather than repent of his idolatries under the Syrian invasion Ahaz makes a terrible mistake. Suffering under the assault of Syria he calls upon Assyria to come and help him. Assyria was a rising world power and this was the pretense they needed to come in without resistance and bring both Judah and Syria under tribute. Eventually Assyria would destroy utterly and without remedy the northern kingdom and completely decimate the southern kingdom and render it void, destroying both the temple and the city. Ahaz was caring for none of the consequences he simply wanted to have his way when all he had to do was repent of his idolatries and God would have spared the nation.
Instead Ahaz pillaged the temple and sealed the doors putting a total halt to the worship of God in the southern kingdom. Assyrian is identified in scripture not only with the secular but with the Anti-Christ himself. The lesson of Ahaz is the lesson of looking to the world for deliverance that only God can provide. In our day the church has become immersed in the political world and in the realm of judicial process trying to gain justice against various groups of people that Christians don’t agree with. The church in America has lobbied politically against liberal politicians and fails. She has taken to the courts to defend traditional marriage and been defeated time and again. However like Ahaz who refused to be instructed by his defeat to Syria the church continues to look to the next politician or the next court case to gain the upper hand against her perceived enemies. This seals the door of divine providence just as Ahaz sealed the door of the temple. As long as we look to the political or the judicial or any aspect of the arm of flesh God will fold his hands and wait for us to return to our knees and pray out way out of the problems facing us rather than trusting in the false security of man.
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