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2 Kings Chapter 16 (ESV)
1 In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, Ahaz the son of Jotham, king of Judah, began to reign. 2 Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God, as his father David had done, 3 but he walked in the way of the kings of Israel. He even burned his son as an offering, according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. 4 And he sacrificed and made offerings on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree.
5 Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, came up to wage war on Jerusalem, and they besieged Ahaz but could not conquer him. 6 At that time Rezin the king of Syria recovered Elath for Syria and drove the men of Judah from Elath, and the Edomites came to Elath, where they dwell to this day. 7 So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your son. Come up and rescue me from the hand of the king of Syria and from the hand of the king of Israel, who are attacking me.” 8 Ahaz also took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the Lord and in the treasures of the king's house and sent a present to the king of Assyria. 9 And the king of Assyria listened to him. The king of Assyria marched up against Damascus and took it, carrying its people captive to Kir, and he killed Rezin.
- Read the whole chapter to learn the declining state of both kingdoms.
- Ahaz did not follow David's example of godliness (v. 2). Rather he followed the kings of Israel and those of his pagan neighbors and went so far as offering at least one of his sons as a human sacrifice. Aram had captured the town of Elath from Judah (v. 6; cf. 14:22). When Aram and Israel threatened to invade Judah, Ahaz did not seek Jehovah God but Tiglath-Pileser for deliverance. Rather than putting himself under Jehovah’s direction he appealed to the king of Assyria as his "servant" and his "son" (v. 7).
- Ahaz failed to see his role as being under God and God's role over Israel. Instead of making sacrifices to Jehovah he sent silver and gold from God’s own temple to Tiglath-Pileser (v. 8) who replaced God as Ahaz’s source of security and well-being. When God’s people forsake God and pursue other powers that promise well-being, this is idolatry and will lead to judgment.
- Ponder this: Is God truly my source of security and well-being? If so, how do I demonstrate that, especially in distress or difficulties? If not, what changes do I need in order to truly trust God?
Read the following verses slowly, allow them to speak to my situations. Use these verses as a prayer of affirmation to God.
“They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me. He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!” (Ps 18:18-19, the Message)
“A Mighty Fortress is our God” - www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XUYZoguhEQ