Ahaz Reigns in Judah
28 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, as his father David had done, but he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel. He even made metal images for the Baals, and he made offerings in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom and burned his sons as an offering, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. And he sacrificed and made offerings on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree.
Therefore the LORD his God gave him into the hand of the king of Syria, who defeated him and took captive a great number of his people and brought them to Damascus. He was also given into the hand of the king of Israel, who struck him with great force. For Pekah the son of Remaliah killed 120,000 from Judah in one day, all of them men of valor, because they had forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers. And Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, killed Maaseiah the king’s son and Azrikam the commander of the palace and Elkanah the next in authority to the king.
The men of Israel took captive 200,000 of their relatives, women, sons, and daughters. They also took much spoil from them and brought the spoil to Samaria. But a prophet of the LORD was there, whose name was Oded, and he went out to meet the army that came to Samaria and said to them, “Behold, because the LORD, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, he gave them into your hand, but you have killed them in a rage that has reached up to heaven. And now you intend to subjugate the people of Judah and Jerusalem, male and female, as your slaves. Have you not sins of your own against the LORD your God? Now hear me, and send back the captives from your relatives whom you have taken, for the fierce wrath of the LORD is upon you.”
Certain chiefs also of the men of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against those who were coming from the war and said to them, “You shall not bring the captives in here, for you propose to bring upon us guilt against the LORD in addition to our present sins and guilt. For our guilt is already great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel.” So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the assembly. And the men who have been mentioned by name rose and took the captives, and with the spoil they clothed all who were naked among them. They clothed them, gave them sandals, provided them with food and drink, and anointed them, and carrying all the feeble among them on donkeys, they brought them to their kinsfolk at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned to Samaria.
At that time King Ahaz sent to the king of Assyria for help. For the Edomites had again invaded and defeated Judah and carried away captives. And the Philistines had made raids on the cities in the Shephelah and the Negeb of Judah, and had taken Beth-shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, Soco with its villages, Timnah with its villages, and Gimzo with its villages. And they settled there. For the LORD humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had made Judah act sinfully and had been very unfaithful to the LORD. So Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came against him and afflicted him instead of strengthening him. For Ahaz took a portion from the house of the LORD and the house of the king and of the princes, and gave tribute to the king of Assyria, but it did not help him.
In the time of his distress he became yet more faithless to the LORD—this same King Ahaz. For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus that had defeated him and said, “Because the gods of the kings of Syria helped them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me.” But they were the ruin of him and of all Israel. And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and he shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made himself altars in every corner of Jerusalem. In every city of Judah he made high places to make offerings to other gods, provoking to anger the LORD, the God of his fathers. Now the rest of his acts and all his ways, from first to last, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, in Jerusalem, for they did not bring him into the tombs of the kings of Israel. And Hezekiah his son reigned in his place.
2 Chronicles 28 Commentary
by Hank Workman
How far can a person fall?
This is the question. I’ve, at times, pondered this myself. It begins with a small step that, if left unchecked or without remorse and repentance, will lead to the next foolish or detrimental choice. We’ve seen this lived out in others’ lives. It’s possibly been lived out in our own. Where the baffling question lands for me: Is there a point a person has a moment of clarity and sees where they are and questions how they got there? Meaning, does there come a point our hearts become so hardened to the Spirit of God we don’t even think about how far we’ve fallen?
I think so. It is found again and again in Scripture where people deliberately made choices with spiritual consequences. In time, they did not hear the Spirit of God speaking to them. As one who believes in beautiful grace, I hold to the fact the Spirit never stops wooing but because of the hardness of our hearts, we simply don’t hear Him any longer.
King Ahaz was one who surely fell to a place that was beyond anything imaginable. Not only in time did he shut the temple down and set up false shrines and idol worship on every street corner, he did something far worse. He sacrificed his own sons in the fires of worship to Molech. This detestable god is something that makes horror movies look tame.
This pagan god or demon to be more specific demanded sacrifice of the young. A metal statue resembling whatever this perceived god looked like would be put in the fire until it gleamed with a red hotness. Then, with something I simply cannot wrap my mind around, a living infant was placed on top of the red-hot hands of the idol where he would burn to death as drums and chants of the people surpassed the screams of the child as they shouted praise to this god.
In inexplicable terms, even Solomon as wise of a man he was set up the worship of Molech and built temples to him. Ahaz and Solomon would not be the only kings to practice this. Manasseh followed suit too.
I know this is graphic. It’s beyond terrible. But so is sin. We like to candy-coat it way too often. But sin begins with one step. Others follow if left unchecked.
How far can a person fall from God? Beyond anything we can imagine or dream. There must be for each of us a burning desire to follow Jesus with all our heart. We must be obedient to the things He asks of us. Otherwise, we will begin to compromise in thought which will lead to action. We have no idea of how far we can fall, but we will if we’re not careful.
2 Chronicles 28 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Wow. What a chapter. Where do we begin?
There are times in Scripture where we read that the Lord handed over the people to their own consequences. This is one of those times. To us, it may seem cruel. However, the Bible clearly describes the blackened, evil ways that the Lord’s people had committed themselves to. It was atrocious. Not only do we read of infants being sacrificed and burnt alive, but the two nations themselves were ready to kill each other. It was chaos.
How does it make you feel to read this? Heartbroken? Enraged? Or, do you avoid the feelings completely because they are too overwhelming? I admit I have been there. News headlines announce the same kind of atrocities every single day in our modern world. So, when we read this in Scripture, we shouldn’t really be shocked. Although it looks different, evil is as prevalent as ever today.
But, there is something even more shocking than the acts of these people. What???
It’s grace. Outrageous, unconditional, intensive grace. The acts of these people deserved to be punished, right? Who would disagree with that? Today, these same acts enrage us beyond comprehension. Our hearts seek justice. This is a good thing! The morality which has been placed in our hearts from the beginning guides us to these conclusions.
Sometimes it seems like punishment and vengeance would be a better solution than grace. It feels as if judgment would speak loud and clear and turn people back to God. The reality we see in the Old Testament is that the natural consequences and judgment from the law of God only stood to condemn man’s heart. They (we) would not change. The law makes us aware of the prison cage that has confined us as enemies of God.
But the Scripture has imprisoned everything under sin’s power, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 Before this faith came, we were confined under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith was revealed. 24 The law, then, was our guardian until Christ, so that we could be justified by faith. 25 But since that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.Galatians 3:22-26 HCSB
This is why we share and live the Good News of The Gospel. This is why we pray. This is why we meet and fellowship together as the body of Christ. We are FREE! If we truly believe in the power of grace by faith to change the lives of people, we will not shy away from evil. We will approach it with the light of Christ. For light, by its very nature, consumes darkness. Jesus is that light.
That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.John 1:5 HCSB
Lord help us to not fear or judge the darkness, but to use our faith in Jesus as a light to overcome it!