Adding Insult to Exile


Oftentimes, God uses our circumstances to try to get our attention and show us that we are off course in our relationship with him. Going further afield only makes things worse. The first question to ask is, “Am I serving God and living for him wholeheartedly?”

1 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord. 2 He followed the ways of the kings of Israel and also made idols for worshiping the Baals. 3 He burned sacrifices in the Valley of Ben Hinnom and sacrificed his children in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. 4 He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree.

5 Therefore the Lord his God delivered him into the hands of the king of Aram. The Arameans defeated him and took many of his people as prisoners and brought them to Damascus.

20 Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came to him, but he gave him trouble instead of help. 21 Ahaz took some of the things from the temple of the Lord and from the royal palace and from the officials and presented them to the king of Assyria, but that did not help him.

22 In his time of trouble King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the Lord. 23 He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus, who had defeated him; for he thought, “Since the gods of the kings of Aram have helped them, I will sacrifice to them so they will help me.” But they were his downfall and the downfall of all Israel.

24 Ahaz gathered together the furnishings from the temple of God and cut them in pieces. He shut the doors of the Lord’s temple and set up altars at every street corner in Jerusalem. 25 In every town in Judah he built high places to burn sacrifices to other gods and aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of his ancestors.
2Chronicles 28:1-5, 20-25

Ahaz went his own way as King of Judah. He didn’t do what was right in God’s eyes and pursued idols instead of the Lord. Not only that, he sacrificed his own children in the fire in pagan worship. This was detestable to God. And so, God gave Judah into the hands of the king of Aram to get Ahaz’ attention.

Rather than coming back into line, however, Ahaz went further away.  Rather than realizing that their enslavement to Aram was Ahaz’ doing, he insulted God further. He thought he would solve his problem by giving a tribute to the Assyrian king, to no avail. And so Ahaz became even more unfaithful before God and offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus, who had defeated him.

He thought these gods were the power over him, and they led to his downfall. Like a madman, he cut the furnishing of the temple up into pieces and set up altars on every street corner…

When things go wrong for you, do you stop and reflect and go to the Lord? Or do you keep trying to build the house of cards higher, hoping that you will gain a better foundation through more height? That will never work. Oftentimes, God is trying to get our attention to show us that we are off course in our relationship with him.

Going further afield only makes things worse. The first question to ask is, “Am I serving God and living for him wholeheartedly?”

Ahaz was not, yet he would even consider the question. In his blindness, he ran further into trouble. Turn back to God, friends, because he has a better way…

Amen.

Marc Kinna

 

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