“But they were his downfall and the downfall of all Israel.” 2 Ch. 28:23
King Ahaz’s downfall was no longer personal at this time, for he was dragging the entire nation with him. The decisions he had made both politically and religiously would resonate far and wide throughout the nation and everyone in the land of Judah would be impacted.
We would probably do things rather differently if we took the time to consider how our decisions great or small would affect our friends and neighbors, particularly our loved ones.
Surely no man is an island and not a single action that we have ever taken remains isolated; it will surely create one reaction or another, either positive or negative, some anticipated, and other completely unexpected.
There was quite a bit of old paint left in the shed and I was about to dump all of the cans into the dumpster, yet my wife had another idea. She’s never the one to take an easy way out concerning environmental issues. The things which I have often considered “out of sight, out of mind” she seems to have always deemed otherwise. I may be able to get rid of my problem by discarding the paint in the dumpster, but it can easily become a big problem for my children and grandchildren. Whatever I do with my garbage now does have impact on people in the distant future. If this is really so, shouldn’t I be more cautious where I place my trash?
I crumbled a small piece of paper in the Home Depot parking lot and was about to throw it away then a thought surfaced: “The paper will not vanish mysteriously. Someone will have to pick it up.” A sense of shame came upon me and I put the crumbed paper into my pocket. Indeed, taking care of one’s own garbage is never a small thing, isn’t it?
How could Ahaz lose sight of who he was and underestimate the impact he would create by all the decisions he made: whether to wage a war or not, or which god to worship. Had his decisions been merely personal and his downfall remained so, being reckless in his actions might have been less damaging to all, but unfortunately it wasn’t so at all. The king suffered for all his ill-advised actions, and the entire nation suffered along with him.
All our actions, either good or bad, all have a rippling effect, and the impact they create will never be fully known until the day we stand before the throne, being judged by the Omniscient. This is indeed a frightening thought, for I seem to have been rather careless with all my deeds and thoughts, thinking and hoping they would forever remain personal, which isn’t really so at all.
Friday, June 16, 2017 8:26:00 AM
“Since the gods of the kings of Aram have helped them, I will sacrifice to them so they will help me.” 2 Ch. 28:23
About ten miles from our college by the coastal highway there stood a small temple dedicated to the worship of a dog, which was called “the shrine of a faithful dog.” I have never done any research behind the erection of the shrine and how the dog earned such great esteem from people. I suppose the dog might have done something in its life worthy of great respect and people went to the great extent of building a shrine in its honor. It mattered very little what the dog had done to deserve such honor, really; the fact remained that people considered it so highly that the dog was deified.
As time went by, for reasons unknown to me, the shrine became a popular place of worship, particularly for women of ill-repute, prostitutes and such. How did this come about? It is all too irrational to be comprehended by sound minds. How in the world could a dead dog, deified nonetheless, bless human beings who are alive and walk about? Idolatry indeed is rather an unreasonable thing, and idolaters seem to have lost their capability of thinking as far as their religions are concerned.
What the king of Judah did thousands of years ago didn’t seem to be all that different from what Chinese people are doing today on the island of Taiwan. Ahaz evidently made at least two mistakes in his reasoning concerning his worship: First, he believed the Aramean’s’ triumph in the battleground was caused by the help of their gods and, secondly, he appeared to believe that the Aramean gods could be bribed by his sacrifices to do what he intended them to do. It doesn’t take a lot of thinking to realize both ideas are erroneous, merely wishful thinking for the most part. Undoubtedly, it becomes clear by examining Ahaz’ s mindset that one can easily come to the conclusion that idols are created in the image of men to be enslaved and exploited by men.
“Since the gods of the kings of Aram have helped them, I will sacrifice to them so they will help me.” This is the logic of most idol worshippers from east or west, ancient and modern, with very few exceptions. Idols are indeed vanities, entities that don’t exist and the practices of idolatry are actually hijacked by Satan, who is rather pleased to receive people’s adoration and praise.
Wednesday, June 7, 2017 8:07:00 AM
“In his time of trouble King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the Lord.” 2 Ch. 28:22
When his country was in trouble, king Ahaz of Judah seemed to turn every which way for help except to the Lord. He searched up and down both at home and abroad, human and divine, for resolution for his dire predicament, yet things appeared to get even worse. What went wrong?
There was an important spiritual lesson to be learned for the king under such circumstances, and the best thing to do at the time was to remain still and wait on the Lord. What the king did during this time of personal and national crisis probably was no different from what we would have done if we found ourselves in such a difficult situation. Ahaz first sought help from humans, and when all else failed, he turned to the divine.
Yet for some unknown reason, he was rather reluctant to turn to the Lord for help in time of need. As a matter of fact, “King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the Lord.” I think it was likely that he no longer believed the Lord could do anything for him since the Almighty seemingly had failed to respond to his prayer so many times. Do we cease to pray to the Lord for help after we have experienced some rejections from him? Worse, we might even have concluded that he either doesn’t care or doesn’t even exist since there was nothing but silence coming from the other end.
Ever so gradually, we may become indifferent as far as seeking the Lord is concerned, and entirely uninterested in the mysterious ways he conducts his business in the universe. We have, consciously or unconsciously, decided to turn to other sources for help. That was exactly what transpired with king Ahaz in the end after he had done his trial-and-error experiment with the Lord. It just didn’t work, he concluded.
How is our faith in the Lord supposed to work?
Does our faith in God need to be productive to be effective? Do we give it up totally if it does not produce the desired effects? This is the question we must ask, for it’s a given that we will find our faith “ineffective” one way or another in our journey of following the Lord.
The effectiveness of our faith should never be measured by its tangible productivity; it must be weighed on the balance of truth, for whatever is truthful will always be fruitful. Faith remains and will always be a way of seeing, not a means to bring forth an end.
Monday, June 5, 2017 7:18:00 AM
“Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came to him, but he gave him trouble instead of help.” 2 Ch. 28:20
Ahaz might have had high expectation for the king of Assyria, since Tiglath-Pileser was supposed to come to help him while Judah was under the ruthless assaults of the Edomites and Philistines. Ahaz emptied out the royal treasury and articles from the holy temple and offered them to the foreign king as tribute, yet the end result was far from what he had expected. The Assyrians offered him no help at all, and Ahaz’s calculation during the time of national crisis was all for naught. It didn’t work and he had to start from square one.
International politics was the same as it had always been and remains the same up to this century. It has always been power-based and national strength speaks louder than all other factors. Loyalty and faithfulness don’t really exist in the wheeling and dealing among nations. King Ahaz was way too naïve to believe the Assyrians would come to his aid.
The king of Judah probably had no place to turn for assistance at this point and it was a rather desperate move when he turned in the direction of the Assyrians. Tiglath-Pileser could have turned into the archenemy of Judah the next day if the situation changed, yet Ahaz considered it a sound policy to unite Judah with a foreign country.
Ultimately, all help we can possibly enlist in time of trouble will fail and what then can we do?
How can we blame Ahaz for what he did during a time of utter desperation? Doing nothing wasn’t really an option and waiting on the Lord in time of danger was more of a copout than anything else. His mind had never been seasoned to trust the Lord in time of peace, and it became an impossible task in moments of danger. He merely did what he was informed by impulse, which turned out to be a big mistake.
“Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came to him, but he gave him trouble instead of help.”
No matter how ingenuous and resourceful we may be, we will eventually get to a point in life when there is nothing left to do except trust the Lord. Yet such trust will not always be at our disposal unless we have nurtured it our entire life. It’s just not as simple as we have often been led to believe. Trusting the Lord must be built from the ground up and it takes years of cultivation and seasoning before it’s ready to be harvested.
Thursday, June 1, 2017 8:05:00 AM