God’s assessment of the reign of King Ahaz

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From “Growing in the character of a disciple”: Chapter 5 – God’s assessment of the faithfulness of the kings of Judah and Israel

Next we see a King who received a wholly bad report from God. We are told that King Ahaz “did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD”. Note the things that God highlights which led to his downfall:

1Ahaz 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, like his father David, 2but walked in the ways of the kings of Israel. He even made molten images for the Ba’als; 3and he burned incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burned his sons as an offering, according to the abominable practices of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. 4And he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree. 5Therefore 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 defeated him with great slaughter.

2 Chronicles 28:1-5 (RSV)

The sins of King Ahaz, which caused God to condemn his time as King, were that:

a) he did not do what was right in God’s eyes (By that God means what he did morally and spiritually, not economically or militarily).

b) he walked in the ways of the Kings of Israel, i.e. in idolatry and unfaithfulness to God

c) he made molten images of the Baals and burned incense as part of idolatrous worship

d) he even burned his own sons as human sacrifices to the pagan gods.

The terrible sins of King Ahaz brought down the Southern Kingdom of Judah. God also brought judgment on Ahaz personally. But, as He did so, Ahaz turned towards the pagan gods even more thoroughly than before, seeking their help rather than God’s. Instead of repenting when God brought him under judgment, he continued, and even intensified, his sin. Thus he brought even worse judgment upon himself and also on his people:

19For the LORD brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had dealt wantonly in Judah and had been faithless to the LORD. 20So Til’gath-pilne’ser king of Assyria came against him, and afflicted him instead of strengthening him. 21For Ahaz took 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. 22In the time of his distress he became yet more faithless to the LORD–this same King Ahaz. 23For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus which 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. 24And 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. 25In every city of Judah he made high places to burn incense to other gods, provoking to anger the LORD, the God of his fathers.

2 Chronicles 28:19-25 (RSV)
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