Saturday, May 14, 2016

Prophets And Kings, Day 97. Ahaz King Of Judah, Part 1

Prophets And Kings
Day 97
Ahaz King Of Judah
Part 1

King Jotham, a good king, died yesterday and now hims son Ahaz, a very wicked king, inherits the throne of Judah.

2 KINGS 16:1-4
Jotham was a godly man but for some reason his son turns out to be one of the most evil kings of Judah. We have to assume Jotham set a good example for his son and for any other children he had, but somehow Ahaz possesses a wayward heart. The idolatry in the land seems to have influenced him, especially the idolatry in neighboring Israel and in the neighboring Canaanite tribes. I would bet that most of us know some godly parents who have a wayward grown child, one who loves to immerse himself/herself in the ways of the world, in spite of their godly upbringing. The world is constantly in the face of our young people, tempting them, mocking the word of God, telling them the Bible is outdated and no longer relevant. Satan is relentless in his pursuit of every new generation that comes along and that is why we must pray more and more as time goes on. I believe we are living in the end times and Satan knows his time is very short. He's trying to do all he can in the time he has left and it seems as if more than ever he's attacking our families and our young people. But the Bible assures us that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective. (James 5:16)

"In the seventeenth year of Pekah king son of Remaliah, Ahaz son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign. 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 his God." (2 Kings 16:1-2) The author mentions King David, Ahaz's ancestor, as his father because David is the most shining example of what a godly king of the royal line should be, although Ahaz's father Jotham is also a wonderful example. Neither Jotham's example nor the Scriptures written by David and about David have had any effect on the character of Ahaz.

There's really no way to prepare for this next statement, "He followed the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree." (2 Kings 16:3-4) The kings of Israel have been, up to this point, more wicked than the kings of Judah. Judah at least has the temple and the priesthood to constantly remind them who their God is and what He requires. Most of the kings of Israel have bowed down to the golden calves set up in place of God. Some of the kings of Israel have bowed down to foreign Gods such as Baal. Ahaz has a heart that longs to serve these other gods, indeed any god but the God of his forefathers. Ahaz falls deeper into apostasy than any before him when he takes up the worship of the god Molech, sacrificing his own son to this false god and burning the child's body in the fire inside a golden statue of this demonic idol. Lest we ever feel sorry for the Canaanites whom the Lord drove out of the promised land, this is the type of religious practice that was common to them. This is why the Lord commanded the children of Israel to wipe the tribes of Canaan from the face of the earth. But they did not obey the Lord; they simply killed and exiled enough of them to make space for themselves to occupy the land. And this is the result of their disobedience. The Canaanite tribes remain to influence God's chosen people into the most unspeakable sin.

It's not enough for Ahaz to reject the Lord and to commit a crime we can't even bear to think about. He becomes an equal opportunity worshiper, sacrificing at every altar in the land, bringing offerings to every false god in the land. He seeks the favor of every god but the one true God. A similar spirit is at work in our world today, a spirit that claims there are many ways to God, that when Jesus Christ said He was the way, the only way, it wasn't true. That lie comes straight from the father of lies, Satan himself, in order to keep souls from coming to Christ. The devil hates God so much that his hatred spills over on those God loves. The only way to hurt an all-powerful God is through those He loves and so Satan desires to keep as many souls from entering the kingdom of God as possible. The idols the devil presents to mankind have changed in appearance over the ages but at heart they are the same old things, the same old lies. He still attempts to give us anything but Jesus, anything but the One who died to save us. 

The Lord Jesus Christ spoke the truth when He said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) If we cannot accept this statement then we must reject everything Jesus ever said. If this one thing is not true then He can't be God. He can't be a prophet and He can't even be a good man. If this one thing is not true then He would be a liar and God cannot lie. (Hebrews 6:18) If this one thing is not true then we have no hope and are still lost in our sins. But this is why Jesus died a public death, witnessed by many, and this is why He rose from the dead, being witnessed by many after His resurrection. This is the proof that everything He said about Himself is true. We can trust the words of a Man who rose from the dead. We can believe everything He ever said. The One who died for us and rose to prove He has the power to save us is the only way to heaven. "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) 

The video below begins with a narrative that demonstrates that Jesus Christ is in every book of the Bible, from beginning to end, and that His name is the only name. It concludes with a lovely worship song.

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