2 Kings 16:1-20 – Not a Stranger

Read 2 Kings 16:1-20

puzzle piece going into a heart

You may be thinking to yourself, “I’ve heard of Ahaz before. He was a bad dude!” Sometimes it’s easy to remember things about Bible characters and infuse them into other passages. Ahaz will also show up in Isaiah and 2 Chronicles, from a different vantage point. So, Ahaz should not be a “stranger.” And he was a very bad dude!

I was a bit appalled when I read that he sacrificed his son in the fire. You may recall this was a sin that God detests (see Deuteronomy 18:9-13 for more on that). I can’t even imagine doing such a thing. I heard a scary thing the other day about a bill waiting to be passed in the United States. In Maryland, this bill seeks to amend the state’s fetal murder-manslaughter statute. Apparently, infanticide is already allowed in the Netherlands if a child is born with birth defects. As if abortion wasn’t bad enough. While not a “sacrifice” per se, what could possess a parent to do such a thing? Evil is all around us still.

Certainly, there are plenty of people in our world today who are acting in ways that don’t please God. King Ahaz is just another example from the past. We see in our reading today how he controlled things from a military standpoint as well as from a religious one. I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about the whole new altar scene. Appalling!

If King Ahaz had been a devoted to the LORD with good intentions for making a suggestion for a new altar, that would be one thing. But he copied the pagan religious customs with the changes he made. I suppose Uriah, the priest, felt like his hands were tied and didn’t want to question the king’s authority, even though he knew it was wrong.

How often do we do that? We look the other way because it’s the “easy” or “safe” way. It’s sometimes hard to stay quiet for fear of ruffling some feathers for speaking truth. Hopefully this whole “cancel culture” will be a fad that quickly fades out. As I write this, I can only pray that’s the case. I hope you’re with me in taking a bold stand for your faith. If you see something that would be displeasing to God, stand against it.

We don’t need to even know what other evil Ahaz is given credit for doing. The things recorded here in Kings are enough to reveal a crisis is unfolding. After several generations of “good” kings for Judah, along comes Ahaz.

We may think Ahaz showed callous disregard to God’s commands, but are we also guilty? Have you ever tried to mold or shape God’s word to fit your situation? In other words, are you shaped by the world or by the word? Remember Paul’s words in Romans 12:2, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

Reflect on that. Be careful not to be a product of your environment. Be aware of the renovation project going on inside you as God is working to transform you into a better version of you than you could have ever imagined.

praying hands looking up

Let’s pray …
Lord, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by what is happening in the world around me. I cry out to you to make changes “I” think would help and yet you say, “no.” Help me be better at accepting your will and conforming to your direction for my life. I am so thankful for the transformations you are making in my life. I trust you because your ways are always perfect. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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