King Ahaz—a Wicked King in Judah
JUNE 20 - Nº 171 2 Kings 16; 2 Chronicles 28; Isaiah 7:1-17
Ahaz was 20 years old when he became the ruler of the southern kingdom of Judah. But unlike his father Jotham, he did not obey God. Instead, he brought the detestable practices of Baal worship to Jerusalem. One of them was child sacrifice. King Ahaz even sacrificed his own children on the altars of Baal hoping to please the gruesome god! During this time, the king of Syria joined forces with Pekah, the king of Israel and attacked Judah. Because of the wicked things Ahaz was doing, God allowed Pekah to slaughter 120,000 of Judah’s soldiers in one day and take 200,000 women and children captive (see #170 - June 19). Obed, a prophet of God, met Pekah’s soldiers as they returned to Israel. He challenged them by saying, “God is the One who gave you this victory because He was angry with Judah for worshiping Baal. But now He is angry with you because you went too far. You slaughtered men you did not need to kill and took their women and children as slaves! God will do the same to you if you do not let them go home.” The soldiers wisely returned the prisoners to Judah. God then sent a prophet named Isaiah to Judah to warn King Ahaz not to bribe the king of Assyria to help him get even with Israel and Syria. If he would turn to God, God would destroy his enemies for him. Isaiah promised that God would give Ahaz a sign if he asked for one. But Ahaz refused. He wanted military help from Assyria—not a sign from God! Isaiah continued the prophecy: “In less time than it will take for a baby to grow up and know right from wrong, the two kings you fear will be destroyed.” Included in this prophecy was one of the most important promises in the Bible: “One day a virgin will conceive and give birth to a savior who will ultimately rescue the nation and the world” (Isaiah 7:14). Ahaz rejected Isaiah’s message. He sent gold and silver from the Temple treasuries to Tiglath-Pileser, the king of Assyria, with this message: “I will be your servant if you will rescue me from Syria.” Tiglath-Pileser accepted the gift. He sent his army to attack Syria. Syria was destroyed, and its people were taken into exile as slaves. It was then that Tiglath-Pileser invaded Israel and reduced the northern kingdom to a tiny strip of land (see #170 - June 19). King Ahaz of Judah went to Assyria to thank the king. While he was there, he saw an ornate pagan altar. He wanted one just like it for himself, so he copied the plans and sent them back to Jerusalem. A priest named Uriah began to build it right away, and the altar was finished by the time King Ahaz returned. Ahaz then took things that belonged in the Temple, broke them apart and used them to make more altars. Defiantly he locked the doors of God’s Temple forcing everyone to worship at the altars he had built. Many nations continued to attack Judah. The Philistines and the Edomites looted and carried off prisoners. Once again, Ahaz turned to Assyria for help, but this time Tiglath-Pileser refused. Still King Ahaz would not turn to God. Instead, he worshiped more false gods and aligned himself with other nations—hoping they would rescue him.
Ahaz was so busy trying to find his own solutions for his problems that he didn’t take time to listen to God. He didn’t realize that God is greater than any other power on earth and that He alone controls history! Do you take the time to talk to God and listen to Him? He promises to take care of you if you will trust Him.