Highlights:

Ahaz reigns in Judah, defiles the Temple; Hoshea reigns in Israel; fall of Samaria; captivity and deportations of Israel

And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king's house, and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria (II Kings 16:8).

After Solomon's reign as king of Israel, the kingdom ended up dividing into two nations. Judah and Benjamin stood as a nation. The rest of the tribes were still known as Israel. All of the kings of Israel that came after the division were evil. Many of the kings of Judah were also evil. From the division of the kingdom to their overthrow by Babylon, the nations of Israel and Judah experienced many years of serving false gods and worshipping idols.

There were several kings of Judah that would break these patterns. These included Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah and Josiah amongst others. During their reigns, Judah would experience periods of revival and tear down the idols and groves,only to have them rebuilt and replanted by another king who did not serve God. Ahaz was one of these kings who did not serve God. Ahaz was an evil man. He practiced many rituals of the heathen nations. He even had his son walk through fire. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch (Deut. 18:10).

Ahaz was threatened by invasion from Israel and Syria. They had surrounded Jerusalem. Ahaz was afraid for himself and perhaps his people. He took the treasures from the house of God to use as a bribe to buy the help of the king of Assyria. In exchange for this bribe, Assyria attacked Syria and killed their king, Rezin.

Ahaz showed great selfishness in stealing from God to save his own life. He could have repented of his sinful acts and turned to God for help. Many in his position had done just that. God would have surely answered his prayer and delivered Judah. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16).

Though we likewise at times have sinned against God, we simply need to repent of those sins. We can turn away from the evil we do and turn to a life of good works for God. He will hear our prayers and forgive us of our sins.

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the LORD (Acts 3:19).

Thought for Today:

A half-hearted commitment to Christ brings instability to every other area of our lives.

Christ Revealed:

Through the original Brasen (brass) Altar made by Solomon (II Kin. 16:14; II Chr. 4:1). The Brasen Altar is a type of the cross on which Christ, our whole Burnt Offering, offered Himself to God (Heb. 9:14). Unlike the necessary daily sacrifices offered by the priests on the Brasen Altar, this He did once (once for all), on the cross, when He offered up Himself (7:27).

Word Studies:

16:11 against King Ahaz, before King Ahaz arrived; 16:13 meat offering, meal or grain offering or unleavened bread, oil, and a portion of incense (see Lev. 2:1); 16:18 entry without, turned he from, he removed the covered walkway for the King of Assyria.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Staff: Rita Guerra • Government Officials: Rep. Ted Deutch (FL), Rep. Candice S. Miller (MI) and Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO) • Country: Comoros (563,000) in the Mozambique Channel of the Indian Ocean • Major languages: Shaafi Islam (Swahili dialect) and Malagasy • Limited religious freedom • 99.7% Muslim; .2% Roman Catholic/Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to fill you with love for the unlovely (I John 4:7-8).

Optional Reading: Romans 10

Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 5:21