Read II Kings 16 -- 17
In Today's Reading:
Ahaz reigns in Judah, defiles the Temple; Hoshea reigns in Israel; fall of Samaria; captivity and deportations of Israel
Fearing the growing power of Assyria, Pekah, king of Israel, made an alliance with Rezin, king of Syria (Aram) and attempted to force Ahaz, king of Judah, to join them. When Ahaz refused, the king of Syria and the king of Israel declared war against Jerusalem, but were not able to conquer it. In retaliation, Ahaz made an alliance with Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, to attack Syria and Israel. This cost Ahaz a large payment of bribery money to his Assyrian ally of all the silver and the gold that was found in the Lord's Temple, as well as all the treasuries of his palace. The king of the Assyrian Empire conquered the small kingdom of Syria and killed Rezin, its king. Tiglath-pileser also defeated the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh on the eastern side of the Jordan. He then took control of the northern part of the Jordan Valley, making Galilee and Gilead into Assyrian provinces. All that was left of the once-powerful and prestigious ten-tribe northern kingdom of Israel was the fortified capital city of Samaria and the surrounding hill country of Ephraim.
The northern kingdom was defeated and dispersed throughout Assyria because the Israelites ignored the prophet's warning to both Israel and Judah urging them to repent of their sins and keep the commandments of the Lord. However, they continued to worship Baal and other idols.
We must recognize that whoever or whatever receives our loyalty becomes our idol, whether it is a person, purpose, or possession.
Jesus emphasized that the way leading to eternal life is not popular and only a few discover it.
Devotional commentary also refers to: I Chronicles 5:23-26; Isaiah 9:1; Matthew 7:14.
Through the Bronze Altar made by Solomon (see II Kings 16:14; II Chronicles 4:1). The Bronze Altar is a type of the cross on which Christ, our whole burnt offering, offered Himself to God (see Hebrews 9:14). Unlike the necessary daily sacrifices on the Bronze Altar for sin, Christ's death on the cross freed us once and for all from all sin (see 7:27).
16:11 against = before; 16:13 meat offering = meal or grain offering or unleavened bread, oil, and a portion of incense; 16:18 entry without, turned he from = he removed the covered walk.
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Optional Reading: Romans 10
Memory Verse for the Week: I Peter 1:23