May 29

Read 2 Chronicles 28 -- 30

In Today's Reading:

Ahaz reigns in Judah; Syria and Israel defeat Judah; death of Ahaz; Hezekiah's reign in Judah; Temple worship restored; Passover reinstituted; appeal to return to the Lord.

Verses for Today:

Hezekiah. . . . said. . . . Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that His fierce wrath may turn away from us (2 Chronicles 29:1-10).

Ahaz had received the wonderful heritage of his godly father Jotham (2 Chronicles 27:6). But Ahaz was one of the most wicked kings in Judah's history, for he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and [also made] molten images for Baalim. Moreover he [burned] incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and [burned] his children in the fire (as an offering to Molech), after the abominations of the heathen whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. . . . Wherefore the Lord . . . delivered him into the hand of the King of Syria; and they smote him (28:2-3,5). Ahaz became fanatically involved in pagan religious practices. He adopted the idol worship of Baal that had dominated the Northern Kingdom, and he was responsible for reintroducing the worship of Molech, the savage god of the Ammonites to whom children were burned alive. Solomon had originally introduced the worship of Molech in the Southern Kingdom (1 Kings 11:7).

In open defiance of the Word of God (Leviticus 18:21; Deuteronomy 18:9-10), Ahaz set up an image of Molech just outside the walls of Jerusalem (2 Kings 16:3). It had a human figure with a bull's head and outstretched arms. The image of Molech was made hot by a fire kindled within it. Living children were then laid in its arms and rolled down into the fiery lap below to burn alive while their screams were drowned out by the noise of flutes and drums. Ahaz robbed the Temple of its gold, drained the national treasury, confiscated the resources of the leading citizens and gave it all to the Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser (2 Chronicles 28:21; 2 Kings 16:8). This was an attempt to influence Assyria to protect Judah against the Northern Kingdom and Syria, which had formed an alliance against him. But his bribe brought his own Kingdom of Judah into submission to Assyria.

While in Damascus to meet with the Assyrian King, Ahaz became fascinated with the altar to the pagan god of the defeated Syrians. He had a similar altar placed in the Temple courtyard in Jerusalem, replacing the [Brazen] Altar, which was before the Lord, from the forefront of the House (16:14). Because of the great wickedness of King Ahaz, the Kingdom of Judah continued to suffer serious losses of territory (2 Chronicles 28:19). The Edomites gained their independence from Judah on the southeast. The Philistines raided many of the cities in the southwest and occupied them; and thousands of people were taken as slaves (28:5,8,17-18).

However, the many defeats of Ahaz never caused him to confess his sins and seek the Lord. Instead, he fiercely rejected the Lord and sacrificed [to] the gods of Damascus (28:23). He even cut in pieces the vessels of the House of God, and shut up the doors of the House of the Lord. . . . and provoked to anger the Lord God (28:24-25). In this tragic account of the kings of Judah, the Lord warns of the awful fate of those who turn from Him. Just as Ahaz attempted to suppress the worship of the One True God, the world, with all of its deceptive philosophies and attractions, now attempts to suppress all loyalty to the One True God. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering (Hebrews 10:23).

Christ Portrayed:

By King Hezekiah who offered an intercessory prayer for every one that prepares his heart to seek God (2 Chronicles 30:18-19). Jesus Christ our King intercedes in prayer for all who continue to seek Him (John 17:9; Romans 8:34). Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1).

Word Studies:

28:3 Hinnom was later called Gehenna, which Jesus used to illustrate the place of eternal punishment; 28:10 keep under = force; 28:15 shod them = gave them sandals; 28:25 several = single; 30:6 posts = runners, couriers; 30:22 comfortably = encouragingly; 30:23 took counsel = agreed.

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Rep. Jerry Moran (KS) · Pray for one another · Country: Ghana (19 million) in western Africa · Major languages: English and African languages · The government permits freedom to churches and missionaries that do not get involved in politics · 31% belief in spirits and witches; 22% Protestant; 17% Muslim; 11% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Seek the Lord's forgiveness with a repentant heart, knowing that God will graciously receive you (Hosea 14:1-2).

Optional Reading: 1 Corinthians 16

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 119:9