Read II Kings 16 -- 17
Fearing the growing power of Assyria, Pekah, King of Israel, made an alliance with Rezin, King of Syria (II Kings 15:37). Together, they attempted to force Ahaz, King of Judah, to join them. When Ahaz refused, Rezin . . . and Pekah . . . came up to Jerusalem to wage war against Ahaz, but could not overcome him (16:5). In retaliation, Ahaz made an alliance with Tiglath-pileser, King of Assyria, to attack Syria and Israel. This cost Ahaz all the silver and gold that was found in the House of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king's house (16:8). By this time, the king of the Assyrian Empire had conquered the small Kingdom of Syria and killed Rezin, its king (16:9). 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 (15:29; compare Isaiah 9:1). All that was left of the ten tribed Northern Kingdom of Israel was the capital city of Samaria and the surrounding hill country of Ephraim.
The captivity and deportation of the Northern Kingdom throughout Assyria took place because the Israelites served (worshiped) idols. . . . Yet the Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn from your evil ways, and keep My commandments and My statutes. . . . They would not hear, but. . . . left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images . . . and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. . . . Until the Lord removed Israel out of His sight (II Kings 17:12-23).
The miracle of the new birth is that worldly-minded persons become filled with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the daily sustaining and guiding power of the Christian's life which replaces the natural worldly-minded force of our life and they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (Galatians 5:24).
In his zeal to disregard God, His Word, and His prophets, Ahaz, King of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus. . . . And cut in pieces the vessels of the House of God, and shut up the doors of the House of the Lord (II Chronicles 28:23-24). He walked in the way of the kings of Israel . . . according to the abominations of the heathen (II Kings 16:3). Ahaz filled Jerusalem and Judah with shrines to Baal and symbols of the goddess Ashteroth. He also desecrated the Temple by removing the brazen altar and replacing it with a great altar copied after one he had seen in Damascus (16:10-15). Ahaz provides an important warning that to disregard the Word of God inevitably leads to destruction.
Some today seem to have no genuine heart's desire to please Jesus who died on the cross to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). They live as if God did not exist. We must remember, whoever or whatever gets our loyalty becomes our idol.
Jesus forewarned us: Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:22-23).
Christ Revealed: Through the brazen (bronze) altar made by Solomon (II Kings 16:14; II Chronicles 4:1). The brazen altar is a type of the cross on which Christ, our whole burnt offering, offered Himself to God (Heb. 9:14).
Word Studies: 16:11 against means before; 16:13 meat offering means meal or grain offering or unleavened bread, oil, and a portion of incense; 16:18 entry without, turned he from means removed the covered walk.
Government Official: Sen. Pete Domenici (NM) · BPM Staff: Rick Hash · Pray for Bible Pathway Faith Promise Supporters · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by two of the Lord's Bible Missionaries · Country: Greece (11 million) in southeastern Europe · Major languages: Greek and English · Government restrictions on witnessing to others about Christ · 97% Greek Orthodox (2% churchgoers); 1% Muslim; .4% Roman Catholic; .1% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Let your faith in the Word of God overrule all fears (Proverbs 3:6).
Optional Reading: Romans 10
Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 1:13