In Today's Scripture Reading:
Ahaz reigns in Judah; Syria (Aram) and Israel defeat Judah; death of Ahaz; Hezekiah's reign; worship restored in the Temple
Ahaz had the wonderful heritage of a godly father Jotham (II Chronicles 27:6). But Ahaz was one of the most wicked kings in Judah's history, for he . . . made . . . molten images (cast idols) for Baalim. Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. . . . Wherefore the Lord his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they smote (defeated) him, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter (28:2-3,5).
Because of the great wickedness of King Ahaz, the kingdom of Judah continued to suffer serious losses of territory. The Edomites gained their independence from Judah on the southeast. The Philistines raided the cities in the southwest and occupied them (28:17-18). Thousands of his people were taken as slaves into other countries (28:5-17).
Regrettably, the many defeats of Ahaz never caused him to humble himself and repent. He fiercely rejected the Lord and sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus (28:23). And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the House of God, and cut in pieces the vessels . . . and shut up the doors of the House of the Lord, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem. And in every . . . city of Judah he made high places to burn incense unto other gods, and provoked to anger the Lord God of his fathers (28:24-25).
In this tragic account of Ahaz, king of Judah, the Lord is warning us of the awful fate of those who turn from Him. Just as Ahaz attempted to suppress the worship of the One True God, the unsaved world, with all of its deceptive attractions, attempts to suppress our loyalty and obedience to the Lord. To overcome these hindrances and remain faithful we need to pray each day: Give me understanding, and I shall keep Thy Law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me to go in the path of Thy Commandments; for therein do I delight. Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken (renew) Thou me in Thy way (Psalm 119:34-37).
By King Hezekiah who offered an intercessory prayer for every one That prepareth his heart to seek God (II Chronicles 30:18-19). Jesus Christ our King, now seated at the right hand of God, intercedes in prayer for all who continue to seek Him (Romans 8:34). Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1).
28:3 Hinnom transliterated into Greek as Gehenna, was used by Jesus to illustrate the place of eternal punishment (translated as hell in the New Testament); 28:10 keep under =b> subdue; 28:15 shod them =b> gave them sandals; 28:25 several =b> single; 30:6 posts =b> runners, couriers; 30:22 comfortably =b> encouragingly; 30:23 took counsel =b> agreed.
Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Reverend William A. Major Staff: Benjamin Wallace Government Officials: Rep. Jeb Hensarling (TX) and Rep. Jerry Moran (KS) Country: Sweden (8.09 million) in northern Europe Major language: Swedish Religious freedom 90% Evangelical Lutheran; 1.5% Roman Catholic; 1% Pentecostal; 4% Muslim; 3.5% Other (Orthodox, Protestant, Muslim, Jewish, Mormon, Buddhist) Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to give you strength for today's need (Ephesians 3:14-16).
Optional Reading: I Corinthians 16
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 18:30