May 7

 

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) (see II Kings 15:37). Together, they attempted to force Ahaz, king of Judah, to join them. When Ahaz refused, Syria's King Rezin and Israel's King Pekah came up to wage war against Jerusalem They besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him (16:5). In retaliation, Ahaz made an alliance with Tiglath-pileser, the 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 . . . (which he) sent . . . for a present (required payment) to the king of Assyria (16:8).

 

The king of the Assyrian Empire conquered the smaller kingdom of Syria and killed Rezin, its king (see 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 (see 15:29; compare Isaiah 9:1). All that was left of the ten-tribe northern kingdom of Israel was the capital city of Samaria and the surrounding hill country of Ephraim. Eventually, it too fell to Assyria (see II Kings 17:5-6).

 

The captivity and dispersion of the northern kingdom throughout Assyria took place because the Israelites served idols, whereof the LORD had said to them, You shall not do this thing. 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, according to all the Law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets. Notwithstanding they would not hear (17:12-23).

 

The Lord's chosen people lived as if God did not exist. They trusted their judgment instead of God's Word. Therefore, they became incapable of carrying out His purpose. Whoever or whatever receives our loyalty becomes our idol, be it a person, purpose, or possession. Our Creator has rightfully declared: You shall have no other gods before Me (Exodus 20:3).

 

Jesus warned: Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it (Matthew 7:14).

 

Christ Revealed:

 

Through the Brazen (bronze) Altar which had been 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 burned offering, offered Himself to God (Hebrews 9:14). Unlike the necessary daily sacrifices on the Brazen Altar, when He died on the cross, this He did once, when He offered up Himself (Hebrews 7:27).

 

Word Studies:

 

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

 

Prayer Needs:

 

Pray for Government Officials: Sen. Pete Domenici (NM) and Rep. Candice Miller (MI) · Country: Uruguay (3 million) on the southeastern coast of South America · Major language: Spanish · Religious freedom · 60% Roman Catholic; 2% Protestant; 2% Jewish; .7% Eastern Orthodox · Prayer Suggestion: Ask, seek, and knock through prayer, knowing God promises to answer (Matthew 7:7-8).

 

Optional Reading: Romans 10

 

Memory Verse for the Week: I Thessalonians 5:22