Highlights In Today's Reading:
With the leadership in both Israel and Judah under evil control we see the things of God deteriorating. First the silver, the gold, and the bronze (16:8, 17). Disaster befalls the nation. We can avoid the same today (chap. 7).
Fearing the growing power of Assyria, Pekah, king of Israel, made an alliance with Rezin, king of Syria (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 war: and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him (16:5). Ahaz then made an alliance with the king of Assyria and gave him the silver and gold that was found in the House of the Lord to attack Syria and Israel (16:8). Rezin was conquered and killed (16:9). Another palace conspiracy removed Pekah and Hoshea became king of the Northern Kingdom (15:30).
A little over 30 years after Jeroboam's death, the words of the prophets were fulfilled as the Northern Kingdom of Israel was destroyed. The king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea . . . shut him up, and bound him in prison. Then the king of Assyria . . . went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea the king . . . took . . . Israel away into Assyria (II Kin.17:4-6).
Hoshea was the last king of the Northern Kingdom which began as the most powerful with the most powerful tribes. The real reason for Hoshea's defeat and the deportation of the remaining tribes of the Northern Kingdom was their disloyalty to God: They left all the Commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. . . . Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of His sight (17:16-23,33).
The Southern Kingdom of Judah was also permeated with idol worship. In his zeal to disregard God, His Word, and His prophets, Ahaz, king of Judah, did not permit worship of Jehovah in the House of the Lord (16:10-18; II Chr. 28:24). He filled Jerusalem and Judah with shrines to Baal and the goddess Ashtoreth and favored the immoral sodomites (II Kin. 16:3-4; II Chr. 28:2-4,22-25).
We see this same disloyalty today in some who call themselves Christians. They have their names on church rolls, attend church briefly on Sunday, and yet the rest of the week they live as if God did not exist. They seem to have no genuine heart's desire to please the Lord. The important warning for today is that disregard of the Word of God makes self the god — the one who makes life's choices. And whoever or whatever gets our attention and loyalty becomes our idol whether it is a person, place, thing, or activity — then defeat becomes inevitable.
Jesus said of those in His day: This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me (Matt. 15:8).
Thought for Today:
Evil nations rush to try to remove God and His Word from their thoughts but to the faithful His promises are still true (Ps. 33:12-21).
Through the original Brasen (brass) Altar made by Solomon (II Kin. 16:14; II Chr. 4:1). The Brasen Altar is a type of the cross on which Christ, our whole burnt offering, offered Himself to God (Heb. 9:14). Unlike the necessary daily sacrifices offered by the priests on the Brasen Altar, this He did once (once for all), on the cross, when He offered up Himself (7:27).
16:11 against King Ahaz =before King Ahaz arrived; 16:13 meat offering =meal or grain offering or unleavened bread, oil, and a portion of incense (see Lev. 2:1); 16:18 entry without, turned he from =be removed the covered walkway for the king of Assyria.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Mrs. A.C. Tarjan • Arabic International Shortwave Broadcasts in memory of Uncle Willard • English International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Larry & Carol Lake • Staff: Barbara Bivens • Government Officials: Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO) and Rep. Candice Miller (MI) • Country: Libya (5 million) in North Africa • Major languages: Arabic and Italian • No form of Christian witness to Libyans is permitted • 98% Muslim; 2% Christian • Prayer Suggestion: Rejoice that the Lord protects you and provides for your needs (Phil. 4:4).
Optional Reading: Romans 10
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:15