Read 2 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; Assyrian captives brought to Samaria.
Verses for Today:
The Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets . . . saying, Turn . . . from your evil ways, and keep My Commandments. . . . they would not hear, but. . . . left all the Commandments of the Lord their God . . . and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal (2 Kings 17:13-14).
Fearing the growing power of Assyria, Pekah, King of Israel made an alliance with King Rezin of Syria (2 Kings 15:37). Together, they attempted to force King Ahaz 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). The king of the Assyrian Empire then conquered the small kingdom of Syria and killed Rezin. (16:9). Following this, he defeated the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh on the eastern side of the Jordan River. He then took control of the northern part of the Jordan Valley, making Galilee and Gilead into Assyrian provinces (15:29; 17:24; compare Isaiah 9:1). All that was left of the Northern Kingdom of Israel was the capital city of Samaria and the surrounding hill country of Ephraim.
Ahaz, King of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, also sacrificed to 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 (2 Chronicles 28:23-24). He walked in the way of the kings of Israel . . . and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen (2 Kings 16:3). Ahaz filled Jerusalem and Judah with shrines to Baal and the goddess Ashtaroth. 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 in a pagan temple (16:10-15).
Like Ahaz, many people today live as if God does not exist. Whoever or whatever gets our loyalty becomes our idol.
We are in a decade of moral and spiritual disaster. Like Israel before its destruction, our nation is polluted with men and women like Ahaz who seek to destroy our biblical values and permeate our nation with false gods and false moral values. Added to that, they are demanding tolerance, open-mindedness, and mutual respect for all religions. But the Lord has a minority that is convinced that it is time to read the words of our Creator as the only hope for solving the overwhelming problems that we face. We cannot afford to abandon the biblical values of our past and act as if it doesn't matter what we believe about God, sexual choices, or the life of an unborn child.
Through the Brazen (bronze) Altar made by Solomon (2 Kings 16:14; 2 Chronicles 4:1). The Brazen Altar is a type of the cross on which Christ, our whole burnt offering, offered Himself to God (Hebrews 9:14). Unlike the necessary daily sacrifices on the Brazen Altar, on the cross this He did once, when He offered up Himself (Hebrews 7:27).
16:11 against = before; 16:13 meat offering = meal or grain offering or unleavened bread, oil, and a portion of incense; 16:18 entry without turned he from = removed the covered walk.
Government Official: Sen. Pete Domenici (NM) · Pray for the President · Country: Cuba (11 million) on the northern rim of the Caribbean · Major language: Spanish · Strict government surveillance of all true Christian activities · 41% Roman Catholic; 2% various spiritists; 1% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Give praise to God that His Word will stand forever (Isaiah 40:8).
Optional Reading: Romans 10
Memory Verse for the Week: 1 Peter 1:23