Read II Chronicles 28 -- 30
Ahaz had the wonderful heritage of his godly father Jotham (II Chronicles 27:6). But Ahaz was one of the most wicked kings in Judah's history, for he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and also made molten images for Baalim. Moreover he burned incense in the valley of . . . Hinnom, and burned his children (as an offering) in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. . . . Wherefore the Lord . . . delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they smote him (28:2-3,5). Ahaz became fanatically involved in pagan religious practices. He adopted the idol-worship of Baal, which dominated the Northern Kingdom, and was responsible for reintroducing the worship of Molech, the savage god of the Ammonites, to whom children were burned alive, as Solomon had introduced in the Southern Kingdom (I Kings 11:7).
In open defiance of the Word of God (Leviticus 18:21; Deuteronomy 18:10), Ahaz set up an image of Molech in the Valley of Hinnom, just outside the walls of Jerusalem. This huge idol had a human figure with a bull's head and outstretched arms. The image of Molech was made hot by a fire kindled within it. Living children were then laid in its arms and rolled down into the fiery lap below. Their screams were drowned out by the noise of flutes and drums. In these arms, Ahaz sacrificed one of his own sons (II Kings 16:3). He also robbed the Temple of its gold, drained the national treasury, and confiscated the resources of the leading citizens and gave it all to the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser to defeat the Northern Kingdom and Syria, who joined forces to defeat him (II Chronicles 28:21; II Kings 16:8).
While in Damascus to meet with the Assyrian king, Ahaz became fascinated with the altar to the pagan god of the defeated Syrians. He had a similar altar placed in the Temple courtyard, replacing the brazen altar, which was before the Lord, from the forefront of the House (16:14) in Jerusalem. 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 many of the cities in the southwest and occupied them (II Chronicles 28:17-18). Thousands of his people were taken as slaves by neighboring countries (28:5,8,17).
However, the many defeats of Ahaz never caused him to repent. He fiercely rejected the Lord and sacrificed to the gods of Damascus (28:23). He even cut in pieces the vessels of the House of God, and shut up the doors of the House of the Lord. . . . and provoked to anger the Lord God (28:24-25). In this tragic account of the kings of Judah, the Lord is warning of the awful fate of those who turn from Him. Just as Ahaz attempted to suppress the worship of the One True God, the world, with all of its deceptive attractions, attempts to suppress our loyalty to the Lord. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering (Hebrews 10:23).
Christ Portrayed: By King Hezekiah who offered an intercessory prayer for every one that prepares his heart to seek God (II Chronicles 30:18-19). Jesus Christ our King intercedes in prayer for all who continue to seek Him (John 17:9).
Word Studies: 28:3 Hinnom was later called Gehenna, which Jesus used to illustrate the place of eternal punishment; 30:22 comfortably means encouragingly.
Government Official: Rep. Jerry Moran (KS) · BPM Staff: Clarence Rathbone · Pray for Lay Witnesses for Christ and Dr. Sam Mings · Country: Kazakhstan (17 million) central Asia · Major languages: Kazakh and Russian · Religious tolerance · 40% Muslim; 25% Russian Orthodox/Armenian Apostolic; 1% Protestant; .6% Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Confess and forsake all sin (Isaiah 59:12-13).
Optional Reading: I Corinthians 16
Memory Verse for the Week: II Corinthians 6:17