Scripture reading – 2 Chronicles 28, 2 Kings 16

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Our Scripture reading in the books of 2 Chronicles and 2 Kings are parallel records of the same period in Israel and Judah’s history. While the names of the kings and their successors might be difficult, don’t overlook the testimony of God’s sovereignty over the kings and their kingdoms.

The northern ten tribes, known as Israel, whose capital was Samaria, had continued their rebellion and rejection of God’s Covenant, Laws, and Commandments. Judah, the kingdom in the south whose capital was Jerusalem, though blessed with a succession of kings who feared the LORD, was following in the idolatrous steps of her brethren to the north.

2 Chronicles 28 introduced a young king named Ahaz, whose reign marked a dramatic spiritual decline in Judah. He turned from the LORD (2 Chronicles 28:1) “and did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD his God” (2 Kings 16:2). Ahaz “walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and also made molten images for Baalim” (2 Chronicles 28:2).

2 Chronicles 28 introduced a young king named Ahaz

How far will a rebellious leader descend and take his nation from the LORD? King Ahaz not only burned incense to idols, he committed gross wickedness, for he “burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen” (2 Chronicles 28:3b; 2 Kings 16:3).

Ahaz’s wickedness accelerated Judah’s spiritual decline and eventual destruction. The LORD removed His blessing, and the kings of Syria and Israel “came up to Jerusalem to war” (2 Kings 16:5). Syria’s king carried away “a great multitude” of Judah (2 Chronicles 28:5a). The LORD delivered that nation “into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote [Judah] with a great slaughter” (2 Chronicles 28:5b).

The depth of wickedness to which Israel descended was exhibited when that nation slew 120,000 “valiant men” of Judah in a day and “carried away 200,000 women, sons, and daughters” of their Judean brethren (2 Chronicles 28:6-8). Only the intervention and condemnation of a prophet, identified as Oded, deterred Israel from enslaving their brethren of Judah (2 Chronicles 28:9-15).

Because of Ahaz’s wickedness, the LORD permitted the Edomites to invade Judah, and the Philistines rose against the king. Rather than turn to the LORD, King Ahaz appealed to the king of Assyria for aid and agreed to pay him tribute by stripping the Temple and his palace treasuries of gold and silver (2 Chronicles 28:16-21; 2 Kings 16:7-8).

Though humiliated, Judah did not repent or turn back to the LORD. Instead, the nation descended into idolatry that rivaled Israel, for King Ahaz erected altars to the gods of his heathen neighbors, and “they were the ruin of him, and all of Israel” (2 Chronicles 28:22-25; 2 Kings 16:10-16).

Ahaz “shut up the doors of the house of the LORD"

Closing thoughts –

Israel’s fall should have served as a warning to Judah, but it did not. That nation’s leaders failed to turn the LORD, and the king demonstrated his contempt for God by defacing the objects used for worshipping Him in the Temple courtyard (2 Kings 16:17-18; 2 Chronicles 28:22-23).

Incredibly, Ahaz “shut up the doors of the house [Temple] of the LORD, and made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 28:24-25). Making a pretense of religion, the king worshiped other gods in every city of Judah “and provoked to anger the LORD God of his fathers” (2 Chronicles 28:25).

Ahaz died, and he was not honored by being buried in the sepulchers of the kings (2 Chronicles 28:26-27). Nevertheless, his reign led Judah to the brink of God’s judgment and its destruction as a sovereign nation.

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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