Through the Bible Day by Day
Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: but he did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD, like David his father:
SMITTEN FOR FORSAKING THE LORD
The reign of Ahaz was marked by terrible and rapid degeneration. He not only restored idolatry and offered his children to Moloch, but as the difficulties of his reign increased, he made an alliance with the king of Assyria, notwithstanding the vehement protests of Isaiah. His extreme wickedness made him notorious. “This is that king Ahaz,” 2Ch_28:22. The instruments used for his punishment were the kings of Syria and Israel, 2Ch_28:5-6; and his sin led to the suffering of his people, carried from their homes to Samaria. When a nation or an individual life turns from the love and life of God, it becomes at once a prey to enemies that are lurking near, as an anemic constitution is liable to the microbes of disease.
It was a noble act on the part of the prophet Oded to denounce the captivity of so many brethren and sisters; and his splendid protest touched the finest chords in the conquerors’ hearts. We must never flinch from holding up God’s standard before the minds of our contemporaries. It will often arrest evil and incite to nobleness of action.
Then certain of the heads of the children of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, and Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against them that came from the war,
A WICKED KING’S BLIND FOLLY
This sending of the captives home, clothed, shod, and anointed was a beautiful act, and anticipates the spirit of Christianity. This is the true way of making and maintaining peace. Magnanimity is, after all, the best solvent of national hatred, and lays the foundations of enduring brotherhood. The Edomites and Philistines smote Judah and weakened it, but they were only the instruments. We are distinctly told that the Lord brought Israel low, 2Ch_28:19. The relief bought from the king of Assyria at so great a sacrifice secured a temporary respite. See 2Ki_16:7-9. In the end, however, it only added to his distress, 2Ch_28:20. None can help the man who has forfeited the help of God. If He is against us, who can be for us!
The more distressed Ahaz was, the more he trespassed. See Isa_1:5-6. With blind infatuation he went step by step farther from God, sacrificed to the gods of Damascus, and offered wanton insult to God’s house. The detestation of the people was evidenced in their treatment of his remains. See Pro_10:7.