Oct. 25, 2016
2 Kings 16
LET IT GLOW
God told Israel through His prophet Amos: For I know your crimes are many and your sins innumerable. They oppress the righteous, take a bribe, and deprived the poor of justice at the gates. Seek good and not evil so that you may live, and the LORD, the God of Hosts, will be with you, as you have claimed. Amos 5:12
The Prophet Isaiah warned the destroyer, Assyria was coming to Judah, too. But the righteous remnant would waited for God to deliver them from their oppression.
The sinners of Zion are afraid: trembling seizes the ungodly. "Who among us can dwell with a consuming fire? Who among us can dwell with ever-burning flames?" The one who lives righteously and speaks rightly, who refuses gain from extortion, whose hand never takes a bribe, who stops his ears from listening to murderous plots and shuts his eyes to avoid endorsing evil-and he will dwell on the heights; his refuge will be the rocky fortresses, his food provided, his water assured. (Isaiah 33:15-16 NIV)
Folks, we ain't seen nothin' yet. Hold onto your hat. Judah had some bad kings, Manasseh, Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah, but now comes Ahaz. It had been about 10 years since they had a bad king ruling. (The defeat and exile of Israel by Assyria is coming.) The reigning of Ahaz as king of Judah was a dual rule. While his father King Jotham was still alive, Ahaz was the sovereign authority in Judah. He was 20 when he began to reign alone and ruled for 16 in Judah. The prophets Isaiah and Micah continued to minister to Judah during the reign of Ahaz. God was trying to warn the people in Judah what was coming and their need of repentance, less it occurred. Yet, King Ahaz did not what was right in the sight of the LORD.
Are we listening to God's Word when it warns us? Are we using bribes for our gain, victory? Do we refuse to take bribes from another? Are we refusing to participate in evil plots? God will provide for us when we do.
LET IT GROW
Ahaz did a horrible things and detestable things:
- He offered his own son as a burnt offering to the god of Molech, an idol.
- Ahaz walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, which did not please God.
- He walked the ways of the pagan nations, whom God had driven out of their lands for His children.
- Ahaz even offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops, and under every spreading tree to idols.
Israel and Syria joined forces and were attacking Judah, so Ahaz sent messengers with a bribe to get the king of Assyria's aide against them. He took silver and gold out of the Lord's Temple, royal treasuries from the palace, and sent them as gifts to the king of Assyria.
The king of Assyria complied and attacked the city of Damascus in Israel and capturing it. He deported the inhabitants and killed their ruler. Friendship with Assyria led Ahaz to build a new altar in Jerusalem, duplicating the one used in idol worship in Damascus set up by the king of Assyria. It replaced the God-ordained altar in the Temple. Assyria's king took the bribes from Ahaz but in the end failed to help Judah at all. Ahaz even sent extra decorations of gold, without any success.
Ahaz compromised, bribed, and was an idolater. He tried to buy his way to victory, which only led to defeat and shame.
Do we know people who try to buy their way to power? They use whatever means available to bribe the favor of others. Even when it is underhanded and beneath standards of integrity. I can think of a few in our world right now. Eventually their scheme is seen through and their intended victory becomes a loss. Money does not buy everything, especially happiness.
LET IT GO
Don't try to bribe people to get my way.
Stand on integrity and let it support my back.
Refuse bribes and show the right way to live.