2 Chronicles 28:22-27
Today during my devotions I had one of those “ahah” moments, when a verse –and then passage really stuck out to me. A picture came to mind when I was reading the story of King Ahaz in 2 Chronicles 28. It was convicting, and thought provoking. While reading through the accounts of the kings I often find it interesting, sometimes confusing, and often (sadly) irrelevant to my life. Mostly because I am not spending the time to see how it can apply to my life… But today, that was different. Perhaps it’s because I was paying more attention. Perhaps it to, was something God needed me to see.
This passage was really revealing some truths to me. I love when what we think is the “mundane” turns profound and hits us up on the side of the head.
Before reading further, go grab your Bible or pull it up- and read 2 Chronicles 28 for some context.
Did you read it? Good!
In this chapter, King Ahaz, becomes the next king of Judah. In the first verse, we already know how far gone he was when he started as king- as it says, “And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done.” So He starts out his reign not following in the footsteps of his forefather. Throughout the chapter, he moves further and further from the Lord…
In reading the chapter, you will see Ahaz was not very wise. It even says in verse 2, “…but he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel.” Out of the gates he’s leaning more on others understanding, and his own understanding then God’s. He is paying homage to other gods going even as far as child sacrifice. That’s pretty deep. In his own self-absorbed bubble he seems to be practicing self preservation and when things kept getting hotter and hotter (in his distress) his decisions became poorer and poorer. He turned further from God, then turning towards him.
“In the time of his distress he became yet more faithless to the Lord- This same king Ahaz….”(verse 22)
I had to stop and chew on what this verse was sharing with me. “in his distress” seemed to be a motivator for some of his following actions, which lead to his and his countries complete downfall. What that (distress) may have meant specifically I can’t really say. I wasn’t there. What was it really like for Ahaz? Was he feeling the pressure? Did he care at all about his immorality? I wish I could know. Taking from the passage the de-railing of the country, I can imagine Ahaz was probably stressed. I’d even kind of hope he was, being a leader of a country and all. He’s grasping at anything, even the delusion that help (Syria) is here, but they turn on him to.
This verse was just a picture to myself of a trap I have easily fell into, and perhaps you have too. How often, in our distress do we make unwise and impulsive decisions? In turn becoming more faithless to the Lord. Perhaps we turn to our spouse instead of the Lord in a situation only his living water could satisfy. It’s little at first, but then we begin to feel that significant other is the only one who can make me feel _____ (valued, loved, needed etc). Before we know it, our distress turns into major eye-sore distress. Maybe not to those around us, maybe not even to us- but to God. Our sin doesn’t always look big (Like King Ahaz)… Until it’s put under a microscope. It’s there we just don’t always have eyes to see it.
The remainder of the passage tells us how Ahaz turned to other god’s (the god’s of the guy who double-crossed him to be exact) and he built alters in every corner of Jerusalem to serve these other gods.
(verse 24-15) “And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and he shut up the doors of the house of the Lord, and he made himself alters in every corner of Jerusalem. In every city of Judah he made high places to make offerings to other gods, provoking to anger the Lord, the God of his Fathers.”
… “and he shut up the doors of the house of the Lord…”
Since Jesus hadn’t come yet, and since the Holy Spirit thus- hadn’t come yet as the helper, God’s presence was found in the Temple. Occasionally there’s a story about someone “over come by the spirit” and God showing himself to individuals, walking with them, etc. But mostly, they had to come to him, come to the temple as he wasn’t living inside them in spirit. So when King Ahaz “shut up the doors of the house of the Lord.” – that’s a pretty profound statement against the God of Hosts.
“God you are OUT.” Ahaz is saying. Completely, and totally out of this picture. “And while I’m at it, let me bring even MORE dishonor to you by violating your temple…” And he proceeds to bring dishonor to the Lord’s temple. (2 Kings 16)
Immediately I realized how much Ahaz physical actions are like those spiritual actions we make today. Sometimes it’s not intended. We slowly slide into a habit, attititude, or whathave you. Sometimes with those, we even damage God’s temple on our way out, (the temple being our bodies [1 Cor. 3:16;]) allowing stress to over come us to the effect we don’t get enough sleep at night, we allow ourselves to stay in an abusive relationship, etc. It’s actions we sometimes aren’t consciously making. Other times it’s a blatent decision. but because its a little thing, it won’t be such big deal… I’m NOT going to follow you on this one, God.
So we say:
“God, you are OUT.”
With, or without words we lock our hearts shut, and turn towards the world for our nourishment and validation. We begin to sacrifice our time, our resources, our relationships on the alter of self-gratification and we become more and more faithless to the Lord…
Uff. My heart is heavy to think how this looks even in my life right now.
In my distress, what kinds of decisions am I making? Where are those decisions leading?
To a life of Glorifying Jesus, or a life of faithlessness.
Ahaz to his demise – only glory was in his fleeting life on earth and that wasn’t even filled with much joy or pleasure. (from what we read) Oh whoa to us, that we would learn from Ahaz’s plight.
May we not when we are found “in distress” turn to the world, or turn our back on God or Father in Heaven. He’s waiting to shelter us with his wings.
May we not Lock our hearts, with our micro and macro sins. ALL sin, is sin. Know it, seek it out, confess it, shut IT out.
May we seek Him Jesus, the author and perfecto of our lives. Lets pursue him – whole heartedly, with humility and pliable souls to be molded into a person after his character. Someone who’s sin is confessed, heart is exposed, finds honor through a humble approach, and who knows where to turn in distress.