On the Trail – Friday 9/ 30/2022
Readings are from Day 3 and today: 2 Kings 16: 1-9, 2 Chronicles 28:1-15, Isaiah 7 and 8 .
Being a lover of history, I can not help myself exploring the trails of the old testament and wanting to know more. These writers wrote differently than we do today. They were trying to paint a picture with words of the world they were living. The time period of Isaiah set forth a very distinct moment in history, when deals were being made, when leaders and kings were negotiating, and money was exchanged. These events changed the course of history. Sometimes I think we forget to look at the text like this. We are always trying to find a verse that fits our specific lives, our specific mood, and twist it into something that fits. But this text was written about war, about conquest, about doing the right thing, and aligning yourself with those that would secure their future.
2 Kings 16 and 2 Chronicles 28 are the chapters about a man that changed the course of history and changed the course of his family heritage. His name was Ahaz. His father, a Godly man. His grandfather, a godly man. But Ahaz chose a different route. He chose a life of purposeful disobedience. He knew what was right. He was raised in a Godly household. He had seen the blessings that God could provide. We see people in history commit heinous acts, commit crimes of the heart. But what makes a person defy his heritage, to out rightly disobey God?
Before, we explore this thought, let’s place this story in context. Ahaz was the king of Judah. He was twenty years old when he took this position, the son of the king our study spoke of previously, King Jotham. King Jotham loved the Lord. But within the story the writer remind us that even though Jotham aligned himself with the Lord, he ignored the people around him that lived in disobedience with God. Maybe he ignored his son, and forgot the immense need to pass along his love for the Lord to his children, to “preserve the teaching of God; entrust his instructions to those who follow” (Isaiah 8:16) We don’t know what happened behind the closed door of his kingdom. What we do know is that the world around them was changing. Israel was aligning themselves with Syria to become stronger against the next great mega- power, Assyria.
The story goes……. God gave Ahaz, a way out. Isaiah verse 7:3 – 9 reminds us of this story. The lord said to Isaiah…. “go out and meet King Ahaz. Tell him to stop worrying. Tell him he doesn’t ned to fear the fierce anger of those two burned- out embers ( Syria and Israel). ….. Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm. ” And then in verses 11, “Later the Lord sent a message to King Ahaz”….. Ask the Lord your God for a sign. Make it anything, as difficult as your want, as high as heaven or as deep as the place of the dead. ” But what does Ahaz say? He says NO! How could you Ahaz? What were you thinking??? Isaiah warns him…. “must you exhaust the patience of my God? I will paraphrase a little here ….. If you are so stupid to disobey my God, who is giving you a way out, a means to end of your worry, your dread, your fear. “Then the Lord will bring things on you, your nation, and your family unlike anything before. He will bring the king Assyria upon you!”
And that is how history goes. Our fallen hero, plunders the Lords temple, sells holy relics to the King of Assyria to try to make deals and alliances with Assyria. These deals appear to work, but we all know what happens when you make a deal with the devil. Things don’t ever seem to go the way you hope. And Isaiah 8 paints a very somber picture of what happened next. History was forever changed, a fallen king, a fallen nation, and soon to be the Assyrian Empire, stretching out from Babylonia, Syria, Israel, Judah, and the northern portion of Egypt. A what was their capital? Nineveh. ( O Jonah, could you have not done more? Those people were open to God’s word. )
I urge you to read the chapters of Isaiah 7 and 8, with a historical perspective. Listen to what the Lord says. Consider what could happen if you choose not to preserve the teachings of your Lord, and entrust them to the next generation. Let’s close today with Isaiah 8:11 -14.
A Call to Trust the Lord
11 The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said,
12 “Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do,
and don’t live in dread of what frightens them.
13 Make the Lord of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life.
He is the one you should fear.
He is the one who should make you tremble.
14 He will keep you safe.