Like Father, Like Son? (part 1)

His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor His delight in the power of human legs;
The LORD delights in those who fear Him,
who put their hope in His unfailing love. (Psalm 147:10-11)

In reading through 2 Chronicles in the Bible, I was particularly caught up by the life of Ahaz of Judah. Ahaz came from a line of godly kings: his grandfather Azariah (or Uzziah) and father Jotham were both described as doing right in the eyes of the LORD, even though high places of idolatrous worship still remained. But Ahaz is described much differently:

Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord. He followed the ways of the kings of Israel and also made idols for worshiping the Baals. He burned sacrifices in the Valley of Ben Hinnom and sacrificed his children in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations  the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. (2 Chronicles 28:2-3)

It seems accurate to say that Ahaz even became enamored with foreign worship through looking to foreign nations for help. Seeking help from Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria in fighting Aram and Israel, Ahaz offered silver and gold from the Temple treasuries as payment. In the parallel passage in 2 Kings, we see that this opened Ahaz to a trip of tribute to Damascus in Assyria. While there “he saw an altar … and sent to Uriah the priest a sketch of the altar, with detailed plans for its construction” (2 Kings 16:10). Before Ahaz returned home, the new altar was completed and ready for use in worship. Ahaz moved the bronze altar built by Solomon, replacing it with this new Assyrian altar. Not only that, but he made other adjustments to the Temple based on his new vision for worship based on Assyrian worship and “in deference to the king of Assyria” (16:18).

Slowly but surely Ahaz was bowing down to the king of Assyria and the gods of Assyria. As is stated again in 2 Chronicles:

In his time of trouble King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the LORD. He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus, who had defeated him; for the thought, ‘Since the gods of the kings of Aram have helped them, I will sacrifice to them so they will help me.’ But they were his downfall and the downfall of all Israel. (2 Chronicles 28:22-23)

Ahaz looked to Assyria initially for physical help with trouble. His look to Assyria led him into idolatry. His idolatry led to his downfall. Why? Because he failed to look to the LORD, the true God.

How are we like Ahaz? Where do we look for help and guidance? Do we look to the LORD God or do we look to the strength of ourselves or others?

The LORD delights in those who fear Him,
who put their hope in His unfailing love. (Psalm 147:11)

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