Today in a sermon I heard about a certain King Of Judah known as King Ahaz, he is the 14 King of Judah (counting form King David). And He reigned the land of Judah 735-715 BCE.
He is an example of a bad king and there was many lessons that could be learnt from him.

During this period, the Assyrians are gaining power in the middle east and are expanding their empire quickly, bring fear to many nations around them. At this time, the Kings of Syria which is a much smaller Kingdom, was thinking of forming an alliance with the 2 southern kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and hoping that their combine powers could fend off the attacks of the Assyrians.

They manage to get the support of the King of Israel, however, the kingdom of Judah was more interested in an alliance with the Assyrians. As the result, Syria and Israel started to fight against Judah in a war, and the kingdom of Judah is at a disadvantage. At this time, King Ahaz and his subjects were filled with fear of this prospective battle, and then God sent Prophet Isaiah to Ahaz and said

“Take heed, and be quiet; do not fear or be fainthearted for these two stubs of smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria, and the son of Remaliah. Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah have plotted evil against you, saying, “Let us go up against Judah and trouble it, and let us make a gap in its wall for ourselves, and set a king over them, the son of Tabel” thus says the Lord GOD:
” It shall not stand,
Nor shall it come to pass.
For the head of Syria is Damascus,
And the head of Damascus is Rezin.
Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be broken,
So that it will not be a people.
The head of Ephraim is Samaria,
And the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son.
If you will not believe,
Surely you shall not be established.”‘”
(Is 7:4-9)

Over here, God promised Ahaz that he would protect the land of Israel and that the Kings of Syria and Israel will be defeated. All God requires from Ahaz is for him to believe. If he were to believe, his kingdom will be established.

However, Ahaz did not listen to Isaiah, yet he relied on his own methods to solve the problem.
If we were to look at the remaining Acts of King Ahaz (2 Kings 16 and 2 Chronicles 28)

Here is a rough summary of what happened
1. The Kings of Syria and Israel captured Elath from Judah (2 Kings 16:5-6)
2. King Ahaz requested for help from the King of Assyria Tiglath-Pileser (2 Kings 16:7-9)
Giving the Assyrian the Silver and Gold from the temple. Assyria  helped to defeat the invaders
3. King Ahaz copied the designs of the idols in Israel and set them up in the temple (2 Kings 16:10-17)
4. Philistines and Edomites attacked Judah (2 Chron 28:17-18)
5. Ahaz appealed for the King of Assyria to help. This time the Assyrian did not help yet  distressed him further (2 Chron 28:19-20)
6. The distressed Ahaz started to worship the gods of Syria as he thinks it is them who help Syria defeat Judah (2 Chron 28:22-23)
7 Finally he died, and Hezekiah ruled in his place (2 Chron 28:27)

How it applies to us today?
It is surprising that God actually extended comfort and help to King Ahaz as he had been unfaithful to God in the beginning (2 Chron 28:1-4, 2 Kings 16:1-4).

Sometimes as we are faced with life’s difficulties, we tend to behave like King Ahaz, he saw the might of the Assyrians, Syrians and Israel, and when war is about to start, he does his accessed of the situation and realize that it is hard for him to win. Hence he got afraid (Is 7:2) . His heart moved like the trees of the woods moved by the wind.

But, as we are afraid and seeing the danger, did we ever look at God? What if God sends a help just like what Isaiah said to Ahaz? Would we be able to hold our peace and believe? Such actions requires tremendous amount of faith.

Alot of times, we tend to be like Ahaz, we tend to try to solve the problems using the methods that we know of, Ahaz made extensive use of diplomacy to ask for help from the Assyrians. He even reach the stage where he gave up the gold and silver that was meant for God to exchange for Assyrian help. Yet their help proved to be a distress to him. Sometimes, the help that we seek for would eventually become our stumbling block. In fact if we were to trust God, perhaps the story may have been different (Remember what happened during the reign of Hezekiah his son?)

We tend to forget that God is our refuge in times of trouble, and he is that anchor we need in a storm. When the situation got tougher on Ahaz because of his disobedience, instead of turning closer to God, Ahaz started to rely on the gods of the Syrians thinking that since they helped Syria defeat Judah, their gods must be stronger. Instead he drift further and further from God, and his reign is mark with numerous defeat and the decline of the peoples faith.

I am writing this to remind myself, that lately I had been too troubled by many things that are happening around me, and I also failed to rely on God in prayer. This sermons seems to be a wake up call on me, and I hope I would be able to rely and God and not keep looking at the surrounding problems…

May God help all of us 😉