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 😉

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After talking about Noah, The author of Hebrews talks about the Patriarchs, namely Abraham. Later on Abraham was further expounded.

Abraham

His Past
The story of Abraham is recorded from Gen 11-25. The book initially began with Terah (his father), moving away from Ur of the Chaldean. Ur of the Chaldean is one of the major city. Terah left Ur for the land of Canaan, but on route to Canaan, he stopped at Haran and stayed there.

God’s promise, and Abraham’s reaction
God then appeared to Abraham when he is 75 years old and gave him an order (Gen 12:1-3)

“Get out of your country,
      From your family
      And from your father’s house,
      To a land that I will show you.

 2 I will make you a great nation;
      I will bless you
      And make your name great;
      And you shall be a blessing.

 3 I will bless those who bless you,
      And I will curse him who curses you;
      And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Abraham’s faith is demonstrated at this point as he immediately began moving out to the unknown. If one would notice, Gods did not tell him where to go, or what he intended to do. He only promised him to protect him. Moving away from a place where one is familiar with is not foreign to Abraham, as Terah has did so before.  It requires tremendous amount of trust in God, and obedience to move off from ones comfort zone. Abraham’s act of faith here is manifested strongly. Especially in his obedience and trust in God.

God promised Abraham the land of Israel (Gen 12:7), but if we were to follow on to his story, we would notice that Abraham did not own the land, even his sons Issac and his grandson jacob did not really own the land, in the very end, when Sarah his wife died, he still need to purchase a plot of land for her burial (Gen 23)

The ultimate goals in Abraham’s faith
Just as our description, the author of Hebrews drew the same conclusion, that Abraham did not get the land as he said” Abraham dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country.” He and his sons and grandson all dwelt in tents under this same promise (Heb 11 8-9). Ultimately, all of them can see a reward that is much far reaching. They disregarded the world blessings that God would want to give them, and they dwell in tents, waiting for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. A much better land (Heb 11:10).

Hence the faith of Abraham is that he believes that God has something better for him, although God has not fulfilled the worldly blessings that he promised, he backed that faith by willingly giving up the stable life in Haran and to dwell in tents, to demonstrate his faith.

Abraham’s faith in our lives
As Christians, we all understood that our hope is not in this life, and we all understand God the same way as Abraham. We all knew that Jesus purhased us with a price and the final result is to go to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. We must learn the faith of Abraham, to be willing to move out of the zones that we are comfortable with, to take the walk with God in our christian Journey. We must recognize that this world is never our home, and our real home is in Heaven.

With this i would like to share the a hymn “This world is not my home”

This World is not My Home

This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through;
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door,
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

Chorus:
Oh, Lord you know I have no friend like You,
If heaven’s not my home, then Lord what will I do?
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door,
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

I have a loving mother up in glory land,
And I don’t expect to stop until I shake her hand.
She’s waiting now for me in heaven’s open door,
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.
(Chorus:)

Just up in glory land we’ll live eternally;
The saints on every hand are shouting victory.
Their songs of sweetest praise drift back from heaven’s shore,
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.
(Chorus:)