The Lord had humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had promoted wickedness in Judah and had been most unfaithful to the Lord . – 2Chr. 28:19 NIV
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The foundation scripture for today’s Devotional is the reaction of Jehovah to the act of unfaithfulness of the leader of his people. However, the effect of his reaction was not limited to the king who it was, that led the people into the act of unfaithfulness, as the people who agreed to follow the king into such act were also included. In fact it must be noted that the loss was more on the side of the people than on the part of their king. Just as the scripture revealed, Jehovah had decided to humble the entire Judah because their king had promoted wickedness and had been most unfaithful – 2Chr. 28:19.
King Ahaz became king in Judah after the reign of his father, Jotham, at the age of twenty years and he held sway in Jerusalem for sixteen years – 2Chr. 28:1. An early indication of the kind of personality that he was, is the possibility that he was already a father at the age of eleven years, that is if the figures provided in the scriptures are anything to go by. He was recorded to have become king at the age of twenty years and reigned for sixteen years (2Chr. 28:1), yet his son Hezekiah, who immediately succeeded him after his death, was recorded to have ascended the throne at the age of twenty-five (2Chr. 29:1), implying that he was born when Ahaz was just eleven years old. That probably explains also his conduct during his reign as king, as he was deemed to have done wrong in the eyes of the Lord – 2Chr. 28:2. Listed as some of his actions that Jehovah considered as wickedness and unfaithfulness, and which brought on him, His anger were the following;
- He followed the ways of the kings of Israel unlike his father David whom Jehovah considered to have acted righteously towards Him– 2Chr. 28:1-2a. These kings were noted for their acts of Idolatry from the inception of their kingdom after Jeroboam had declared independence from Judah – 1Kgs. 12:25-33. Any king who is therefore noted to have followed their ways must be seriously entrenched in idolatry.
- He made cast idols for worshiping the Baals – 2Chr. 28:2b. Similar to what Jeroboam had started in Israel (1Kgs. 12:25-33), and which some of his predecessors as king in Judah also did, he led his subjects into Idolatry.
- He burned sacrifices in the Valley of Ben Hinnom – 2Chr. 28:3a. The name “Hinnom” literally means, “condemned souls”. To have done would have been to have encouraged his subjects to get involved in acts that can only bring condemnation to the people from Jehovah.
- He sacrificed his children in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations that the Lord had driven out before the Israelites – 2Chr. 28:3b. This is an act that is found mostly amongst the Canaanites who worship Molech, and doing so will mean that his subjects will also be involved with the worship of Molech.
- He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree – 2Chr. 28:4. The Almighty God had directed Israelites to bring all their sacrifices to the place he had chosen to put His name – Exo. 20:24; Deut. 12:1-12. To do anything otherwise will be an act of disobedience to His instructions, one that will always be punishable.
It was for these acts that Jehovah adjudged him as wicked and unfaithful, and so handed him and his people over to be humiliated by several kings and people listed below;
- The king of Aram, who took many of his people as prisoners to Damascus – 2Chr. 28:5.
- The king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, who inflicted heavy casualties on him and his people such that many soldiers were killed and several women and children were about to be taken away into captivity but for the quick intervention of Prophet Oded, who reminded them the captors that they were equally guilty of what the people of Judah were being punished for, and so advised them to thread softly.
- The Edomites and the Philistines, with the former, attacking and taking away prisoners in captive while the latter captured and occupied cities and villages of Judah – 2Chr. 28:17-18.
Meanwhile rather than go back to the Lord, King Ahaz chose to approach Tiglath-Pileser, king of Assyria for help (2Chr. 28:6-16), but he gave him more trouble rather the help he requested for – 2Chr. 28:20-21 .
With these acts of wickedness and unfaithfulness by King Ahaz, thousands of soldiers lost their lives just as several thousands were taken captive but there was no record of the king nor any member of his immediate family being affected by any of these misfortunes.
Christians today must be conscious of the following facts revealed in this event;
- They will always need to be aware of what their leader is doing, join hands with them and never stop praying for Jehovah to lead them aright, as it is not sufficient to just follow obediently, since they will most likely, be the victim of a wrong leadership. David it was that took the decision to count the Israelites, albeit under the incitement of God, but there was no record of any member of his immediate family dying due to the holocaust that followed such an act – 2Sam. 24:1-25
- All especially Christians must accept the reality that just as Jehovah can raise helpers to help those He loves to achieve success and greatness, He is equally able to raise opposition to pull down anyone that acts contrary to his instructions, as He did during the reign of King Solomon – 1Kgs. 11:14-40. The ignorant person may choose to fight back all these oppositions, who are now tools that Jehovah has chosen to whip the stray person back on line, but will always fail, as it will be impossible to defeat Jehovah who is the reason for the success of such oppositions.
Avoid situations that lead to having Jehovah in opposition as the consequences will be very grave. Until the leader does the needful, nothing will go well with the followership, so not only should a wise person or group agree to be led by a god-fearing leadership, they must also continue to pray for their leaders as the consequences of their negative decisions will be borne mainly them. May God continue to guide our leaders rightly in Jesus name. Amen.