The Legacy of Leaders Who Abandon God

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), June 23

imagesKing Jeroboam leaves a legacy of idolatry which all nineteen kings of Israel follow and which destroys them as a nation. King David, however, is the standard-bearer for Judah. Each of Judah’s kings is measured by David’s God-fearing and God-honoring standard.

Ahaz becomes Judah’s eleventh king when he is 20 years old and reigns for 16 years in Jerusalem (732-715 BC). Sadly, he does not follow the ways of King David, “He did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD his God, as his father David had done. But he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel” (2 Kings 16:2).

2 Kings 16 provides numerous examples of how Ahaz follows in the ways of the kings of Israel:

  • He sacrifices his sons on the altars of idols (16:3).
  • He sacrifices and burns incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree (16:4).
  • He makes an alliance with the king of Assyria instead of calling upon the Lord to protect him from this enemies (16:5-9).
  • He replaced the altar in Jerusalem’s temple with a copy of a pagan altar from Damascus (16:10-14).
  • He commissions Uriah the priest to offer the LORD’s offerings on the substitute altar (16:5).
  • He sets aside the temple’s bronze altar for his own personal use (16:15).
  • He allows the king of Assyria to dictate changes in the LORD’s temple (16:17-18).

In response to Ahaz’s leading Judah to abandon the LORD, the LORD hands him over to the king of Israel, who “killed one hundred and twenty thousand in Judah in one day” and carried off 200,000 captives (2 Chron. 28:6, 8), and to the harassment of the Edomites and Philistines (2 Chronicles 28:17-18). Instead of crying out to God, King Ahaz hires the king of Assyria to defend him against his aggressors. He also sacrifices to the gods of Damascus in hopes that they will help him.

King Ahaz reveals a number of important truths about those who abandon the LORD:

  • Spiritual depth and character are revealed by the authors one reads and the men that one follows.

  • Those who abandon the Living God align themselves with worldly power for protection.

  • Syncretism thrives in a culture of God-abandonment.

  • Those who abandon God devalue human life.

Like sewage seepage, Northern Israel’s abandonment of God and embracing of idolatry threaten the welfare of Judah. God, however, is gracious to raise up His prophets to pronounce impending judgment in hopes that the leaders of both countries will repent and lead their nations back to God. Israel ignores God’s prophets and is taken captive by the Assyrians. Will Judah learn a lesson from their northern brethren? Will leaders today heed the same warning?

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (2 Kings 15:32-38; 16:1-9; Micah 1:1-16; 2 Chronicles 28; Isaiah 7:1-25):
Even though some of Judah’s kings do what is right in the sight of the LORD personally, how do they fail the people spiritually?
Review the Deuteronomy 12:1-9; 17:14-20 and 28:47-68. How does Micah’s prophecy line up with Moses’ warning? What to these passages reveal about the failure of Israel and Judah’s kings?