Reading through the Bible together
In chapter 28, Ahaz assumes the throne at 20 years of age. He was young, fresh and was given the opportunity of a lifetime. He grew up having the greatest role models and education. The kingdom was rich, strong, and religion was firmly established; and yet we see that in the few opening verses he was wretchedly corrupt. He had the chance to make an impact, lead a powerful example for centuries to come, but instead he steers the nation down a very dark idolatrous path and debases the mind of God's people. He forsook the Temple of the Lord, sacrificed and burnt incense on the hills as if they would place him nearer to heaven. He even made idols and worshipped them. The next part is very hard to understand. Ahaz burnt his own children in the fire as a sacrifice to his idols. He was completely and utterly overtaken by the prince of darkness. Since Ahaz forsook God and His protection, he was delivered into the hands of his enemies. Because of this, the people suffered and their blood was shed, families were ruined, and the country was wasted. In His mercy, God sends help and reproof through his prophet, Oded. Even then, Ahaz continued in idolatry and sin so he dies ingloriously as an impenitent man.
While reading this chapter, several lessons jumped out at me: one's upbringing doesn't guarantee salvation; one person's single decision to disobey God can lead a thousand astray; and when one voluntarily places themselves in the hands of the devil, that person is voluntarily taking himself off of God's protection plan. The tragic story of Ahaz is a solemn reminder and lesson to all that in the end, it is God's grace that saves one's soul, not their environment, education, or even Godly upbringing.
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