Sunday, May 8, 2016

May 8 - 2 Kings 16

Today's reading in our daily plan is 2 Kings 16. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • In verse 2 we read that Ahaz did not live like his "father" David. David was not literally his father. It's speaking more symbolically, that David was the first in this line of kings.
  • Ahaz, we read in verse 3, "walked in the ways of the kings of Israel." This is in reference to the evil kings of Isael, like Ahab, who turned away from God and participated instead in the evil practices of Baal worship.
  • The sacrificing of children (verse 3) was prohibited by God (see Leviticus 18:21 and Deuteronomy 18:10) but practiced by other religions of the time.
  • Ahaz offered sacrifices all over (verse 4), probably even saying he was offering them to God, but the truth is that he was making sacrifices in prohibited places and that he was not really worshipping God.
  • Two kings of two nations (see verse 5) come against Ahaz, seeking to take his throne and take over his country. But God had promised David (see 1 Kings 11:36 and 2 Samuel 7:13) that someone from his own family line would continue to rule, and so in actuality there was no way Ahaz (despite his wickedness) was going to lose his position.
  • When attacked, Ahaz could have turned to God for help, but instead he turns to the King of Assyria (verse 7-9).
  • King Ahaz then goes to meet the king of Assyria and becomes enamored with the altar they have for their false religion (verse 10). He has a copy of the altar built back at home, replacing the bronze altar they had (verses 11-18). This was wrong because God had given specific instructions for how the altar should look and be used (see Exodus 27:1-8).
  • Ahaz decides to use the bronze altar (the one based on God's instructions and blessed by God) for "seeking guidance" (verse 15). This refers to the ancient practice of seeking omens by examining the entrails of sacrificed animals. It was an Assyrian practice and not in keeping with how God told people to communicate with Him and seek His guidance.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  •     Ahaz became fascinated by Assyria and its king, and attracted to their religious practices. He almost certainly would have still told people he was committed to God and a worshipper of God, but the truth was that the king of Assyria replaced God for him, the customs he was following were not godly, and he was doing whatever felt right to him. It's easy to condemn Ahaz, but too often we mold God's truth to fit our personal preferences. We ignore things God says that we don't want to follow, we add things to our philosophy of life and way of doing life that are not in keeping with God's truth, and we live in a way that is much more about pleasing ourselves than pleasing Him. That does not honor God, and it does not lead us to the lives we really want for ourselves.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  •     Pray and ask God to show you:
    • Where are you ignoring teaching or commands He's given?
    • Where have you added ways of thinking that do not fit with God's truth?
    • Where are you driven more by personal preference and what you want than by God's ways and what He wants?
    • When you see it, confess it to God and repent of it. (Repent means to turn away from, and turn to God.) 
  • Commit to God's true and better way of life for you.