Read: 2 Chronicles 28: 1-27
Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD. He followed the ways of the kings of Israel and also made idols for worshiping the Baals. He burned sacrifices in the Valley of Ben Hinnom and sacrificed his children in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites. He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree.
Therefore the LORD his God delivered him into the hands of the king of Aram. The Arameans defeated him and took many of his people as prisoners and brought them to Damascus. He was also given into the hands of the king of Israel, who inflicted heavy casualties on him. 2 Chronicles 28:1-5
Ahaz had an amazing opportunity to succeed. He was young and strong, his kingdom was rich and religion was established. However, in 2 Chronicles 28:1b Scripture tells us that he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD. Life is about choices. We can choose sin or we can choose God. We find out in this story that Ahaz made some pretty unbelievable choices.
Ahaz didn’t begin his reign in an evil way. He didn’t close up shop and turn “to the dark side”. He started by adding idol worship to the worship of the Lord. He was blending good and evil – very dangerous.
Forsaking God to go after sin often begins by replacing just a few things in the Bible that you don’t like with a few worldly ideas that just seem to make life easier for you (28:2-4). There are hard truths in the Bible. Maybe it seems easier for you to just pick and choose. The Bible says that your marriage commitment is to be for life and that you should work through your problems by learning to love as Jesus loved. But that’s too hard, so you choose to bail out. One step closer to “the dark side”.
Forsaking God to go after sin can also begin by adding worldly ideas to the Word of God. It means doing what you think will be good for you even if it’s harmful to others (28:3). Ahaz burned some of his sons in the fire as an offering to the god Molech. Nice guy – must have skipped Parenting Boot Camp. He wasn’t worried about his kids – he wanted the gods to be happy with him. After all, everyone else was sacrificing their children. Another step closer to the “dark side”.
Forsaking God to go after sin also means turning to the world for contentment (28:16, 22- 23). The world always comes in as a friend – but look out! Maybe you think it’s ok to look at a just a tiny bit of pornography and soon your marriage is ruined.
You might be a stressed mom who has just one little drink in the afternoon while the kids are napping to take the edge off and before you know it, you need a drink morning, noon, and night and you lose your family. You could be a smart college student with the entire world in front of you. You become stressed from studies and decide to try some of the drugs your roommate offers you. Months later something that once made you feel good makes you feel terrible because you can’t get enough. You have become a slave to the drug and drop out of school. This is the “dark side”. The world never delivers what it promises.
But there is another option. We can turn from “the dark side”. We don’t have to choose sin forever! We can choose God!! All we need to do is repent!
To repent means to turn from sin and to do what is right in the sight of the Lord. Repentance means that we begin to obey God – if and when we do sin, we come back to Him again for cleansing. As Pastor Chris says, “it’s okay to be where you are – it’s not okay to stay there.”
The end of chapter 28 tells us that “Ahaz rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of Jerusalem, but he was not placed in the tombs of the kings of Israel.” Let’s choose today to have a better ending to our story. We can turn from “the dark side” – it’s never too late!
Thank you, Lord, for Your Word and this story of Ahaz. Thank you for reminding us how tempting the ways of the world can be. Thank you for your mercy and grace. Thank you for loving us and forgiving us every single time we mess up. Thank you for not leaving us on “the dark side”. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.