Second Kings 16 Commentary
Child sacrifice, worship of demonic idols, and taboo sexual acts: because of these sins, the LORD had commanded Israel to drive out the Canaanite tribes. Ahaz, king of Judah, is however practicing these outrageous and abominable pagan worship acts.
“Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molek, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.”
The diabolical pagan ritual of child sacrifice dated way back, even before the times of Abraham. In an acted parable, the LORD commanded Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice – in the manner of the pagan nations within whose borders he lived. The LORD could not accept this kind of offering. It was a very strong message to Abraham that the Creator God was never to be worshipped this way. In Leviticus 18 verse 21, quoted above, the LORD specifically addresses this subject and forbids Israel from participating in these pagan rituals.
Ahaz is living in direct violation of the above commandment. He is no different from the Canaanites that the LORD had driven out before Israel. You fear for the Israelite kingdom of Judah. Whenever men gathered to sin this way, the LORD moved in to scatter.
“A foreign nation you have never heard about will eat the crops you worked so hard to grow. You will suffer under constant oppression and harsh treatment.” Deuteronomy 28 verse 33. True to this word, Ahaz suffered attacks from every side.
Ahaz’s religion was so poor that he thought of the LORD of David’s temple in the same lines as the pagan gods. He even copy-pasted altar designs from Assyria into the temple at Jerusalem.
This is Ahaz’s mindset: importing pagan rituals into the church. When we copy-paste pagan practices into our own worship systems, we are living the dream of Ahaz. Ahaz thought the pagan gods of Assyria had better systems than the LORD of the temple. He thought he could get better results from the temple, the prowess of Assyria, by modifying the worship systems at the temple.
This chapter, above everything else, is inviting us to check our own worship spaces. Has a trip to Assyria shaped your worship system? Has your admiration of the pagan setup, the apparent success of their worship system, made you modify your own?
Ahaz’s life is very interesting. It really shouldn’t be so complex. One wishes Ahaz read the Ten Commandments. How we pray ours doesn’t end like his! He was succeeded by a godly Hezekiah, his son. A man can hold his own, regardless of his ancestor’s pagan links.
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