There was a measure of hope in Judah yesterday after Jotham’s reign ended without slipping into evil. However, his son, Ahaz, instigates a precipitous slide that will shock even the longsuffering reader. He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel. He even made metal images for the Baals, and he made offerings in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom and burned his sons as an offering, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel…
So the LORD gave them first to Syria (or Aram), then to Israel, which demonstrates a compassion that should shame its southern brethren. But despite multiple defeats, mercy from Israel’s elders, and a new threat from Edom, Ahaz responds to the ring enclosing around him by seeking help from a newly strengthened Assyria. As you can imagine, entrusting Judah’s defense to someone other than the LORD leads to even greater despair. Later, the author reminds us that this apostasy was no fluke, for even in the time of his distress he became yet more faithless to the LORD – this same King Ahaz.
The Chronicler spares no detail in outlining the breadth of Ahaz’s rejection of the LORD. Should Judah continue to exist, and the promises made to David and Solomon endure, these abominations will have to be unwound. Fortunately for Judah, Ahaz’s son, Hezekiah, begins a program of reclamation and repentance immediately upon ascending the throne. And, as we’ve come to expect, the story slows to a crawl once again as every element of the restoration is examined.
As you read, keep the historical placement in the back of your mind. These events take place about 200 years after the kingdom divided. Israel, the northern kingdom, is in its final days, soon to be wiped clean by Assyria – in fact they’ve probably already ceased to exist as a political entity by the time of the Passover that’s celebrated today. Yet Hezekiah slows down the story – and our author follows suit – to attend to more important matters.
Our verse for this week is Revelation 22:5: And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
2 Chronicles 28 through 30. Now let’s read it!
And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.