Everything but the Main Thing Dr. Randy White
“So Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria came against him and afflicted him instead of strengthening him. Although Ahaz took a portion out of the house of the Lord and out of the palace of the king and of the princes, and gave it to the king of Assyria, it did not help him. Now in the time of his distress this same King Ahaz became yet more unfaithful to the Lord.” (2 Chronicles 28:20-22, NASB95)
Ahaz, King of Judah, had problems. Big problems. He inherited the Kingdom of Judah from his father at the age of 20. His dad, King Jotham, had lived right before the Lord, but had not been able to change the behavior of his subjects. 2 Chronicles 27:2 says that though Jotham “did right in the sight of the Lord…the people continued acting corruptly.”
So Jotham tried, but lived in a society so far from obeying God’s truth that he was “beating his head against the wall.” His son, Ahaz, inherited both the unruly kingdom and its unruly habits. Ahaz did not have the spiritual strength of his father. In fact, he continually searched for answers from pagan gods, even sacrificing his own sons as burnt offerings to pagan gods. He did everything but the main thing!
The enemy King to the north, Tiglath-pilneser of Assyria, began to invade Judah. Ahaz did everything to stop him, including taking the treasures from the temple and giving them to the foreign king as a ransom. He turned to the gods of Assyria, thinking “the Assyrians seem to be doing well, why not do as they do?” Ahaz began a desperate search for help for the gods, building altars and burning incense “under every green tree” (v. 4). Of course, none of this worked, and Ahaz became subject to the Assyrian King, and Judah with him.
The moral of the story? When we seek to find answers from the world, we only dig our own graves. Ahaz took a pragmatic rather than a theological approach to his Kingdom. He had been raised with a righteous dad, but the influence of the world was too strong. His worldview is what got him in trouble: it was a world without Almighty God.
You are in one of two positions today: either you have been obedient to God, like Jotham, and the world refuses to listen, or you have been “of the world” for so long, that you are continually searching the “best practices” of the world in order to improve your lot in life.
Ahaz “slept with his fathers…but they did not bring him into the tombs of the kings of Israel” (v. 7). This is where the ways of the world got Ahaz.
So, what you do, do after searching the scriptures for truth, rather than searching the world for answers.
In His Grace, Dr. Randy White