Jump Start # 2512
2 Chronicles 28:21 “And 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; but it did not help him.”
I am teaching the book of Isaiah. It’s a great messianic book. It is referred to more in the N.T. than any other O.T. book. It’s also a book based upon the political climate of the times. Judah, Israel, Syria and Assyria are major players in this book. God is behind the scenes, moving nations for a purpose. Most have no clue.
Our verse today mirrors some of the things stated in Isaiah. Judah was in a pinch. Assyria was on the move. Israel and Syria formed an alliance to protect themselves. They wanted Judah to join them. Judah refused. So, Syria and Israel invaded Judah. Many are killed and many are captured. About this same time, the Philistines come into the southern region of Judah. Judah is being squeezed from the North and the South.
Ahaz is the king. He’s desperate. Things look bad. This is where our verse is found. Ahaz robs the temple and the palace and sends the money to Assyria with the hopes that they will side with Judah. With the strong arm of the Assyrians, Israel, Syria and even the Philistines wouldn’t be a problem. This is where Isaiah comes in. The prophet tells the king to trust God. Don’t fear Israel and Syria. God will deliver. Ahaz panics and doesn’t believe. The money is sent. And, as our verse ends, “it did not help him.”
It did not help him could be said of us, each time we fail to trust God. It could be said of us when we turn to other options than God. Like ole’ Ahaz, we can feel pinched and in a corner. We can feel like there is no other option. We can feel like all hope is gone. So, we cut a deal with the devil. We run out of patience. We run low on faith. Scared, unsure, we try an alliance with the enemy. It never works out. The enemy does not help.
Here is man who is discouraged in his marriage. He feels that the intimacy is missing and that there is no hope of changing things. Weeks drag into months and that into years. Lonely, desperate, discouraged, he finds pleasure in the arms of another woman. It’s exciting at first. He thinks this alliance will help things. But, as our passage says, “it did not help him.” His affair is discovered. The walls come tumbling down. Guilt and shame have taken over. He may be looking at a divorce. His whole world is upside down. He never saw any of this coming. His choice did not help him.
Here is a young couple who are discouraged with the church. They attend, but something is missing. A friend invites them to another kind of church. It’s not as Biblical. They do many things that their church would never do. It’s heavily based upon feelings. Not much Bible is taught. There seems to be no accountability. You can come and go as you please and as often or as little as you please. No one seems to know what anyone believes other than Jesus loves them. The music is wild. The preaching is funny. This couple keeps going. But, little by little they are drifting from the Lord. They begin doing things that they would never do in the past. A little social drinking. A little looseness of morals. With a death of someone they know, they are confused. Their new church assures everyone that the person is with the Lord in Heaven. But this couple knows things. They know the person rarely, if ever worshipped. They know this person didn’t have a godly character. Now, this couple doesn’t know what to believe. They thought finding a new church would help them. But it hasn’t. They have more questions than ever before. They are discouraged and feel like something is missing. What they thought would be a good choice, wasn’t. Their choice did not help them.
Ahaz’ problem was a faith issue. He saw problems but he never saw the Lord. Isaiah gave him words from the Lord. Isaiah even gave him a sign. But the troubles about him see all too great. His lack of faith led him to some poor choices. It wasn’t that he didn’t know. The prophet told him. Still, he wouldn’t believe. He wouldn’t listen.
Much of this takes us to the Lord’s story about the wise man and the foolish man. Both men experienced rain, floods and wind. So intense was the storm that one house collapsed. The house that stood was built upon the rock, which is Jesus Christ. Most times we don’t see foundations. The house is built upon the foundation and with landscaping and dirt, the foundation is covered up. It’s there, but we don’t think much about it. The foundation is the first part that is built. Laid square, strong and straight, that foundation will hold up a house, even in strong winds.
When troubles come, what is holding you up? When troubles come, where do you turn to? When troubles come, what are you looking at? The God who is in us is greater than anything outside of us. God is greater than any of our troubles. So, when troubles come and that wind blows against your life, that’s not the time to run. It’s the time to get down to the church house and worship. It’s not the time to turn to Facebook. It’s the time to open the Scriptures. It’s not time to turn to the enemies and try to find help there. It’s time to surround yourself with the people of God.
Rather than trusting God, Ahaz robbed God. Rather than falling to his knees, Ahaz ran to the Assyrians. Rather than believing God, he believed Assyria would help. Eve believed the serpent. And, ever since, we have been listening to the enemy and trusting their words over the word of the Lord.
Be still, the Psalmist wrote, and know that I am God! He’s there. He always has been and He always will be. Maybe a little wind blowing the shutters will make us look deep within and ask ourselves just who we believe. For the disciples, it was a storm on the sea. For you and I, it may be a storm in our lives.
Isaiah declared in his vision, “My eyes have seen the king.” The King wasn’t Uzziah, Ahaz or any other man. It was the Lord. May our eyes be opened that we, too, may see the King.