2 Kings 16:1-9 (Part 1) – How Could You Do That, Ahaz?

Posted: August 20, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 16:1-9 (Part 1 of 2)

Ahaz Begins His Reign in Judah

If we lived in a nation where babies were offered up in fires as sacrifices to pagan gods, what would our response be? That is what was happening in Israel and Judah during the time of 2 Kings. So prevalent was the practice, even King Ahaz of Judah offered up his own child in such a practice. We condemn it as we read it. Consciously choosing to throw your baby into a fire is an unthinkable act today.

For me, when I held my first child, though I was scared to death, at age 22 almost 23, I fell in love with the kind of love that you can only know when you have a child. I thought that I could not love another child as much as I loved our first child, but when my second daughter was born 5 ½ years later, I found a completely new love that I didn’t know I had the capacity for. When I felt each child kick in their mother’s womb, I was amazed at this miracle that is the conception and gestation of a child. Each of my girls (including, now, my stepdaughter of almost 10 years) are my heartbeat. I would take a bullet for each of them if it meant that they could continue to live. Then, there is my little granddaughter, now 3 years old. What a joy she is and how she has her grandpa simply wrapped around her finger! These children and grandchildren. These young ladies. What I would not do to save the lives of these girls. That’s where I just cringe when I read about Ahaz sacrificing his own child to a god. I just don’t understand how anyone such as the king in this passage could just throw an innocent baby into a fire to appease an idol.

We are all made in God’s image and He knows us intimately even before we are born:

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

If God values our unformed bodies and already has our days ordained before birth, it is certain that He values the life of an innocent child after birth. Who is this king to decide for the child whether he or she gets to live or not? It did not take long after either of my children’s births for me to quickly not be able to see my life without them. Same with my stepdaughter. Same with my granddaughter. How quickly our children become essential parts of our lives. How can this king not give his child a chance to become an essential, irreplaceable part of his life? Sacrificing your child in a fire to an idol is essentially making this king his own god. He was deciding whether his own child lived or died. Is that not the prerogative of our God and not man?

That’s the heart wrenching thing that I thought of this morning. How could a parent of a baby throw their own child into a fire as a sacrifice to an idol? It made my think of my own children, stepchild and granddaughter. I would rather die myself in their place than have them suffer a death such as this. As we think of that idea, let’s read the passage, 2 Kings 16:1-9, now:

Chapter 16

1 In the seventeenth year of Pekah son of Remaliah, King Ahaz son of Jotham of Judah began to reign. 2 Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign; he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. He did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord his God, as his ancestor David had done, 3 but he walked in the way of the kings of Israel. He even made his son pass through fire, according to the abominable practices of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. 4 He sacrificed and made offerings on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.

5 Then King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel came up to wage war on Jerusalem; they besieged Ahaz but could not conquer him. 6 At that time the king of Edom[a] recovered Elath for Edom,[b] and drove the Judeans from Elath; and the Edomites came to Elath, where they live to this day. 7 Ahaz sent messengers to King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your son. Come up, and rescue me from the hand of the king of Aram and from the hand of the king of Israel, who are attacking me.” 8 Ahaz also took the silver and gold found in the house of the Lord and in the treasures of the king’s house, and sent a present to the king of Assyria. 9 The king of Assyria listened to him; the king of Assyria marched up against Damascus, and took it, carrying its people captive to Kir; then he killed Rezin.

In this passage, the most disturbing thing that we see is that King Ahaz offered up his own son as a sacrifice in a fire to a pagan god. Imagine the monstrous evil of a religion that offers young children as sacrifices. God allowed the nation to be conquered in response to Ahaz’s evil practices. May we take heed of this passage in the 21st century and realize that all life is valuable to the Lord God.

Whether a person is a grown-up, or a baby, born or unborn. Whether a person is red, yellow, black, or white. Whether a person is young or old, God places value on our lives. We are made in His image. He knows us before we are even born. He is the one that knits us together through the miracle of conception and gestation. Even that moment of conception is a flat out miracle of God. That a sperm and an egg create life can be scientifically described and all that and we get that (after all science is simply us beginning to understand the details of the universe that God created), but the way that conception creates a pattern of cell multiplication that turns into a baby over 9 months is a “why” that we still don’t fully understand. That moment of conception begins the process of life. From that point forward, whether we are red, yellow, black or white, young or old, rich or poor, young or old, we have value in the sight of God.

Let us give glory to God for life. Let us give glory to God for the way that He knits us together in our mother’s wombs. Let us give glory to God for how little babies in our arms miraculous make us fall in love with them for life. Let us give glory to God for our kids who grow up to have our grandkids and how we find love we never knew we had in us for each new life that God gives us in our children and their children.

Amen and Amen.

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