2 Kings 16:10-18 – Trying So Hard to Fit In That You Lose Who You Are

Posted: August 26, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 16:10-18

Ahaz Changes the Temple

Changing to suit someone else. Changing to fit in. Changing to get along in the culture in which we operate. That’s what we see in this passage. Changing who you are just to suit another is what we see in this passage. It so reminds me of the life that I used to live. And this passage is a challenge to us today as the Christian church.

For me, I was a people pleaser. I was a chameleon. Growing up as a Methodist preacher’s kid, we moved a lot as I was growing up. So, in that process of moving so often, I became adept at fitting in. My brother, on the other hand, marched to his own drummer and stood out like a sore thumb. As for me, I was a blender. I mixed in. I wanted to be part of the crowd. Over the years, I learned the best way not to stick out was to fit in. Along the way, I forgot who I was. I allowed others to determine who I was and how I felt about myself. When you do that, you are in for a rollercoaster of a life. Through two marriages where I made pleasing and appeasing each wife the main aim of life, I was tossed about by the wind just trying to make sure we got along. When you don’t know who you are, you begin to feel that your own feelings are not valid because they have no anchor. You live by what others think of you. You live for their approval. You have to change yourself to make sure you fit the mold of who others want you to be. It was not until I accepted Christ as my Savior at age 39 that I began to realize that I truly had value on my own. I began to realize that my value was not determined by others. I began to realize that I needed to seek God’s approval and not man’s. Sure, we want others to like us but if that is the anchor to our lives and not God then we are making idols out of human beings. I know that is what I did. I do not blame anyone but myself for that. I just so wanted to fit in, to be loved physically and emotionally, to feel approved that I gave away the power over my life to others. When we make approval of others the guiding light of our lives, we allow others to be become our gods and not the One and Only True God.

That is what I thought about today when I read about King Ahaz’s attempts to curry favor with the Assyrian empire’s king. He changed everything that Judah had stood for just to win favor of a pagan king. He was willing to completely change the Temple of God to curry favor with man. It reminded me of myself before Christ and for some time afterwards as I was beginning to mature in Christ. It reminded me also of the challenge that faces the American church in the 21st century. Let’s read about King Ahaz now in 2 Kings 16:10-18 now:

10 King Ahaz then went to Damascus to meet with King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria. While he was there, he took special note of the altar. Then he sent a model of the altar to Uriah the priest, along with its design in full detail. 11 Uriah followed the king’s instructions and built an altar just like it, and it was ready before the king returned from Damascus. 12 When the king returned, he inspected the altar and made offerings on it. 13 He presented a burnt offering and a grain offering, he poured out a liquid offering, and he sprinkled the blood of peace offerings on the altar.

14 Then King Ahaz removed the old bronze altar from its place in front of the Lord’s Temple, between the entrance and the new altar, and placed it on the north side of the new altar. 15 He told Uriah the priest, “Use the new altar[a] for the morning sacrifices of burnt offering, the evening grain offering, the king’s burnt offering and grain offering, and the burnt offerings of all the people, as well as their grain offerings and liquid offerings. Sprinkle the blood from all the burnt offerings and sacrifices on the new altar. The bronze altar will be for my personal use only.” 16 Uriah the priest did just as King Ahaz commanded him.

17 Then the king removed the side panels and basins from the portable water carts. He also removed the great bronze basin called the Sea from the backs of the bronze oxen and placed it on the stone pavement. 18 In deference to the king of Assyria, he also removed the canopy that had been constructed inside the palace for use on the Sabbath day,[b] as well as the king’s outer entrance to the Temple of the Lord.

In this passage, we see that King Ahaz copied pagan religious customs, changed the Temple services, and used the Temple altar for his personal benefit. In so doing, he demonstrated a callous disregard for God’s Word. We condemn Ahaz for his actions, but we act the same way if we try to mold God’s message to fit our personal preferences, our to suit the culture around us. King Ahaz was trying to curry the favor of a foreign king so he changed the entire worship system of Judah, a system that was God-ordained and God-directed.

The biggest challenge to me by the Holy Spirit after I accepted Christ as my Savior was to stop seeking validation through the women in my life. I had lived so much of my life trying to gain acceptance that I confused acceptance with love. I thought they were one and the same. And I was willing to do anything to maintain acceptance. That is also the Holy Spirit’s challenge to us as the 21st century church. Do we bend ourselves like King Ahaz to make everything about the church more acceptable to the culture around us just so we can fit in and feel accepted. Do we altar the temple, so to speak, to suit the needs the culture that we are so desperately trying to win the favor of?

Or do we march to our own drummer – the only drummer who really matters in the end – God? Do we change what two millenia of believers have come to understand the God’s Word to mean just to suit current trends in the culture? Do we change what God’s Word has eternally meant and what He guided believers over the centuries to understand just because of a change in the prevailing cultural norms that exist in the world now? Do we abandon what we have come to understand about the Bible through the guidance of the Holy Spirit? The reason that the theological beliefs of the Christian church have developed over two millenia is not because of man himself defining them. Rather, it is because the Holy Spirit has ensured that the meaning of Scripture has not changed to each generation of believers. The beliefs of Christianity have had consistency through the ages because of Holy Spirit guidance and direction.

Where do you find your value – in others? How did that work out for you? I know for me that it did not end well. King Ahaz was trying to win favor of a pagan king so much that he changed the very basis of who Judea was. For Ahaz and the future of ancient Israel, it did not end well either. Let the church today remember its first love, God, and live for His approval.

Amen and Amen.

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