2 Chronicles 28:16-27 – Are You A Christian Up Until It Conflicts with Culture?

Posted: October 15, 2020 in 14-2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 28:16-27

Ahaz Closes the Temple

Opening Illustration/Comments

Do you have the faith to stand on your spiritual principles rather than compromise or be silent in the face of that which is unjust, unholy, and wrong? When I look back on history there have been those who were willing to face death rather than compromise their principles. And there have been just as many who quietly stood by as bad things happened.

First there are men like Martin Luther King, Jr. He and those like him in other struggles through history have had the God-given boldness to stand up for what is right in the face of overwhelming opposition and pressure. He started early when he was in his 20’s in Montgomery, AL. And that leadership of the bus boycotts against discriminatory practices of the bus system there pushed him into the national spotlight in the fight against racial discrimination and oppression. He could have easily walked away from the hard fight that was his daily life for over 13 years right up until the day of his assassination in 1968. He could have shied away from the titanic struggle of the civil rights movement. He was up against generations of institutionalized racial oppression in the South and against the rest of the country that wanted to stick its head in the sand about the issue. He could have just compromised and went along with the status quo of race relations in America and nothing would have ever changed. He would have had an easier and longer life if he had done so. However, he chose the harder road that God had called him toward. Though his life was cut short, his words and his actions resonate forward through the decades since. He was one of those people that you can honestly say that changed America, for the better.

Then, there are those who stand quietly by as that which is wrong continues. There are those who compromise their ethics just to avoid struggles and troubles and persecution. Obviously, in the South, during the years of legalized and societal structures of racial oppression not everyone was a bigot. Sure, there were great relationships between blacks and whites in most places in the South. True and honest love for one another was surely present between the races in those days. However, even those with the most open minds about race relations knew the limits of those relationships in the apartheid culture of the South in those days. It was when a situation required a white person to go beyond those boundaries that their principles of what is right and wrong would stop for fear of retribution and social isolation that would result. There were those who would love their black brothers and sisters but only up to a point where it did not violate the unspoken, ever present, hanging over the society, rules of apartheid in the South. The same could be said of everyday German people and everyday folks in the lands that the Germans conquered in World War II. Everybody came to know that the Jews were being oppressed and rounded up and exterminated during the course of the Nazi regime. But what made it successful was the quiet acceptance of the whole thing by the German people and the people of their occupied lands. Nobody was willing to go up against the Nazi machine. Compromise of ethics. Compromise of spiritual principles of God that we know to be true. The appalling silence of the good people perpetuated both situations.

It is that idea of standing up against what is wrong or quietly compromising with it is what I thought of this morning when reading this passage, 2 Chronicles 28:16-27. Let us read through it this morning, together, with that idea in mind:

Scripture Passage

6 At that time King Ahaz of Judah asked the king of Assyria for help. 17 The armies of Edom had again invaded Judah and taken captives. 18 And the Philistines had raided towns located in the foothills of Judah[c] and in the Negev of Judah. They had already captured and occupied Beth-shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, Soco with its villages, Timnah with its villages, and Gimzo with its villages. 19 The Lord was humbling Judah because of King Ahaz of Judah,[d] for he had encouraged his people to sin and had been utterly unfaithful to the Lord.

20 So when King Tiglath-pileser[e] of Assyria arrived, he attacked Ahaz instead of helping him. 21 Ahaz took valuable items from the Lord’s Temple, the royal palace, and from the homes of his officials and gave them to the king of Assyria as tribute. But this did not help him.

22 Even during this time of trouble, King Ahaz continued to reject the Lord. 23 He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus who had defeated him, for he said, “Since these gods helped the kings of Aram, they will help me, too, if I sacrifice to them.” But instead, they led to his ruin and the ruin of all Judah.

24 The king took the various articles from the Temple of God and broke them into pieces. He shut the doors of the Lord’s Temple so that no one could worship there, and he set up altars to pagan gods in every corner of Jerusalem. 25 He made pagan shrines in all the towns of Judah for offering sacrifices to other gods. In this way, he aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of his ancestors.

26 The rest of the events of Ahaz’s reign and everything he did, from beginning to end, are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 27 When Ahaz died, he was buried in Jerusalem but not in the royal cemetery of the kings of Judah. Then his son Hezekiah became the next king..

Passage Analysis

In this passage, we see that difficulties and struggles can devastate people, or they can stimulate growth and maturity. For Ahaz, deep troubles led to spiritual collapse and ethical compromise. We do not need to respond as Ahaz did. When facing problems or tragedies, we must remember that tough times give us a chance to grow. As James 1:2-4 states,

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

Ahaz was trying to control his own situation and doing whatever he thought would gain him favor with the foreign king whose forces were overrunning his country. Do you make compromises to your ethics and to your faith during times of extreme distress and pressure?

Life Application

I think the thing that we need to takeaway this morning is that we are citizens of God’s kingdom first before we are citizens of our earthly nations and cultures. We must filter the goings on of our nation and culture through the first filter and it should affect how we respond. We should not filter our Christian beliefs first through our cultural and national filter. We must filter our culture’s activities and events through our Christian filter first before out cultural and national filter. We must respond to our culture based on God’s Word and we must be strong enough in the Lord to say, “Hey, this is wrong and it’s clearly against God’s Word!” We must be willing to accept the ridicule of our culture for what we know to be the universal and eternal truths of the Bible. We must not compromise God’s principles just to make ourselves more appealing to that overhanging culture that permeates the air. We must not be Christians up to the point that it conflicts with culture and then begin compromising with the culture on those points. We must be Christ followers all the time, even when it brings us in dangerous conflict with the culture. Sometimes, God calls us to do that which is hard so that the culture can be shocked into looking at itself and hopefully bring itself back into alignment with God’s will and His plan.

Amen and Amen.

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