Some still Believe

Sometimes the Bible takes twists and turns, and some of the turns surprise us.  Ahaz came to power at a time when the nation of Israel was caught up in idol worship and sins against God, while Judah was more in line with the will of God for them.  However, Ahaz broke that allegiance to God – And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done, but he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel. He even made metal images for the Baals, and he made offerings in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom and burned his sons as an offering, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel.  
 The sins of Ahaz brought great consequences to the nation of Judah – they were defeated by the Syrians, who took many of their people captive.  Their fellows Jews attacked them – He was also given into the hand of the king of Israel, who struck him with great force. For Pekah the son of Remaliah killed 120,000 from Judah in one day, all of them men of valor, because they had forsaken the Lord, the God of their fathers.  They also executed many of those closest to Ahaz – his palace chief, the prior kings son (his brother most likely) and his second in command.  Having already suffered this great defeat, things only got worse.  The men of Israel took captive 200,000 of their relatives, women, sons, and daughters. They also took much spoil from them and brought the spoil to Samaria.  On top of that great defeat in battle, they were losing their wives, children, and wealth.  
But a prophet of the Lord was there, whose name was Oded, and he went out to meet the army that came to Samaria and said to them, “Behold, because the Lord, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, he gave them into your hand, but you have killed them in a rage that has reached up to heaven.”  So here’s the twist.  In the midst of showing his rage on Judah using Syria and Israel, God uses some of those in Israel to show his mercy.  Obed correctly gives credit for their victory to God, and also correctly recognizes that they have overstepped their bounds.  And now you intend to subjugate the people of Judah and Jerusalem, male and female, as your slaves. Have you not sins of your own against the Lord your God?   Obed turned his people away from the sin they were about to commit in enslaving some of their own people.  How often do we need to exercise such humility in recognizing the hand of God when we have our own success instead of taking prof in what we’ve done and only wanting to push for more, more of what God has given us?   Other leaders of Israel saw what Obeds was saying and agreed, saying  “You shall not bring the captives in here, for you propose to bring upon us guilt against the Lord in addition to our present sins and guilt. For our guilt is already great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel.”   Why add sin to sins??   God had given Israel the victory not because of their own goodness, but because of the sin Judah had fallen into under Ahaz.  Why invite the same judgement on themselves when they are already so deep in sin?  
 So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the assembly. And the men who have been mentioned by name rose and took the captives, and with the spoil they clothed all who were naked among them. They clothed them, gave them sandals, provided them with food and drink, and anointed them, and carrying all the feeble among them on donkeys, they brought them to their kinsfolk at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned to Samaria.”  The grace of God!  Not only did they release their relatives from being imprisoned, they clothed them, fed them, and escorted them safely on what was a lengthy journey.  This is a great example that even when Israel was deep into a period of national and moral decline, there were still plenty of people who believed in and trusted in God.  So there was still hope!   Is the same true today??  I’d like to think so…


“Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done, but he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel. He even made metal images for the Baals, and he made offerings in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom and burned his sons as an offering, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. And he sacrificed and made offerings on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree. Therefore the Lord his God gave him into the hand of the king of Syria, who defeated him and took captive a great number of his people and brought them to Damascus. He was also given into the hand of the king of Israel, who struck him with great force. For Pekah the son of Remaliah killed 120,000 from Judah in one day, all of them men of valor, because they had forsaken the Lord, the God of their fathers. And Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, killed Maaseiah the king’s son and Azrikam the commander of the palace and Elkanah the next in authority to the king. The men of Israel took captive 200,000 of their relatives, women, sons, and daughters. They also took much spoil from them and brought the spoil to Samaria. But a prophet of the Lord was there, whose name was Oded, and he went out to meet the army that came to Samaria and said to them, “Behold, because the Lord, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, he gave them into your hand, but you have killed them in a rage that has reached up to heaven. And now you intend to subjugate the people of Judah and Jerusalem, male and female, as your slaves. Have you not sins of your own against the Lord your God? Now hear me, and send back the captives from your relatives whom you have taken, for the fierce wrath of the Lord is upon you.” Certain chiefs also of the men of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against those who were coming from the war and said to them, “You shall not bring the captives in here, for you propose to bring upon us guilt against the Lord in addition to our present sins and guilt. For our guilt is already great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel.” So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the assembly. And the men who have been mentioned by name rose and took the captives, and with the spoil they clothed all who were naked among them. They clothed them, gave them sandals, provided them with food and drink, and anointed them, and carrying all the feeble among them on donkeys, they brought them to their kinsfolk at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned to Samaria.”
‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭28:1-15‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/2ch.28.1-15.esv

 

John Lewis

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