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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ahaz, King of Laodicea

 “Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying, Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.” (Isa. 7:10-12).

Ahaz was so nice and cordial and Laodicean toward the messenger of the Lord. Was that the response the Lord wanted from this leader of heaven’s movement on earth? What greater offense can our self-righteousness give God than to turn down a personal invitation to receive a gift from the great, loving King of heaven? But, “Who is Jehovah?” (Ex. 5:2) to an idolater like this king? His heart was stolen away by false religion.

“Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: but he did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD, like David his father: for he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made also molten images for Baalim. Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. He sacrificed also and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree. Wherefore the LORD his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they smote him, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter.” (2Chron. 28:1-5).

He saw a large, sprawling altar during a visit to Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser when he went to flatter him and pay him to protect Judah; and Ahaz had the same pagan altar built for the temple of Jehovah. He even converted one of the temple porches for the Hebrew kings on the Sabbath day into a resting place for the king of Assyrian. Would the Lord co-habit His house with a corrupted and violent son of the devil? Did Ahaz have no concept of Jehovah’s holiness?

“And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this is that king Ahaz. For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel. And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem. And in every several city of Judah he made high places to burn incense unto other gods, and provoked to anger the LORD God of his fathers.” (2Chron. 28:22-25).

Ahaz had no time for the Lord because his heart had never been converted. Then, as life progressed, he further offended by being won over to open Baal worship, and a succession of increasingly grosser blatant offenses.

He was cool to the God of love; never had he known the love to the Lord, nor would he ever.

He should have abdicated the throne to prevent being the “the ruin…of all Israel.” (2Chron. 28:23). But, since when does sin ever abdicate the throne, or admit to having a problem? Since when does it ever willingly humble itself? This is why it takes so long for sin to be exterminated, especially when God loved Ahaz and He loves every other rebellious sinner.

Ahaz’s heart was decidedly hoping in Baal worship. All loyalty to the Hebrew religion was diluted by the world’s lawless, non-convicting, non-reproving, non-converting religion. In Baal, the king could have the privilege of highest place in the church. No one was higher to tell him what he ever did wrong. No prophet, except the rare prophet of the Lord, would appeal to help him see himself as he really was. In that wicked religion all the people would applaud his every action (or be killed). And, the people loved Baal also because by applauding a lawless religion, they could enjoy lawlessness, too! “Live and let live!” “Don’t judge me!”

And with some Spiritual Formation, the people could mesmerize themselves and actually hear voices coming from idols as they bowed to them or to the Sun, or Moon, or the stars. Great religion! Great fun! Great acceptance by the whole world, great response from the gods!

Spiritual Formation: Laodicea on steroids; but, Laodicea nonetheless. Because, after all the hype and sensationalism, the self-help and self-abuse, the body becomes enervated and morally effeminate. Then apathy sets in—Laodicea. According to Revelation chapter 3, Laodicea is just as outwardly good as Pergamos or Thyatira. Pergamos’ and Thyatira’s excitement by lust, or Laodicea’s being spent of all love—makes no difference to the adversary. In either case the attention is off the Lord. Red slippers or black Cossack; either way, the godly manhood is wasted.

Ahaz did the same as Cain. He would not allow God to win his heart. He wouldn’t give the Holy Ghost an opening, which the dying lamb could have done for Cain, and the proffered sign from Isaiah (Isa. 7:10) could have done for Ahaz. Neither of these professed Christians permitted God opportunity to convert them, and both died in his sins.

Without redemption, Ahaz and Cain were naturally susceptible to the temptation of Baal worship to ease their chastisement of peace. In the case of Ahaz, he was enthralled with the gold and mystery of it all. He had to have one of his own. The Assyrian religion and culture was all he could think about. Its enchantment took him by storm, without the staying power of the Holy Spirit.

For Cain, anything must do other than a suffering, innocent little lamb and the resulting heart’s sorrow and obligation to the Lord God.

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