“That they may successfully do evil with both hands – the prince asks for gifts, the judge seeks a bribe, and the great man utters his evil desire; so they scheme together.” (Micah 7: 3)
In the history of the many kings recorded in the Bible, many fell short in some area or another (typically, allowing sacrifice in the high places). However, of Ahaz, the Bible chose to cut to the chase. It simply and very clearly said that “he did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD his God”. (2 Kings 16: 2).
When Ahaz became king, he had already been blessed with many brilliant role models, both immediately in his father, Jotham, and historically in his ancestor, David. Nevertheless, Ahaz refused to follow in the footsteps of these godly examples and chose to walk in his own ways instead.
In addition, he willingly embraced the ungodly ways of the kings of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Both godly and ungodly kings reigned in the Southern Kingdom of Judah, but only ungodly kings reigned in the Northern Kingdom of Judah, and Ahaz decided to follow their pattern. (2 Kings 16: 3)
“I am your servant and your son. Come up and save me” (2 Kings 16: 7).
Here, Ahaz placed himself as the petitioning vassal. He surrendered to one enemy (Tiglath-Pileser, king of Assyria), in order to defeat another (Rezin, king of Syria). He refused to trust in the God of Israel and instead, submitted himself and his kingdom into both hands of an enemy of Israel.
“Thus did Urijah the priest, according to all that King Ahaz commanded.” (2 Kings 16: 16)
Urijah not only allowed Ahaz to carry out all his sinful acts; he readily participated in Ahaz’s wicked and idolatrous plans, unlike the priests in the days of King Uzziah, who did all they could to restrain the madness of the king (2 Chronicles 26:16-23).
It is indeed evident that corrupt political leaders are almost always able to find corrupt religious leaders to support them in their immoral deeds. When one man falls, he pulls with him the rest who follow.
Ahaz had zero relationship with God. He was interested in spiritual matters, and made great spiritual sacrifices, including the sacrifice of his own sons to Molech, but he destroyed the link that his father, Jotham, secured between the palace and the temple, and thus destroyed his own precious and sacred relationship with God.
He put trust in himself and in great men, instead of the living God who has power over all. Ahaz possessed much of what men still admire and magnify today, but all of which, without godliness, is absolutely worthless. So, let us try harder to dig deeper and take root in the only true God who holds us down.
May the Good Lord guide and keep us.