There is rarely a father and son of so great a contrast as Ahaz and Hezekiah. Both were Kings of Judah, but there, I’m afraid, the similarities end. It makes an interesting study to examine the godliness of Hezekiah against the backdrop of his wicked father King Ahaz. This study will examine the character of King Ahaz. In him we see the attitude and actions of a man far from the Lord. He is the darkness before the dawn you might say. While most of the study will be from 2nd Chronicles chapter 28, we will also look briefly at 2 Kings 16 for some additional information concerning Ahaz.
2 Chron 28:1-4 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he
The Bible doesn’t muck around does it? Within one verse of introducing us to this new king we are taken straight into the depths of his unfaithfulness. I have added these verses above so that we can quickly see what the word of God records concerning Ahaz, King of Judah. In short, he’s a shocker. He worshipped and gave offerings to the Baals and even sacrificed his own son in the fire to appease these so called ‘gods’. Like I said, he’s a nasty piece of work.
2 Chron 28:5,17-19 Therefore the
LORD his God handed him over to the king
So what was the result for our not so godly
King Ahaz? Well, in the language of the New
Testament, he ‘reaped what he sowed.’ The Lord allowed many nations to attack
2 Kings 16:7-11 Ahaz sent messengers
to say to Tiglath-Pileser king of
Part of the story we now pick up from 2 Kings chapter 16. With enemies all around him, Ahaz cries out to the King of Assyria saying ‘I am your servant… come and save me! And did I mention that I’ll give you a big bag of gold as well?’ Oh, Ahaz! To cry for help is fine, but why didn’t you direct your question to the Lord? The Lord Jesus deserves, and has purchased, the right to be number one in our lives. It is to Him that we are to look.
Notice also that King Ahaz
eventually went to
2 Chron 28:20-23 Tiglath-Pileser king of
It wasn’t long before even the King of Assyria was against King Ahaz. It was a pivotal point in Ahaz’ life for we read that ‘In his time of trouble…’ Wouldn’t it be good if we could finish the sentence? What would you expect, and like to read about this man who has blatantly walked away from the Lord and is found reaping the consequences of his foolish sowing? Well, it would be nice to read that in the time of his trouble Ahaz called on the Lord and repented. It would be nice… but, unfortunately, this isn’t a soppy novel. Trouble often has the effect of pushing a person further from, or further toward, the Lord. In this case Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the Lord!
There is another point here as the true
character of Ahaz is again seen in his act of worshipping
the gods of
So what was the result of all this? Did Ahaz’ worldliness and pragmatic approach help him? We read
the solemn closing words in the passage above that ‘they were his downfall and the downfall of all
2 Chron 28:25 Ahaz gathered together the utensils of the house of God and
cut the utensils in pieces; He shut the doors of the LORD’s temple and set up altars at every street corner
Finally we see the actions of Ahaz in cutting up the temple utensils and locking the
doors so that no one can worship the true God. He also set up his own altars at
every street corner throughout
2 Chron 28:27 Ahaz rested with his fathers and was buried in the city of
The Bible concludes this chapter with a word about Ahaz’ death, mentioning that they buried him in the city and not in the tombs of the Kings of Israel. Fair enough too! He deserves no better. As dark as this period has been however, it is, as I’m sure you will recall, the darkness before the dawn. For to be fair, Ahaz did give one good thing to the world and that (somehow!) is his godly son Hezekiah. Hezekiah is the shining light of revival that we shall examine in the next study.
 There is a small example at the mount of transfiguration, when Moses and Elijah were seen with Jesus. Peter was obviously over-awed at the thought of being in the presence of two of the greatest men in Jewish history and indirectly placed Jesus on the same level as Moses and Elijah. God’s answer was to speak from Heaven declaring ‘This is my beloved Son, listen to Him!’ And take notice of the next verse – ‘All at once they looked around and saw no one with them anymore, EXCEPT JESUS ALONE.’ That is the way it has to be! We so quickly look to other men or other things but Jesus is second to none.
 John Macarthur writes in his book ‘Ashamed of the gospel’ (pages
69-70) of the depths to which some large churches in
Over one hundred years ago, C.H Spurgeon saw what was coming as preachers moved away from the truth of scripture and resorted to methods of entertaining the crowd. He labelled it the ‘down grade’. His comments are even more relevant today. He wrote ‘On the “Down-Grade” the train travels very fast: another station has been passed. What next? And what next?’
 When trouble strikes
some blame the Lord and are pushed further away. I know people like this. It is
usually those that have been led to believe that God should be making
everything easy for them. How much better is the example of Manasseh, King Ahaz’ grandchild. Now here was another wicked man. Read
about him in 2 Chron 33. Another bad egg I’m afraid.
But, when the Lord allowed him to be taken captive to
 Pragmatism is the notion that if it works it must be good. If it doesn’t work then it must be wrong. In the modern day rush to be a ‘contemporary church’ pragmatism seems to rule as truth gives way to flash marketing and a watered down gospel to draw a bigger crowd. As mentioned earlier, an interesting book on the subject is ‘Ashamed of the gospel’ by John Macarthur.
 We see it within society in a generation that has largely abandoned truth and compiled together a hodgepodge of ‘spiritual’ beliefs incorporating forms of Christianity with Hindu meditation and New Age spirit guides. To them it doesn’t matter if something is right or wrong. Whether it works is all that matters. We see it within the church by incorporating all manner of worldly tricks to get a crowd. Years ago (in 1955 actually) A.W Tozer wrote ‘For centuries the church stood solidly against every form of worldly entertainment, recognising it for what it was…but of late she appears to have decided that if she cannot conquer the great god Entertainment she may as well join forces with him and make what use she can of his powers.’ Imagine if A.W Tozer, whose reputation and writings are still highly regarded today, could see what it is like now?
 Ok, this will be a rather large footnote but don’t let that put you off. Before going to be with the Lord, Barry Smith, an evangelist and author of several books, wrote his final book called ‘Unlocking the ultimate secret: The mystery of the gospel.’ In it, Barry Smith looks at what gospel is being preached by different churches. Now, one part of the book really grabbed me.
Barry writes ‘The issue (about what gospel is being preached) is so important that I felt to contact the leadership of each of these churches to find out if they knew their own church’s official teaching on salvation. Here is my question:
“You have 5 minutes in a condemned man’s cell to prepare him spiritually for eternity which immediately follows his execution. What would you say to him?”
(The following is merely a general statement)
Anglican: Infant Baptism with believing parents – Later, confirmation into the church.
Presbyterian: Infant Baptism with believing parents.
Methodist: Infant Baptism with believing parents.
Congregational: Infant Baptism with believing parents.
Roman Catholic: Infant Baptism with believing parents. Also adhere to and practise the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. In this denomination, the priest and church member alike, must believe every church doctrine as it stands. This is called ‘dogma’. Any who do not agree should leave the church.
Orthodox: Infant Baptism with believing parents.
Open Brethren: Gospel of the grace of God
Baptist: Gospel of the grace of God.
Assembly of God: Gospel of the grace of God
Independent Pentecostal: Generally speaking, the gospel of the grace of God.
Seventh Day Adventists: Receive Christ and keep the law.
What do I take from all of that? Well, that Ahaz is still closing the temple doors! These churches that preach infant baptism for salvation or a keeping of the law for salvation are shutting the door of salvation and preventing the true worship of God to be performed. Given that the question put to these churches concerned a condemned man with only five minutes to live, answers of infant baptism and the like are criminal! It is craziness! Even if you forget the question altogether, the Bible still doesn’t even speak of infant baptism… let alone for salvation!