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 2nd Kings 16:10-16

"Syncretism!"

A wicked blending of heathen religious practices with the great truths of the Bible!

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15

 

 

 

 

"And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that was at Damascus: and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof. And Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus: so Urijah the priest made it against king Ahaz came from Damascus. And when the king was come from Damascus, the king saw the altar: and the king approached to the altar, and offered thereon. And he burnt his burnt offering and his meat offering, and poured his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his peace offerings, upon the altar. And he brought also the brasen altar, which was before the LORD, from the forefront of the house, from between the altar and the house of the LORD, and put it on the north side of the altar. And king Ahaz commanded Urijah the priest, saying, Upon the great altar burn the morning burnt offering, and the evening meat offering, and the king's burnt sacrifice, and his meat offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings; and sprinkle upon it all the blood of the burnt offering, and all the blood of the sacrifice: and the brasen altar shall be for me to enquire by. Thus did Urijah the priest, according to all that king Ahaz commanded."

 

LESSON 1:

It's one of the saddest paragraphs in Scripture, 2nd Kings 16:10-16.

There wicked King Ahaz tampers with the House of God, even changing God ordained patterns of worship!

Let me show you how it all started.

"And King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that was at Damascus: and King Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof." 2nd Kings 16:10

This Ahaz was the son of King Jotham and grandson of King Uzziah. He also was the father of King Hezekiah. All three men, his Grandfather and Daddy as well as his Son were good men, doing "right" in the sight of the Lord.

Now we shall begin where our Text does.

The verb "went," describing the King's trip, is "yalak" and means "to walk, to go or to travel." The King is out of town. He has gone to Damascus, capital city of Syria. However, the city had recently been captured by the Assyrians under fierce King Tiglathpileser.

This trip may have been business related. Or it may have been for pleasure. We are not told. What we do know is that Damascus was an extremely wicked city, a stronghold of idolatry and debauchery. It was not a good place to be, if you were King of Judah!

So many problems begin when folks get in the wrong place! Dinah, daughter of Jacob and Leah, went to "town" one day. She was raped! And her life was ruined, due to sin! Lot pitched his tent "toward Sodom." The rest of that story is history. David the King stayed at home, when he should have been at battle! From his roof he saw Bathsheba, another man's wife!

I'll go so far as to say this. King Ahaz is out of God's Will here! He has no legitimate reason for being in Damascus.

Be careful where you go, friend!

The verb "meet" is "qirah" in Hebrew and means to meet in this sense, "to encounter" someone. Once in the King James Text it is "to seek" a person. While again we do not know the exact circumstances of this visit, we do know that this Assyrian King is wicked and incompatible with godliness!

The King who sits on David's Throne does not need such a companion!

Now we have not only the wrong place!

But the wrong company too!

While in town, apparently observing some kind of religious ritual, Ahaz "saw" an altar. Now this had to be an altar to some heathen deity, to an idol! Probably a base filthy one!

The verb "saw" translates "raah," seeing with concentration and consideration and perception. He studied that evil thing!

Another violation of God's Will!

The Lord prohibits His children from learning about evil, at least in excess. Know as little as possible about that stuff!

Ahaz even copied the "plans" of the altar! The words "fashion" and "pattern" indicate "likeness" and "form" respectively.

The King feels that God's Altar back in Jerusalem is no longer sufficient!

Out of date perhaps!

He wishes a replica, an exact one apparently, to be constructed back home.

But, don't worry. The Priests of God will never agree! They will oppose such apostasy! That's what Priests do, keeping things holy and pure!

But one Priest, Urijah, was a "yes" man to the King!

He whose name means "Jehovah is my Light" did not live accordingly!

The noun "workmanship," in Hebrew "maaseh," can mean an artfully constructed edifice.

A new altar!

Contemporary!

Soothing!

But in God's Eyes, wrong!

Ahaz would have been much wiser to have stayed with the "old Altar!"

God's Altar, the Brass Altar, blood stained from end to end!

Readers today, be careful importing new things into the House of God!

Such could get you into trouble!

Let's be like Jeremiah who, quoting God Himself, wrote: "Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and ask for tHE OLD PATHS, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16

Amen!

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2:

We have no business changing things that God designed to function in a specific way!

For example, from the very beginning marriage consisted of a man and a woman being joined together as one, as in Adam and Eve! To change God's arrangement, by joining two men or two women, is a flagrant violation of God's standard!

This is also true in the vital area of worship.

The very first piece of holy "furniture" a Jew encountered as He approached God, down at the Tabernacle I mean, was an altar. A brass altar. It's size and substance and attending vessels and pots and shovels and fleshhooks were all precisely dictated by God alone!

And each precise activity performed there had a meaning, a deep spiritual meaning attached!

Here, at the brazen Altar, was the Blood shed!

Do not "tamper" with it!

But wicked King Ahaz, having made a trip to the ungodly and heathen city of Damascus, saw another altar. It pleased him much more than God's original!

So the King sent a copy back home to his Priest! I say "his" Priest because Urijah was certainly not currently acting like God's Priest!

Here's the sordid history, right from the Scriptures. Having received the "plans" for the "new" altar ... "Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus: so Urijah the priest made it against king Ahaz came from Damascus." 2nd Kings 16:11

Here was a priest for sale!

Ignoring God's Will, forgetting the purpose behind the old Brazen Altar, Urijah "sells out" to political correctness!

The verb "built" translates "banah," a word indicating some type of construction, but revealing "continuous action." This took the priest a while! Perhaps he needed some time away from all that "blood sacrifice!"

The corresponding verb "made" is "asah," meaning "to fashion or shape or prepare or perform" an object. Here, building that thing! But by now, later in the verse, the work is about done. I say that because "asah" reveals punctiliar action, something now finished.

The preposition "against" is "ad" in Hebrew and means "before" as well as "against." This monster was constructed hurriedly, the priest being in a race against the King's impending arrival back in Jerusalem.

By the way, the noun "altar," which is "mizbeach," is derived from a root verb "zabach" meaning "to slaughter an animal."

Folks, we all need to make a list of things on which we will not change!

I used to wear little narrow neckties. When first pastoring and in Bible College in Atlanta, I bought four of them. The total price was one dollar! I don't wear narrow ties now. The one in which I preached last night was an inch or two wider than those old ones! I have changed in my necktie procedures!

But there are some things in which I will not change! Some of you may say "amen" and others of you will "groan!"

Here goes!

I will not change the Bible from which I preach, an old fashioned King James Version!

I will not change my belief in the Virgin Birth of Jesus!

I will not change my stand against sin! If something was wrong thirty years ago today, it's still wrong right now!

I will not change my convictions regarding Jesus Christ as the literal Son of God, eternally so!

I will not, even for the king, alter my belief on the power of the Blood of the Lamb! That, and that alone, washes away sin!

My list is much longer, but by now you see the way I am traveling.

I am an old-fashioned, Bible-believing, born-again Preacher, one who wants to be "stubborn" when it comes to the prevailing winds of change!

Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "and having done all, stand!"

I say "Amen!"

Is anyone with me?

                                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3:

It was a crazy mixed-up age!

In many ways similar to the conditions in the Biblical Book of Judges, "every man did that which was right in his own eyes." Both Judges 17:6 and 21:25 use these very words.

And one King of Judah, one among several, fell into the godless pattern.

We are told of King Ahaz, "When he was come from Damascus, the king saw the altar, and the king approached to the altar, and offered thereon." 2nd Kings 16:12

This was a new altar too, one built after the pattern of the idolatrous and ungodly Syrians with their polytheistic religions.

To "approach" the altar is acceptable. Any "sinner" in Israel could do so, provided he had brought a suitable animal to sacrifice. "Qarab" simply means "to come near."

But then it happened!

Ahaz "offered" upon that altar a sacrifice, really more than one!

The actual "offering" of such an animal was NOT the prerogative of the King either! Only the priests on duty could officiate at such a holy event.

Once Ahaz's Grandfather, King Uzziah, had tried to do such a thing, entering the Temple to conduct worship! His effort failed miserably, bringing upon himself the judgment of God! Leprosy I mean!

Look how sin impacts the generations!

Grandfather to Grandson!

Uzziah stepped out of bounds and did priest's work!

Now Grandson Ahaz follows in his steps!

What we actually have here is a "type." A symbol or emblem of some deeper truth!

Here, represented by the King, government intrudes into the religious life of the Nation! Religion and worship can be controlled, so think the Babylonians!

As that happens more and more in the Western world, we ourselves will hear Washington or London or Ottawa telling the pulpits what is allowed and what is not! What can be preached and what must be omitted!

How sad!

And truthfully the reason such things are beginning to happen is that the priests, the religious establishment, Urijah here in our Text being just an example, compromised in the first place and changed the pattern of worship to fit the spirit of the times!

God, help us to learn to "stand alone" and say "no" when such trials come our way!

No ... to trips to heathen lands, especially into pagan temples!

No ... to mimicking and replicating the altars of the world!

No ... to any person who encourages us to side-step the Blood of the Lamb of God!

No ... to man-made worship!

And no ... to using the devil's "ways" to try to build the Church of God!

Loosing control ... by default!

O Lord, give us courage!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4:

Perhaps the best illustration came from the lips of Jesus.

He, more than anyone, knew that the great Conclaves of Passover and Pentecost and Tabernacles were Feasts ... Feasts unto the Lord that is!

Great celebrations and memorials of Blood Atonement, the ripening of the first fruits of the year, and even the final harvest itself!

Again I say it, quoting numerous Scripture verses including Exodus 10:9, each of these was "a Feast unto the Lord."

But when Jesus, God incarnate, came to earth and found such blatant hypocrisy and hatred among the Jews, among the Pharisees and Sadducees and Scribes and Chief Priests for example, He at some point quit calling Passover or Pentecost a Feast of the Lord! In John 6:4 it is merely "a feast of the Jews!"

They, the legalists of that day, had so perverted those great Holy Days that Jesus no longer acknowledged their belonging to the Lord!

A similar thing happened in 2nd Kings 16:13. There wicked King Ahaz intruded into Temple life, usurping the authority of the High Priest, and began to enact the rituals of Old Testament worship!

But he did so at a false altar, one designed after the heathen religions of Assyria!

He also did so with an idolatrous heart, having earlier sacrificed to the "gods of Damascus" according to 2nd Chronicles 28:23.

Furthermore his worship was tainted by a covetous heart, one which was soon to steal much of the gold and silver from God's House and give it away to wicked kings, buying protection he thought!

Therefore, when Ahaz offered his sacrifices, God carefully records the acts in this manner. "And he burnt his burnt offering and his meat offering, and poured his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his peace offerings, upon the altar." Here 2nd Kings 16:13 had just as well said "his" altar too! He had it custom built you may remember! God's Brazen Altar would no longer suffice! You did notice the underlined personal and possessive pronouns in the verse, didn't you?

These offerings were originally the Lord's Offerings!

But the King has so polluted them, God refuses to claim even a single one!

That reminds me of Western religion nowadays!

We still have a skeleton of Biblical Truth ... but in many places it has been overtaken and personalized to the point of absurdity!

Just as well say, "Brother Doe's prayers were offered!"

Or "Brother Smith's Bible was read!"

Or "Sister Green's Pastor led the service!"

Or "The White's Church" has a great many things for the youth!

So much has been "sold out" in these last days!

It reminds me of the man named Micah in Judges 17 who "bought" his own priest! Read it!

Also notice this, even in apostasy, so very far away from God ... Ahaz still had the particulars of Jewish worship down to the last detail!

The "burnt offering," in Hebrew "olah," ascended upward to the very nostrils of God, smelling good and pleasurable because of Jesus' total dedication and obedience to the Father's Will!

Then the "meal offering" was burnt, consisting of no blood, but the very best of the flour they could produce! It pictured Jesus' sinless life that so beautifully complemented His vicarious Death for sinners!

Plus even a "drink offering," an outpouring of wine upon the altar to show thanksgiving unto the Lord for His Salvation!

And don't forget the "peace offering" too! Ahaz didn't! Here Jesus' Death is a source of Blessing to the Lord in Heaven above, to the priest officiating too, and in this offering alone ... to the confessing sinner who gave the sacrificial animal just slain! All these Parties ate of the sacrifice! See here the fellowship and communion the Lord's Death and Blood have provided!

All this beauty is lost, solely because of the ugliness and deadliness of sin!

In fact, such hypocritical worship is sickening to the Lord! "The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination unto the Lord" says Proverbs 15:8. It literally disgusts our great God! That's one meaning of "toebah" here.

Such worship reminds me of something Paul said in 2nd Timothy 3:5. Many will some day have "a form of godliness" but "deny the power thereof!"

Am I reading something that happened 2700 years ago ... or just last Sunday?

Think about it!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5:

Not only are the pieces of furniture in the Old Testament Tabernacle important, each heavily freighted with glorious meaning, but even the order in which they are placed is significant!

Eternal life itself depended upon approaching God in His prescribed way!

Yes, Salvation is by Grace through faith alone, but only when appropriated through the Blood of Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son!

It is not accidental that the first Item a worshipper viewed when approaching the Tabernacle, later the Temple, was the large brazen altar!

It was brass because that's the Bible metal signifying judgment! Someone had to be judged, because of my sin, if I would ever be able to fellowship with the Almighty! When Jesus returns in Revelation chapter 1, His feet are seen as brass, indicating judgment! In Deuteronomy 28:23 when God judged His people for their rebellion and sin, withholding the rain, we are told that the heavens above them would be "brass!" 

This was the Place where the blood of innocent animals, millions of them over the years presumably, was shed! It pictured the coming Son of God, the Messiah, in His Death on the Cross, His Blood Atonement for sinners!

At nearly 8 feet square (5 cubits) and nearly 5 feet in height (3 cubits) this Altar was the biggest piece of furniture in the House of God! That's because Blood Sacrifice is the heart of communion with God! Only the Blood of Jesus cleanseth us from all our sin! Being a square of 5 cubits each direction, Grace is its message, God's Merciful Son dying for the sins of the world! It therefore faced each direction of the compass! Souls north, south, east and west could come!

Also the fire upon this Altar was never to be extinguished according to Leviticus 6:13. Again a symbol of God's awesome Holiness and God's never-ending fierce Judgment upon sin!

It's very building materials, acacia wood overlaid with brass, pictured the humanity of Jesus, "a root out of dry ground," Who was also able to bear the judgment of God upon Himself for our sakes, dying in our stead! This special wood not only grew in the desert, "dry ground again," but often bore thorns, a symbol of the curse upon mankind! It also was very durable, resistant to harmful insects, fragrant and extravagantly valuable! All these traits may be applied directly or indirectly to Jesus! He had no sin, but wore that crown on thorns in our stead! By the way, it also had medicinal value to the people!

Its four horns typified the sheer Power of God too! Practically they were used to hold the dying bleeding victim in place, being tied there with ropes! Jesus was held to the Cross not simply by nails or spikes, but by the overwhelming love of God!

But what if I told you that Judah had a King who displace this Altar? Ahaz the Son of Jotham and Grandson of Uzziah did such a wicked thing!

Read it with me: "And he brought also the brazen altar, which was before the Lord, from the forefront of the House, from between the altar and the house of the Lord, and put it on the north side of the altar." 2nd Kings 16:14

The words "before" and "forefront" are identical in Hebrew, appearing twice in this verse. And "paniym" means one's "Face!" The Lord Himself, from the Mercy Seat within the Most Holy Place, looked directly onto the Brass Altar! It too was at the "face" of the House of God, directly at its wide entrance! Standing between a sinless God and lost mankind, that's Jesus on Calvary for sure!

When we are told that the brass altar was "between the altar and the House of God," confusion might ensue. Where?

Remember that wicked King Ahaz has by now placed a man-made altar, fashioned after an idolatrous one he recently saw in Damascus, in the very door of the Tabernacle! So, as I understand it, the brass altar was removed from between Ahaz's new altar, blasphemous as it was, and the Tabernacle Tent proper! Dislocating the initial token of God's Grace and Blood Atonement and Salvation is an act of utmost treason against the Lord!

Ahaz had the bravado, or maybe I had better say stupidity, to put his altar in the place of prominence! That's the very opposite of what Paul would later teach, that "in all things Jesus should have the preeminence!" See Colossians 1:18. Here Ahaz increases while God is minimized! But hear John the Baptist on this matter: "He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30

Where did Ahaz reposition the brass Altar of God?

He "put" it, in Hebrew "nathan," on the north side of the complex. The verb means to "give" or "set" too. This King apparently actually thought he was doing well, being magnanimous to God!

But the north side was not a high traffic area!

Not accessible to the common Israelite!

Not nearly as visible, if at all!

And NOT where God originally put It either!

Thus, the King was obscuring the Blood Atonement!

De-emphasizing God's Way to Heaven and eternal fellowship with Him!

But, wait a minute!

Is that not what countless churches and preachers have today done in this old sinful world?

Man's ideas are now being preached ... rather than God's!

Man's ornamental, or woman's for that matter, symbols and rituals have been elevated above the Lord's!

And, let's face it, without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin! So says Hebrews 9:22.

And, talking about being "elevated," many believe the altar of brass was placed on a "hill" there at the gate of the Tabernacle! Leviticus 9:22 says that the priests, upon completing the offerings, "came down" from the altar! The structure itself was just 3 cubits high, not quite the height of a man, and being divinely prohibited from having any "steps," one wonders if the "coming down" might imply a raised ground area! If so, the "hill" of the altar would parallel the "Hill" of Golgotha or Mount Calvary!

Amazing!

The Cross, let it alone!

Keep it central, in the forefront of all you do!

Like Paul, may we say: "But God forbid that we should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." Galatians 6:14

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6:

The Jewish Temple was modeled in the fashion of the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Larger in size, it still housed holy pieces of Furniture such as the Laver and Candlestick and Altar of Incense.

But once, during the reign of wicked King Ahaz of Judah, two altars of blood sacrifice were installed there!

One was designed according to God's pattern, the other according to the King's desires!

One was genuine; the other, false!

Such "syncretism" was forbidden of the Lord!

"Syncretism" combines two Latin words. "Syn" or "sun" really, the prefix and a preposition, merely means "with." "Cretism" is thought to be a derivation of the proper noun "Cretian." People from Crete, the Island in the Mediterranean! These were folks who at that time were famously ungodly! Liars, reprobates and exceedingly sensual according to many. Even Paul wrote: "One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said: The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies." Titus 1:12

Syncretism has come to mean a mixing, a combining, a putting together of the old-fashioned godly things of religion right beside new contemporary practices, especially those based on once questionable actions!

Mixing the godly and the ungodly!

Hollywood singing in the Church!

Worldly dress in the pews!

Some new Christ-denying Bible in the pulpit!

Psychology instead of theology!

Man centered philosophy instead of God centered worship!

You get the idea.

Well, let me show you a classic example of this vile practice, syncretism.

"And King Ahaz commanded Urijah the High Priest, saying, Upon the great altar burn the morning burnt offering, and the evening meat offering, and the king's burnt sacrifice, and his meat offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their meat offering; and their drink offerings; and sprinkle upon it all the blood of the burnt offering, and all the blood of the sacrifice: and the brasen altar shall be for me to enquire by." 2nd Kings 16:15

This is one of the most amazing verse in the Bible, as far as rebellion is concerned I mean.

By the "great" altar, "gadol" in Hebrew, the King means the larger altar. That would be the new one! The one copied from the heathen temple in Damascus!

The King has changed locations for all the great offerings of Israel!

He has usurped the authority of God Himself!

And this is no religiously illiterate King either! Listen to him name the offerings of God; burnt offering, meat offering, drink offerings, including the blood therein!

See the syncretism?

Mix paganism with Judaism!

Man's ideas with God's!

Combine lewd sex with holy and spiritual worship! The practices of these heathen religions were so vile along this line, the sensual, that they cannot even be described to a congregation of godly men and women!

Then, things get worse!

Ahaz next takes the old Altar, the Brazen Altar, and appropriates it for his own personal use!

Again it says, "And the brasen altar shall be for me to enquire by." The verb "enquire" is "baqar" and means "to seek or to consider," enquiring in that sense. As if God in Heaven would answer anything for such a person! Remember what Proverbs 28:9 tells us: "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the Law, even his prayer shall be abomination." Such "enquiring" makes God sick!

Now, what's more serious?

Pulling God down to man's level? That's what offering holy burnt offerings and such on a vile altar would have indicated!

Or elevating man, a wicked one at that, to the position of the Almighty and omniscient God? Using God's Old Testament means of blood atonement for selfish purposes!

Again I say, both practices are chronically repeated in today's religious world!

On minimizing God ... just think of the religions now who are putting vile men, not to mention women, in their pulpits! Remember King Jeroboam, also ungodly, who "made of the lowest of the people priests of the high places." That's according to First Kings 13:33.

On maximizing man, just think of the Pope, who claims to be the very Vicar of Christ. Vicar is a noun derived from Latin again. It originates in"vicarious," a "substitute!" One who has the "office" (again in Latin, "vicus") of Christ!

Both are blasphemy; belittling God and deifying man!

This intrusion into the spiritual life of Israel is as serious and as idolatrous as Nebuchadnezzar's golden image! "Bow and worship" said the King! But, thank God, three Hebrew young men said "no!" They "stood alone" against the raging tide of wickedness!

Now, here, in Ahaz's case, will someone oppose him?

Will the High Priest Urijah intervene?

Surely a man of God will rebuke such apostasy?

But, not so!

Tomorrow's Lesson will tell us more!

Much to ponder today!

Bringing the world into the Church!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7:

His name was Ahaz.

His job was that of being a King of Judah.

But he was a wicked man.

He ordered the Brazen Altar, stained with the blood of countless innocent animals, moved to an obscure part of the Temple courtyard!

He ordered a new altar be built! One that reflected the trends and standards of a new day! An altar that was an exact copy of a heathen edifice in Damascus!

He also demanded a change in the order of worship! I mean down at the House of God! All God's offerings would hereafter be sacrificed on the new altar, not the old one! A modernization program, you see!

He furthermore planned to commandeer pieces of the holy furniture, implements of holy origin, and use them solely for his personal profit!

But, wait a minute!

All these apostate actions were advanced by the King, wicked as he was!

Yet, even here, in vile Ahaz's days ... do remember that God also has a Priest, a holy man of God. He is somewhere nearby no doubt.

He will oppose such irreverence!

The King will not get away with these acts of spiritual insurrection!

But, no!

The Priest during these days was a man named Urijah.

He was simply a "yes" man to the King!

God was second place to Urijah!

Everything had to be politically correct!

Listen to 2nd Kings 16:16. "Thus did Urijah the priest, according to all that King Ahaz commanded."

Amazing!

He built that new heathen altar and put it in the Temple yard!

He removed God's old Altar, the brass one!

He changed the whole pattern of worship, doing things for cultural reasons instead of godly ones!

He allowed Ahaz to overtake the Altar of Blood Sacrifice, again the brass altar, making it his personal play thing!

How low can a Priest sink?

Can you imagine Elijah responding to such a series of requests? He would have again said, "If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him." 1st Kings 18:21

What if Micaiah had been nearby? Ungodly King Ahab of Israel hated him! Why? "He doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil," wailed the King! 1st Kings 22:18

Or John the Baptist? "O generation of vipers! Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance!" Matthew 3:7

But, again I point you to Urijah, the Priest with no backbone! "Thus did Urijah the priest, according to all that King Ahaz commanded."

The verb "did" here is "asah" in Hebrew. It just means to accomplish, to fashion, to produce, to work or make! And it is set in a time frame that reveals constant action, durative obedience, on-going apostasy! Urijah practiced following every unrighteous order the King gave!

Oh, how much better it would have been for him to say with Romans 3:4, "Let God be true and every man a liar!" Including Kings!

But folks, that's exactly where we are in America today!

Effeminate Preachers, with no stamina and fortitude, yielding to every worldly desire their congregations demand!

Little "yes" men, a whole new generation of "Urijahs," bowing before the gods of popularity and expediency!

Men of whom it can be said: "They must increase. God must decrease!" Such was their motto!

We need more people with the fiber and caliber of Joshua. "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!"

What kind of Preacher do you have?

Could you write a list of your personal convictions?

In what areas would you not yield, even to the king?

Are you a Urijah?

Or an Elijah?

Think about it!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8:

We have studied just a single section of the life of King Ahaz of Judah. This man was the father of godly King Hezekiah, yet he himself "did not that which was right in the sight of the Lord." That's according to 2nd Chronicles 28:1.

Our particular Text for the past week has been 2nd Kings 16:10-16. Let's remember what this King Ahaz did during that time.

He visited an ungodly city, with his "guard" down it seems! There he saw an altar to a heathen god, liked it, and sent a copy back to Jerusalem! Commanding the High Priest Urijah to duplicate the thing, Ahaz returned to Jerusalem and installed the false altar in God's House!

He actually moved the real altar, the Brazen Altar, to a more remote location in the outer court, placed his altar at the gate of the Temple, and transferred all sacrificial offerings to that new "hypocritical" altar! The blood of thousands of innocent animals, meant to prefigure the Death of our Saviour, was then being shed on a defiled, filthy, sensual platform of paganism!

Furthermore, King Ahaz appropriated the real altar, the Brass Altar, blood-stained as it must have been, for his own personal use! "And the brassen altar shall be for me to enquire by," he proclaimed in 2nd Kings 16:15.

But yesterday, when we finished our exposition of these seven verses, I noticed that our glimpse of Azah had only been partial!

Here's what I'm saying.

Once a man leaves the foundation of his faith, forsaking the blood atonement and walking in utter disobedience to Almighty God, there's no telling how far he will slide into sin and degradation!

If someone like Ahaz will remove the most prominent piece of furniture in the House of God, at least to the eyes of the people, and replace it with an idolatrous substitute, he is liable to do anything!

If a man will so disregard God's Word, which carefully gave instructions for building that brass altar according exactly to God's standard, and substitute his own ideas ... worse yet ... the ideas of the devil, he will stop at nothing!

Well, Ahaz was just beginning it seems!

Add to his list of sins not only this altar exchange situation, but ...

Ahaz also made molten images for Baal, idols! 2nd Chronicles 28:2

He sacrificed his children alive, on the fires of Hinnom, to appease the gods of Assyria and other heathen nations! 2nd Chronicles 28:3

He became a prolific idolater, sacrificing "under every green tree!" 2nd Chronicles 28:4

He "transgressed sore" against Lord God of Israel! This expression is translated from "maal maal" in Hebrew. It twice means "to be unfaithful!" It's doubled for emphasis! This man is a super sinner! 2nd Chronicles 28:19

He furthermore began to steal other pieces of furniture from the Hosue of God and give them away to ungodly Kings, apparently to appease them. You see, such Items as the altar of incense or the seven-pronged candlestick would have been worth much money! They were made of gold! 2nd Chronicles 28:21

And, after repeated "whippings" from God, chastisements for his sin and rebellion, tearing his Nation to shreds, King Ahaz, rather than repenting, "did trespass yet the more against the Lord." 2nd Chronicles 28:22

He "sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus" too! He could muster plenty of faith in them, just not Jehovah God! 2nd Chronicles 28: 23

He finally "shut up the doors" to the precious Jewish Temple with all its symbolism and beauty, designed point men and women to the coming Messiah! He "cut in pieces" the remaining vessels of the Temple also! 2nd Chronicles 28:24

And then he "made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem" not counting every other city in Judah! 2nd Chronicles 28:25

Here's what I'm saying today.

Sin, once being given full control, takes over a human life!

It's deadly!

It's addictive!

It, as James says, breeds more sin!

It worsens rapidly, never remaining static!

"When lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death!" James 1: 15

"Evil men and seducers shall wax, or become, worse and worse!" says Paul in 2nd Timothy 3:13

Warning has been given!

Let all take heed!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

WHAT VAST WISDOM THE BIBLE CONTAINS! AND WHAT SERIOUS WARNINGS IT GIVES TOO!

 

 

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