King Ahaz’s Unfaithfulness
Open Your Bible
2 Chronicles 27:1-9, 2 Chronicles 28:1-27, Deuteronomy 27:15, 1 Corinthians 10:14
BY Quina Aragon
You’ll likely agree that idols are fake gods—mere substitutes we worship in place of the One, true God. They possess no truly transformative and holy power. But if there’s anything King Ahaz shows us, it’s this: Fake doesn’t mean harmless. Idols do, indeed, bite back.
His father, King Jotham, was marked by his godly devotion. But King Ahaz and the people of Judah were committed to corruption. It’s not that they stopped being worshipers. It’s that they chose to worship false gods. We all worship something—a person, a thing, even an ideal. We were created to be worshipers. But here’s our fundamental issue: We know not to get into a tickle fight with a bear, but we don’t seem to know that idols destroy us. Common sense doesn’t translate into spiritual sense. And it’s our misplaced worship that leads us to our demise.
They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery. But Judah’s imitation of Israel and the surrounding nations flattened them. King Ahaz made and worshiped the Baals, which led him to burn his children in the fire as an act of wicked worship. This in turn led to God’s judgment in the form of massive military losses at the hands of the king of Aram, the king of Israel, the king of Assyria, the Edomites, and the Philistines. The upshot of his continued rebellion was that his top political workers, half of his army, and his son were all slain. Cities were raided, captives were taken, and funds were plundered.
What was King Ahaz’s response to God’s discipline? “At the time of his distress, King Ahaz himself became more unfaithful to the LORD” (2 Chronicles 28:22). Suffering is not the great purifier of our souls. It can lead us to God or away from God. It can soften us, or it can harden us.
In King Ahaz’s case, his suffering was a further excuse for him to dig his heels in his idolatry. Disloyalty to God disables our reason. Instead of seeking God, he sought help from the king of Assyria, who double-crossed him. Then he “sacrificed to the gods of Damascus which had defeated him” (v.23). He looked left and right for deliverance, but he refused to look up.
Don’t we sometimes use our suffering as an excuse for unfaithfulness? “I’ve worked so hard at this thankless job; I deserve a little forbidden pleasure.” “She disrespected me, so I have every right to expose her dirt.” “God’s forgotten me, anyway. Why bother praying?”
But Ahaz’s life doesn’t just teach us that idols bite back. It shows us that our suffering—whether brought upon ourselves or not—is an opportunity to turn from our folly and discover the One who suffered for us and suffers with us.
When offered to God, our distress can become a plot device He uses to develop our character, making us increasingly faithful worshipers of Him.