Wednesday, September 11, 2013

CLXXIV - II Chronicles 25-28

Chapter 25  -  Amaziah

Amaziah, son of Joash, started his reign in a Godly manner, but that turned out to be temporary.  His first order of business

was to avenge his father's death.  He had all of the conspiritors put to death.  However he spared thier families, as is the Law, according to Deuteronomy 24:16.  We've seen in our study that the territory of Ephraim seemed to change hands many times.  The Edomites currently inhabited the cities in Ephraim.  Amaziah gathered his army to go take Ephraim back as a part of Judah.  Amaziah hired soldiers from Israel to help him march against the Edomites, but a man of God came to the king and told him he was not to use the Israelite soldiers.  So they were all sent away, angry at Judah for dismissing them.  Amaziah marched against Edom with only his relatively small army of 300,000 soldiers.  Amaziah was victorious.  But then Amaziah made a terrible mistake:  He brought back the idols of the Edomites and bowed down to them.  Amaziah should have given thanks to the Lord.  Instead, he set up the gods of Edom and he worshiped them.  He gave sacrifices by fire to them. This made God very angry with Amaziah.  In the mean time, those Israelite soldiers that Amaziah sent home had begun to attack cities in Judah.  After Amaziah's decisive victory in Ephraim, he felt confident about his military might and decided to attack Israel in retaliation.  God sent a prophet to Amaziah and told him not to attack Israel, which made Amaziah even more determined.  He had more confidence in his army than he had in God.  We studied this back in Kings.  He sent a  message to the Jehoash king of Israel challenging him to war.  Jehoash returned the massage and told him to "stay home.  You are just swollen up with pride because of your victory against the Edomites.  You cannot defeat Israel's army."  That message insulted Amaziah and made him even more determined to attack, which he did.  The army of Israel defeated the army of Judah.  All the men from Judah went to their homes. Then Jehoash captured Amaziah and took him back to Jerusalem to further humiliate him.  Jehoash plundered Jerusalem.  Amaziah continued to reign as king, but by proxy, as he lived in exile from Jerusalem until the time of his death.

Chapter 26 - Uzziah

Uzziah was a God fearing king and did many great things.  He was only sixteen years old when he took the throne, and served as king for fifty-two years.  This chapter paints a generous picture of Uzziah.  He defeated the Philistines in battle and actually took some land from them.  His economy and military were both powerful.  It says in verse that he had many people working in the fields and vineyards for "he loved the soil".  But after quite a few successful years, Uzziah's pride got the best of him.  He took it upon himself to enter the Temple and burn his own sacrifices.  This duty and privilege was to be that of the Levite priests.  The Levites approached Uzziah in the Temple and begged him not to perform the priestly duties, but Uzziah was too proud to be corrected.  He proceeded until God stopped him by afflicting him advanced leprosy as he was in the Temple, among the Levite priests.  Uzziah spent his remaining years in a quarantine due to his leprosy, not even being allowed in his palace due to the Law of Moses.  He reigned through his son Jotham until he died.

Chapter 27 - Jotham

Jotham became king when he was twenty-five years old, but with plenty of experience due to Uzziah leading though Jotham.  He reigned sixteen years and was considered a successful king.  He attacked and defeated the Ammonites and placed them under his reign.  Verse 6 tells us "Jotham grew powerful because he walked steadfastly before the Lord his God".  Jotham lived forty-one years.  The Scripture does not say how he died.

Chapter 28 - Ahaz

All that Amaziah, Uzziah, and Jotham did to build up Judah, Ahaz somehow managed to destroy in his sixteen short years as king of Judah.destroy.  He was openly defiant of God and His Law.  Ahaz was one of the weakest and the most wicked of all the 20 rulers of Judah.  He openly served and worshiped Baal, the pagan god.  He even worshiped Molech, the god of the Ammonites, which demanded child sacrifices.  {Although the Scripture does not specifically state this, it is general knowledge that Ahaz burned some of his own children as sacrifices to Molech.  But for certain he did not burn all of them, as his son Hezekiah would succeed him as king.}  His reign was a mess, and it was all Ahaz's fault as he progressively got further from the Lord and closer to the pagan gods.  In verses 5-8, Rezin king of Aram attacked Judah and defeated Ahaz.  Also, Pekah, the king of Israel came against Judah. He killed many people and soldiers in Judah.  The Lord allowed Judah to be overwhelmingly defeated, but did not allow any of the royal lineage to be killed or captured as slaves.  {I've often wondered why Judah and Israel were not allies, being of the same family.}  This passage indicated that Pekah and his army of Israelites not only helped in defeating Ahaz, but plundered Jerusalem and were particulary cruel in killing women and children.  This was totaly unacceptable to God and He sent the prophet Oded to the officers of the Israelite army and instructed them to release the
people from Samaria so they could return to their homes, which they did.  As you read this chapter you can see that this was a very dark period for Judah, as Ahaz's hunger for worshiping pagan gods kept trouble coming from all sides.  He even went to Damascus and worshiped those gods.  When Ahaz died, Hezekiah became king of Judah. They buried Ahaz in Jerusalem but not in the graves of the kings.

Next post - Hezekiah

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