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Surprise! Another post about King Ahaz. Today’s text is a bit more specific about what he did to the Temple in Jerusalem. King Ahaz actually figured large in the histories of Israel and Judah. When Israel threatened his kingdom of Judah, he purchased military aid from Assyria. In response, Assyria obliterated Israel and made Judah a virtual puppet. Worse, Ahaz copied (literally) the pagan religions of his conquered territories, even to the extent of sacrificing his son in the fire (verses 3 and 4).
1. How photographic is your memory? Once seen, always filed? Overexposed? Out of focus? Needs developing?
2. When did you purposely copy someone else’s dress? Hairstyle? Homework? Recipe? Did they get credit?
3. What new standards for sinning does Ahaz set (verses 3 and 4; see also Leviticus 18:21; Deuteronomy 12:2; compare Exodus 13:1, 2, 11 – 13)?
4. Why does Israel join Aram in attacking Judah (verses 5 and 6; see also Isaiah 7:5 and 6)? Why does Rezin do when he can’t take Jerusalem?
5. What is Ahaz’s strategy for repelling Aram and Israel (verses 7 – 9)? What has Isaiah warned him about (see Isaiah 8:6 – 8, an event which took place in 732 BC)?
6. Why do you think Ahaz meets with Tiglath-Pileser after he defeats Aram (verse 10)? Why does Ahaz want to copy the temple in Damascus (verses 11 and 12)? Who is Ahaz’s accomplice in all his schemes?
7. Who consecrates the new altar? Is he qualified? What will it be used for? What’s wrong with that (see Deuteronomy 18:10)?
8. What “deference to the king of Assyria” is going on here (verse 15 – 18)? What symbols of his royal power is this vassal king handing over to the Assyrian?
9. How do you determine acceptable modes of worship? Ar some modes unusual but not a great problem? Are some dead wrong?
10. Are you in any alliances that pang your conscious from time to time? How should you handle these?
11. No one held King Ahaz or Uriah the priest accountable for doing things against the Law of God. How do you respectfully call those in spiritual authority to account when they err? How can it be done gracefully?
12. Where do you go for guidance? How does guidance come? What guidance do you need in this moment?