That religion is of no worth which is guided by fancy instead of faith (v. 10).
The hearts of idolaters walk after their eyes.
II Kings 1
1 In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah Ahaz the son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign.
2 Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, and did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD his God, like David his father.
3 But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel.
4 And he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.
5 ¶ Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to war: and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him.
6 At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and drave the Jews from Elath: and the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there unto this day.
7 So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, saying, I am thy servant and thy son: come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, which rise up against me.
8 And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king’s house, and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria.
9 And the king of Assyria hearkened unto him: for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin.
10 ¶ And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser 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.
11 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.
12 And when the king was come from Damascus, the king saw the altar: and the king approached to the altar, and offered thereon.
13 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.
14 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.
15 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.
16 Thus did Urijah the priest, according to all that king Ahaz commanded.
17 ¶ And king Ahaz cut off the borders of the bases, and removed the laver from off them; and took down the sea from off the brasen oxen that were under it, and put it upon a pavement of stones.
18 And the covert for the sabbath that they had built in the house, and the king’s entry without, turned he from the house of the LORD for the king of Assyria.
19 ¶ Now the rest of the acts of Ahaz which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
20 And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead.
II Kings 1 – J. Vernon McGee
2 Kings 16:1-9 – Seeking Help from Wrong Sources.
Ahaz was one of the most wicked kings of Judah. He not only passed his children through the lines of fire, but seems to have burnt some of them (2 Chronicles 28:3). He filled Judah with the abominations of the heathen. The hills and woodlands of the Holy Land were contaminated by all the excesses of nature-worship. When therefore Syria and Israel confederated against him, Ahaz naturally turned to creature-aid. In spite of the remonstrances of Isaiah, he offered a bribe to the king of Assyria to do what God Almighty would have done, under happier conditions. This was the first step toward the utter undoing of Judah.
The first 10 or 12 chapters of Isaiah cast a flood of light on the inner politics of this dark epoch. They give a glimpse also of Isaiah’s profound emotions at the evils that threatened his fatherland. No servant of God can view the present state of civilization without grave concern, and we are bound to resist, so far as we can, the influences which are engaged in the work of moral disintegration. We are citizens of heaven, but also of earth, and must render to Caesar such things as naturally belong to him.
2 Kings 16:10-20 – High-handed Idolatry.
The calling in of the king of Assyria was fraught with disastrous consequences. He “distressed him, but strengthened him not” (2 Chronicles 28:20). Well may the Apostle warn us not to be yoked with unbelievers. Such alliances always result in the undoing of God’s children. We cannot serve two masters. Thus in the hour of distress, notwithstanding the increasing and noble remonstrances of Isaiah, this same king Ahaz trespassed yet more against Jehovah.
It is remarkable, as showing the folly of the human heart, that in the lowest hour of his degradation before his conqueror Ahaz imitated the altar which he saw at Damascus. For this, the ancient brazen altar in Jehovah’s Temple was displaced; and upon it in the sacred fane sacrifices were offered to the gods of the heathen. Alas, there is too much of this in the present day! Men are going back from the simplicity and spirituality of Christ to exploded philosophies and systems, which have failed in the past to satisfy soul hunger. Let us beware of the vacuum of the soul into which such evil things intrude. It is only as we are filled by the indwelling Spirit that we are immune against these temptations.
2 Kings 16:10—King Ahaz sent to Urijah the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it.
The fashion of this world passeth away like a fleeting dream; or like the panorama of clouds that constitutes a pavilion of the setting sun, but which, whilst we gaze, tumbles into a mass of red ruin. And yet we are always so prone to imitate King Ahaz, and visit Damascus with the intention of procuring the latest design, and introducing it, even into the service of the sanctuary.
Man naturally imitates. He must get the pattern of his work from above, or beneath; from God or the devil: hence the repeated injunction to us all, to make all things after the pattern shown on the mount. If we would be rid of the influence of worldly fashion, we must conform ourselves to the heavenly and divine. The pattern of the Body of Christ, of the position of each individual believer among its members, and of the work which each should accomplish, was fixed before the worlds were made. The best cure for worldliness is not unworldliness, but other-worldliness. The best way of resisting the trend of people around us is to cultivate the speech, thought, and behavior of that celestial world to which we are bound by the most sacred ties, and whither we are travelling at every heartthrob.
This introduction of the altar of a heathen shrine into the holy temple of Jerusalem, reminds us of the many rites in modern religious observances which have been borrowed from paganism, and warns us that the Church has no right to go to the world for its methods and principles. Let the world do as it may in its discussions about truth, its efforts to attract attention, and its organizations; our course is clear, not to build altars after its fashion, nor model our life on its maxims.