Daily Bible Reading for July 22, 2014, with Commentary: 2 Kings 16-20
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Context: Chapter 16 tells of Ahaz, king of Judah. Ahaz ignored the Lord, performing pagan worship instead, including erecting an alter to a false god inside the temple of the Lord. The last king of Israel, Hoshea, came into power during Ahaz’s reign. Hoshea stopped paying tribute to the king of Assyria, which resulted in an attack on Samaria, where Hoshea lived in an ornate palace. The Word of God is very clear: Israel fell and was carried off into captivity because they chose to worship other gods. God was very patient. He sent prophet after prophet to warn the people, yet they refused to listen. The people were removed from their lands and scattered throughout the Assyrian Empire. Ahaz’s son, Hezekiah, ruled following Ahaz’s death. Hezekiah was a good king, dedicated to the Lord. Notice how he is described in comparison to the other kings of Judah. Judah was spared from being captured because there were a few good kings who led periods of revival. Hezekiah destroyed the image of a serpent that Moses had made because it had lost its spiritual significance. Instead the people began to worship it! The same thing can happen today. A church or organization may need to grow and change because they have lost their focus on God. Israel had just been captured and Judah was next on the Assyrian’s list. Hezekiah trusted in the Lord. He cleansed the land of pagan worship and the Lord spared Judah from capture. Isaiah 37 also takes place at this time. Hezekiah was a great king, but he also faced an illness. Like most people, Hezekiah did not want to die. Hezekiah was sincere and the Lord granted him another 15 years of life. Like David, Hezekiah also committed a sin. He was prideful and showed off the wealth that Judah had accumulated. Because of it, future generations would suffer.
World History: The Assyrians often displaced the people whom the conquered. They believed that by removing the people from their ancestral homelands, people would be less likely to revolt.