Twice today in our reading we read that Ahaz “made his son pass through the fire” (1 Kings 16:3) and Ahaz “burned his sons in fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had driven out before the sons of Israel” (2 Chr. 28:3).  Everyone reading that report finds their mouth dropping open.  And then the questions come: How old were these boys?  Did they know what was coming? What outcome (bigger crops, victory in war, richer treasury, etc.) did Ahaz expect? Was their father involved directly in their murders?  How could he have been so heartless?

Humanity’s propensity for evil and the depth of our selfishness knows no boundaries.  If we are promised treasure or perfect health or the fulfillment of our wildest dreams, we are tempted to say ‘Yes!’  Rebellious man will trade almost anything to acquire his selfish wishes.  James instructs us, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and EVERY VILE practice” (3:16).
Today we ask, ‘How could a father carry out such a barbaric act?’ or we state, ‘That culture must have been wicked beyond belief!’  But have you sacrificed a marriage to get someone else you desired?  Have you cheated at work to secure that advance or profit yourself?  Have you failed to consider others’ interests above yours because ‘I deserve it’?  Have you sacrificed a relationship because of petty differences?  Have you refused to forgive someone who offended you?  The spirit of Ahaz resides inside each of us and is kept under control only by submission to God’s Spirit indwelling His children.

by Curt Krohn

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