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This chapter contains the history of the reign of Ahaz and a melancholy relation of his wicked reign it furnisheth. He is afflicted by the Syrians. His death, and successor in the kingdom, is also related.
What a melancholy account is here given in a few verses of the life and conduct of Ahaz! had we not the authority of God's sacred word it would be incredible to read of the degeneracy both of king and people respecting idolatry. But Reader! what must have been the forbearance, mercy, and long suffering, of the Lord. Oh! for grace to contemplate this with an eye to Jesus!
Both Syrians and Israelites shall become instruments in the hand of God when the Lord will punish Judah. And in the private afflictions of God's people the severity of our trials is doubly increased when it comes from a quarter where we least expected. When a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
Was it not most gracious in God to send this message to the sinners in Israel? And was not the man of God most faithful in the delivery of it! Here is no congratulation of their victory, but reproof and an alarming assurance of the Lord's displeasure in consequence of their sins!
I feel delight in the perusal of those verses in that they plainly manifest the grace of the Lord had not totally departed from Israel. Certain persons among them still felt the sovereign grace of the Lord. How precious is it to behold that in the worst of times, there is (as the apostle expresses it) a remnant according to the election of grace. Romans 11:5 .
It is hardly possible to read this account of Ahaz's distress, and behold at the same time the sad cause of all in his multiplied and aggravated transgressions, without being struck with a renewed conviction, of the hardness and impenitent state of the heart under sin. Though he had made Judah naked, and the Lord had brought Judah low; yet we hear of no remorse, no sorrow, no desire in the heart of Ahaz to turn to the Lord; nay, we only find the poor wretch hardening himself in his wickedness, and looking to Assyria, to any power in short but the right power, even to the Lord, to deliver him out of his affliction. But Reader! is Ahaz's case singular? Is not this the conduct of all sinners until grace reclaims them!
Observe the progression of sin when the mind is hardened under its influence. You see Ahaz robs God's house to purchase man's arm against him; sacrificeth to devil's to gain human interest. And thus goeth on from bad to worse, until the measure of his iniquity is full. And observe, Reader! for it is an observation highly proper to be connected with it, how disappointment, vexation, and ruin, accompany the steps of such transgressors. The king of Assyria takes his gifts but laughs at his calamity. Such invariably is the friendship of sinners in every instance. And as Ahaz's distresses and disappointments increased, so his sins multiplied, and he transgressed yet more against the Lord. And do remark how the Holy Ghost hath branded forever his character in those few words; This is that king Ahaz. As if the Lord meant thereby to make his memorial detested forever.
The mind feels relief when arriving at the close of such an history and such a character. I cannot dismiss the relation of this impious prince's life without desiring the Reader to compare it with the seventh chapter of the prophecy of Isaiah; in the perusal of which he will discover, not only the graciousness of the Lord in sending to his people, even during the reign of so wicked a prince, a renewed instance of his love; but opening to the views of the faithful in Judah blessed intimations of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. It forms a most precious consolation to everyone to consider that at a time when sin abounded grace did much more abound; for never during the Old Testament days were there afforded clearer promises concerning Jesus than the prophecy of Isaiah contained; and delivered at a time when the most daring rebellion against God marked both Israel and Judah.
PAUSE! my soul, over the perusal of this chapter, and in the conduct of Ahaz behold the lost, depraved, hardened, and wretched state of human nature. See, my soul, to what sin hath reduced every man? and remark also how deluded to his own ruin is the sinner, who, when the Lord is coming forth as his enemy, is vainly looking to an arm of flesh to become his friend; as if a man would set the briars and thorns against Jehovah in battle! But while contemplating man's worthlessness, oh for grace to admire and adore God's faithfulness. Was it not enough, oh! thou most gracious Lord, that immediately upon the fall of man redemption was promised; and that from age to age thou shouldest send thy servants to keep alive the remembrance of this unspeakable mercy promised in the minds of thy people; but that, at a period when they were all sinning with an high hand, and living as if regardless of all thy love, that then thou shouldest magnify the exceeding riches of thy grace, and then commission thy servant the prophet to tell Ahaz that redemption was approaching, and Emmanuel should appear as the son of the virgin. Lord! help me to adore, to magnify, to rightly understand and prize those depths, and heights, and breadths, and lengths, of such peerless, matchless love! And Lord, amidst all the unworthiness, and coldness, and deadness, and undeservings of my heart, let such views of thy grace comfort and refresh my soul. Yes! thou blessed Jesus, thou precious Emmanuel, amidst all my sorrows let me derive my highest consolation from any interest in thee, my relation to thee, my hopes and expectations from thee, and my whole salvation of thee, the Lord my righteousness. Thou art indeed Emmanuel, God with us, God in us the hope of glory.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 28". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25