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This chapter is wholly spent in recording the evil reign of Ahaz, king of Judah. The close of the chapter brings in a relief to the mind the introduction of his son Hezekiah, who succeeded him.
What an awful account both the histories of Judah and Israel furnish! the succession of the kings, for the most part, is but a succession of evil. Idolatry, during the reign of Ahaz, seems to have been advanced to its height. The Reader will have a larger view of the impiety of Ahaz, if he consults and compares with what is related of him in the parallel history, in the 2 Chronicles 28:0 .
The prophet Isaiah, hath given us an account of this transaction in the 7th chapter of his prophecy. The Reader will do well, therefore, to consult the passage in Isaiah's writings. But what I would more particularly request the Reader to observe in that chapter of the prophet is, the very gracious message which the Lord at this time sent to Ahaz. Notwithstanding the daring impiety of this man, yet, as a branch of the house of David, the Lord sends to him a sign of his mercy in the promise of the Messiah. How gracious was it in the Lord to treat any longer with such degenerate creatures! how increasingly gracious at such a time to point to the remedy for sin in the promise of a Redeemer! and how abundantly and astonishingly gracious thus to refresh the souls of the people with the outlines of Jesus's person and character. Reader! I beseech you to turn to the account of it; Isaiah 7:10-16 . And when you have read of God's grace, go on to read of his sure judgments to the despisers of his mercy; Isaiah 7:17 to the end.
I include the whole of the remainder of the life of Ahaz in one view, because it only leads the mind to discover the progress of his impiety until the measure of it was full. Reader! can we contemplate, without horror, the daring conduct of this man, after so gracious a message as he received from God, to go and take the copy of an idolatrous altar from among the heathen dunghill gods, of Damascus. We hardly meet with a parallel instance of wickedness among all the kings of Israel and Judah. And what a wretched, worthless, time-serving priest must have been this Urijah! Alas! As with, the people, so with the priest. As with the servant, so with his master; the land is utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled. Isaiah 24:2 , etc. If the Reader will consult Isaiah's prophecy, in several places he will see how the prophet bewails the sad times of degeneracy in Ahaz's reign. Isaiah 14:24-28 .
How painful a thought is it to behold in this history of Israel and Judah the sad proofs of a fallen state! whether we read of one king or another, the general features of all are the same; All have sinned and come short of God's glory! But with what increased distress do we behold in the priests of God, as in this awful character of Urijah, the dreadful apostacy of mankind! and in the end, what must be the awful consequence. Begin at my sanctuary, saith God in his judgments. And if judgment begin at the house of God, what must the end be of them that obey not the gospel of Jesus? For if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Ye ministers of Jesus, think of these things. And dare be zealous for God's honour and glory, though it expose you to the hatred and anger of men.
But how is my soul relieved from contemplating such a king as Ahaz, and such an High Priest as Urijah, in calling to mind the prophet's commission when sent to Ahaz to proclaim to him the approach of that hour, when the Lord would fulfil that promise of raising up to himself a faithful priest, who should do according to what was in the heart of the Lord. Precious Jesus! thou art indeed a priest upon thy throne. And all the impiety of Ahaz, and the worthlessness of Urijah, I would lose sight of in thy faithfulness and truth. Thou art the very one which the Lord gave as a sign to Ahaz: thou art Immanuel, God with us, God in our nature, the hope of glory! Blessed assurance! for, as God the work of redemption is neither too great, nor too heavy, for thee; and as man, God dwelling with us, and being one in our nature, thou wilt be on our side, and both accomplish and render effectual the salvation thou hast undertaken. So that we may cry out, If God be for us who shall be against us? It is God that justifieth, who - is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died; yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God. Nothing therefore shalt be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Kings 16". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Epiphany