In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, Ahaz the son of Jotham, king of Judah, began to reign. Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem; and he did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord his God, as his father David had done. But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel; indeed he made his son pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had cast out from before the children of Israel. And he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree. (2 Kings 16:1-4)
The Walk Of Ahaz
Ahaz was the twelfth king of Judah, following more than a century of good kings who sought to follow the will of the Lord. The northern kingdom of Israel had suffered under the hand of kings that rejected the word of God, filling the land with ungodliness, immorality, and the stench of idolatry. Ahaz was the son of Jotham, who reigned over Judah for 16 years and he did what was right in the sight of the Lord like his father, Uzziah, had done. A great legacy of good kings preceded Ahaz, but he did not heed the instructions of his predecessors. Pekah and Hoshea were the final kings of Israel who reigned when Ahaz became king. Some scholars date the fall of the northern kingdom during the reign of Ahaz. The rule of Ahaz rejected the example of the previous kings of Judah plunging the nation into the ungodly nature of idolatry.
The kings of Israel influenced Ahaz to seek after the desires of the flesh and sensual pleasures of idolatry. The abomination of idolatry included the sacrifice of children to the idol gods. Ahaz burned his children in the fire. He made molded images for the Baals and burned incense in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom. If it were not bad enough to worship idols, Ahaz destroyed various articles from the Temple. He closed the doors of the Temple and did not allow anyone to worship there. Jerusalem was filled with altars to pagan gods. All the towns of Judah had altars to worship Baal.
During the reign of Ahaz, Syria and Israel came against Judah. One hundred and twenty thousand mighty men of Ahaz died in battle in one day with two hundred thousand women, sons, and daughters taken captive. Israel would return the captives. Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah were prophets of the Lord warning Ahaz and the people to repent and return to the Lord. The words of the prophets went unheeded. The brief reign of Ahaz lasted sixteen years and he died at the age of thirty-six. His legacy remains as a testimony of those who seek to walk in the paths of the world instead of the way of righteousness. The son of Ahaz, Hezekiah, would take his place and pattern his reign after the word of the Lord.
Ahaz walked in the ways of the kings of Israel. He followed the example of the northern kings. His father was a righteous king, but Ahaz chose to live like the kings of the north. What a difference the rule of Ahaz was from other kings of Judah. When he grew to manhood, he took the influence of the ungodly kings of the north as his pattern of life. All the kings of the north were evil. Some scholars date the reign of Ahaz to the final days of Israel when Assyria destroyed the nation with great cruelty. Did Ahaz not see the proverbial handwriting on the wall to see the path of ungodliness was the wrong way? Of all the examples to follow, Ahaz chose the worst to mold his life after. In the end, he suffered as all the kings of the north died in disgrace and without honor. He was buried in Jerusalem and like Jehoram and Joash, Ahaz was not buried in the tombs of the kings. He wasted his life seeking after the pleasures of the world, walking in the ways of the evil kings. A man’s walk is the measure of his life. How a man walks is determined by what he uses as a guide. There are many today like Ahaz who walks after the world, enjoying the passing pleasures of sin. They will not be buried in the tomb of the King of Kings. When judgment comes, it will be a terrible and eternal fearful day. What is your walk? Who guides your steps?